Saturday it was up to the Hough’s Neck section of Quincy, Massachusetts for the Bill Dunn, Jr. Memorial Road Race. Having never been to the Hough’s Neck section of Quincy, didn’t quite know what to expect from the race however with race time temperatures hovering around 90 degrees all runners knew that the five miles ahead were sure to be challenging.
Thankfully the race kicked off at 9AM as the temperatures only raised higher as the day grew on. At the starting line, most runners noted that it would not be a PR kind of race and instead would be one aimed at finishing safely. Runners who have also tackled the course hinted at the fact that the course would have a good amount of hills mixed into the race.
As I made my way onto the roads, the course took a really nice route throughout the Hough’s Neck section of Quincy. There were some amazing views of the ocean, some great spots that showed the Boston skyline in the distance, beachfront homes worthy of a glance as you ran by and a nice outpouring of neighborhood support along the entire 5 miles of the race. Those neighbors packed the course with hoses, sprinklers and water stops all along the route which was perfect given the hot conditions and I definitely took more water than normal and hit as many sprinklers and hoses as I possibly could. Even the smallest splash of water was helpful to cut the heat and hydration was certainly key.
Those runners who warned about the hills at the starting line were spot on as the race had some nice hills mixed throughout the entire route. The most significant hill was around the 3.5 mile mark where runners tackled a hill that basically went straight up for about a quarter mile. At the top of the hill, runners were greeted with a view of the ocean and a quick downhill toward the Nut Island Park. The final mile also included a couple good uphills, though much smaller, added in for good measure including three fast up and down hill sprints heading into the finish line.
As the race was the June Grand Prix for the Thirsty Irish Runners there was a nice contingent of green shirts along the course that helped push me along with a friendly hello and encouraging push at the right times. On a hot and hilly course, nothing better than some friends helping you along.
I finished the Bill Dunn, Jr. Memorial Road Race with a time of 44:04, good for a pace of 8:49/miles. Certainly not my best pace lately but given the conditions I was not expecting top performance and was happy to finish the race with a respectable time. The runner side of my brain (and as a runner you know what I mean) sort of had a love/hate relationship with the race and the heat and hills sort of added to the charm of the race. Would definitely look to run this race again at some point!
Bill Dunn Jr. lost his life while boating with friends on July 1, 2006. A proud member of Houghs Neck, he was truly loved by his family and friends and anyone who came in contact with him. His spirit for life and love of adventure is missed by all and this race helps keep his memory alive. A 1996 graduate of Quincy High School, Bill went on to join the Plumbers Union, Local 12. A standout for both the Houghs Neck Manets and Quincy High Football, Bill was inducted into the QHS/NQHS Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
All proceeds from the road race benefit the Bill Dunn Jr. Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship fund is used to enrich those who are in need. Some past recipients of the scholarship include Broad Meadows Middle School, Quincy High Football Players, Quincy High Students, The Houghs Neck Manets, Holy Trinity Parish, Children’s Hospital and Atherton Hough Teachers.