Race Recap: Benting Strong 5k

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This morning it was off to Pembroke, Massachusetts for the 2nd Annual Benting Strong 5K. This race took place in memory of Matt Benting, a Bridgewater State University student who passed away unexpectedly at a young age.

The race took place on a familiar course that matched the HussDog Jog 5K Road Race course. Having run the HussDog course in the past, I knew what to expect in terms of the roads and the weather this morning made for some nice running conditions where shorts were called for and a long-sleeve top did the trick.

At this morning’s 5K road race, before runners made their way out onto the course the mother of Matt Benting noted the following: “As you leave here today, I ask you to do one thing in Matt’s memory: Be kind to one another. It doesn’t have to be buying someone a coffee or anything big, it can be holding the door for someone, smiling at someone or just saying hello.” Some pretty awesome words to live by if you ask me!

This course is a rather moderately challenging 5K course with a couple rolling hills mixed in and a decent little incline in the final mile. Just before you hit the three mile marker there is another late, slight uphill that keeps the legs honest. The Pembroke Police Department did an excellent job patrolling the course and volunteers were at a couple of the turns, as well. A water stop was available at the half-way point and each mile was marked for runners.

I finished the 2nd Annual Benting Strong 5K with a time of 25:15, good for 8:08/miles. Thanks to Marathon Physical Therapy for providing some much needed post-race stretching and muscle work!

 

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Back-to-Back Race Weekend

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This weekend was a back-to-back race weekend with a 5K on Saturday morning followed by a 5 miler on Sunday. Temperatures were still chilly and raw with Spring not  yet hitting the New England region but it felt good to tackle two races both of a different variety and distance in one weekend.

On Saturday, it was off to Carver, Massachusetts for the Coyote Family Challenge 5K. The race started off nice and early at 9AM and funds raised from the race went to benefit the local school organization that sponsored the race. Runners made their way to the back of the school toward trails and the race director announced that all of the run would take place around cranberry bogs and on trails and paths surrounding the bogs.

The course conditions were less than ideal with some previous storms leaving the course both wet in spots and other spots covered with some branches. The race was mostly on trails or dirt aside from a small patch of running on roads inside the farm lot adjacent to the bogs. Running conditions were less than ideal and an awkward sort of double loop was a bit of a challenge in terms of motivation. I finished the race with a time of 25:42, good for 8:16/miles.

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On Sunday, it was off to the Jamaica Plain section of Boston for Doyle’s Road Race. The race served as the April Grand Prix for the Thirsty Irish Runners and all proceeds from the race benefit Sister Jeanne’s Kids Fund and the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums.

Doyle’s Road Race is a 5 mile course through Franklin Park and features a relatively hilly course completely within the grounds of Franklin Park aside from the final stretch into the finish line immediately outside of the historic Doyle’s. An added bonus to the race is that the Gaelic Column plays runners into the finish line and some local residents also form a drum circle up the road leading into the finish line. Nothing gets your legs pumping into the finish like some great tunes!

Doyle’s Road Race is a true Boston-style run with locals in the park cheering runners along, Boston politicians handing out water at the water stops and none other than Boston Mayor Marty Walsh handing out water at the finish line. Now, Mayor Walsh can claim the fame of having a selfie with The Running Griffin, too!

Finished Doyle’s Road Race with a time of 42:18, good for 8:27/miles for the five mile race. Nice to have a back-to-back race weekend completed once again and look forward to the next tackling of two races in one weekend!

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Duxbury Half-Marathon Race Recap

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Hectic week at the office including some travel so my race recap from the Duxbury Half-Marathon is a bit delayed. Last Saturday bright and early it was off to Duxbury, Massachusetts for the Duxbury Half-Marathon. With some rain and wind whipping through the night before, the morning of race day brought some nice weather to the area which made for some very comfortable race conditions.

The Duxbury Half-Marathon kicked off at 7:30 AM from the Duxbury Senior Center and a nice crowd of runners toed the starting line. Funds from the race benefit the Duxbury Senior Center’s Alzheimer’s programs and it was great to see such a good group of runners tackling 13.1 miles to raise funds for such a good cause.

The first 8 or so miles of the race featured some really nice hilly terrain with both rolling hills and decent uphill legs mixed into the course. The run took place through wooded roads, alongside the ocean views and through neighborhoods throughout Duxbury and a nice stretch through the quaint downtown area had a good crowd out cheering runners along.

The race was extremely well supported with water on the course and Gatorade at one of the later stops, as well. Post-run, bagels, fruit, water and local oysters were available for runners to help refuel after the 13.1 mile race. The oysters were freshly shucked right at the finish line, can’t get much better than that!

Throughout the race, felt pretty good running a nice steady pace throughout and went out with a goal to run a consistent half-marathon. The month of March presented some challenging winter conditions for training but I still was able to maintain my goal of running steadily and finished the Duxbury Half-Marathon with a time of 2:00:38.

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Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea

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For runners in New England, I need not tell you that March has been a pretty brutal month for running. With four Nor’Easters walloping the reason bringing rain, snow, flooding and tree limbs everywhere, March has been less than ideal running conditions but hopefully the end is somewhere in sight. (Might be too optimistic here)

This morning it was down to the coastal community of Cohasset, Massachusetts for the Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea. Sponsored by the local Rotary Club, this race has been in existence for more than 40 years and though typically the race is a 10K a bridge being out changed the course this year to a five mile route. Though the race was shorted 1.2 miles, today’s race was no joke and came complete with snow, wind and some hills that were nothing short of what even the most seasoned of runners would call “no joke.”

The Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea was the March Grand Prix race for the Thirsty Irish Runners and a great crowd of runners toed the starting line in the quaint coastal town of Cohasset. Most of the race seemed quite hilly with some of the most significant hills being in the third and fourth miles. Snow flurries graced runners along the way and running past the Atlantic Ocean brought back memories of watching the month’s past storms devastation on the news. Some of the beachside mansions along the course allowed for some daydreaming about what it might be like to live inside them while running and though the race conditions were not ideal some of the locals were out on the course cheering runners along nonetheless. The race organizers deserve a huge kudos for having each mile marked and for having a water stop at each and every mile marker; well done!

I felt good out on the course today and despite the hills maintained a very consistent pace throughout the five miles and finished up the Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea with a time of 42:56, good for 8:35/miles. Perfect post-race refueling took place at Untold Brewing in Scituate.

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Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race

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St. Patrick’s Day weekend calls for the annual pilgrimage back to the Western Massachusetts city of Holyoke which was originally known as Ireland Parish. With a deeply rooted Irish history, Holyoke is home to one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades and a 10K road race that is not for the faint of heart. A hilly course keeps runners honest the day before the parade and allows runners to enjoy some pre-fried dough caloric burn!

The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race brings close to 7,000 runners to the starting line and takes runners throughout the streets of the city once known for the vibrant paper mills that gave Holyoke the nickname The Paper City. The race starts with The Mummers playing in downtown Holyoke and once runners cross the finish line a plethora of local watering holes greet runners and spectators alike for a cold beer to help re-hydrate.

This year, there was no snow to contend with on the race course and the weather on race day was cold and windy but certainly not completely unbearable. Some rather strong winds definitely were present while running and added a little complexity into an already complex race course. But a little wind and cold temperatures were not going to keep the runners from the starting line and it certainly did not keep the fans away from the race course! This year, the race seemed to be even more crowded at various points along the race course and water stops were plentiful, Irish music filled the air, bagpipes were being played, Jell-o shots were being shared and an all-around good time was being had. The experience of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race is one that simply should be experienced by each and every runner across the New England region and beyond!

This year was not my best and not my worst running of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10K and I finished the race with a time of 56:23, good for 9:04/miles. I ran the race pretty well and tackled the hilly and windy course with a consistent pace and felt good crossing the finish line and then tackled a solid four miles the next morning, as well.

There is something special about the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and you should certainly check it out next year if you have never run this race! Be sure to “Like” the race on Facebook, as well.

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Boston Marathon Book Author Talks

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Boston Marathon History by the Mile” author Paul Clerici will be speaking about his book, the Boston Marathon, the course, its history, etc., at several sites in the Greater Boston area.

  • Sharon Public Library, 11 North Main St., Route 27 (Tue., March 13th, 7 p.m.)
  • Norfolk Public Library, 139 Main St. (Thu., April 5th, 7 p.m.)
  • Along the course itself at the Morse Institute Library, 14 East Central St., Route 135, Natick (Mon., April 9th, 7 p.m.).

The local author, who has also run the Boston Marathon 23 times, discusses all the great stories about the very beginning in Ashland; various start lines in Hopkinton; the year in which a train cut through the race in Framingham; the Scream Tunnel of women at Wellesley College; the Johnny Kelley statue in Newton; the different finish lines in Boston; and much more.

The multi-media presentation will also feature a Q&A; and books will be available to purchase and be signed.

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Register for the Westford Road Race

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Registration is now open for the 19th Annual Westford Road Race which will be held in the afternoon of Sunday, May 6th. The Westford Road Race features something for everyone with a Family Run taking place at 2PM followed by a 5K at 2:20 and the 10K start at 2:25.

Sponsored by Sullivan and Cogliano, Waste Management and The Groton Inn, the Westford Road Race benefits the Westford Charitable Foundation which supports several charitable endeavors. To see some of the organizations and individuals that have benefited from the Westford Charitable Foundation, please click here.

All races start at the Abbot School on Depot Street in Westford, Massachusetts and feature professional timing and prizes for the top finishers. Tee-shirts are guaranteed to the first 600 runners who pre-register for the race. The race course is described as being the perfect mixture of challenging and serene as runners make their way through the idyllic, New England town of Westford and is a USATF certified 5K and 10K course. Additional race features include a raffle and post-race fun!

To register for the 19th Annual Westford Road Race please click here.

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