Give ‘Em The Bird 5K: Race Recap


On Wednesday afternoon we packed up The Running Griffin race wagon and made our way out to Western Massachusetts for a few days of relaxation, Thanksgiving fun and family time with my family in Holyoke.

Always looking for a solid reason to have that extra scoop of stuffing or squash at Thanksgiving dinner, we looked for a road race prior to making our trip and came across the Give ‘Em The Bird 5K in neighboring Easthampton, Massachusetts. An added nuance to the race not outlined on the website was the one thing no race director can plan for: the weather. Temperatures were slated to be in the low single digits without the wind chill Thanksgiving morning and with the crisp Pioneer Valley winds always kicking up, this was going to be one chilly run!

The night before the race, runners could pick up their bib numbers and tee-shirt at Abandoned Building Brewery. This also allowed runners to not have to get to the race too early and stand around in the cold, harsh chilly airs while also giving runners a good excuse to either have a pint or take a couple cans of Abandoned Building’s delicious craft beers home with them.

The race was limited to 500 runners and the field was completely filled with pre-registrations so the race did a nice job attracting runners in advance of the race. Because of the weather, a good amount of runners did not toe the starting line but for us hearty running folk, the starting line was on a bike trail.

As the running horn sounded, runners made their way on the Manhan Rail Trail for about the first 3/4 miles which rolled ever so gently uphill. There was a little bridge runners ran across and immediately before exiting the bike path a turkey dancing with a butcher knife showed you the way to turn. The next stretch of the race took runners through a residential neighborhood and along some farm land and winding water before heading uphill on what was toughest, hilly section of the course featuring a rather sharp incline around the 1.6 mile mark. Runners then made a right hand turn back onto the bike trail an finished the rest of the race on the bike trail heading into the finish line area where some fans, who had to have been cold, cheered runners into the finish.

The course for the Give ‘Em The Bird 5K was a really nicely laid out course and would be a great 5K course any time of year but for a cold Thanksgiving morning run seemed to work even better. It was cold out there but the course moved along nicely and was a scenic run with a good Western Mass feel to it complete with being surrounded by the Mt. Tom range and all.

Despite the cold, I ran pretty well and finished the race with a time of 25:17, good for 8:07/mile. Whether scientifically valid or not, that’s good enough for me and I grabbed that extra scoop of stuffing later in the day!

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Norwood Turkey Trot


Following up from last week’s Monson Half-Marathon it was off to Norwood, Massachusetts for the  32nd Annual Norwood Turkey Trot. The Monson Half was a good prep race for a hilly four mile course in Norwood but the calves were still feeling the monstrously hilly Monson course on the much shorter Norwood route.

The Norwood Turkey Trot was the November Grand Prix race for my running club, the Thirsty Irish Runners. The race is a big fan favorite of the club and 60+ TIRs toed the starting line yesterday at 11AM to make their way out onto the route.

The race kicks off in front of Norwood High School and quickly takes runners down a steep hill into the first mile marker for the most part before runners begin the climbing back toward the finish line. Runners climb pretty well toward the second mile marker but heading back up the hill toward the finish line that graced runners with the downhill descent in the first mile is the real challenge.

This year, there seemed to be a few more fans on the hill than in prior years cheering runners along as they made their way up the steep ascent back toward the high school. Running in front of the high school, runners make a final sharp left tun up a quick little hill before sprinting into the finish line.

I finished the Norwood Turkey Trot with a time of 35:01, good for 8:45/miles. Not a terrible result coming off a half-marathon last weekend but hoping to build back a bit more speed sometime soon. With cooler temps now greeting us all in New England it might be time to focus on logging some more miles and then working on speed more in the spring but we shall see!

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! Anyone running a Turkey Trot on Thursday?

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Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon

November 12, 2018 1 comment


I remember playing Monson in high school athletics but didn’t really remember much about the town when I signed up for the Monson Memorial Classic. The race director noted that the race course has been called by past runners one of the most brutal half-marathon courses they have done but I figured how bad could it really be. A couple hills, nothing. A few rolling hills, I got this.

Let me warn you now. The Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon course is no joke! But you need to sign up for this race next year.

The race kicked off at noon on Sunday morning in front of the Monson Memorial Town Hall, a sort of idyllic, New England town hall complete with a statue of a soldier on the building and adorned inside with a large stage and hardwood floors. Race day proved to be chilly with temperatures in the upper 30’s and with a little bit of some wind that was far worse on Saturday still lingering in the region.

Located outside of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Monson is a rural central Massachusetts town complete with a quaint downtown area, farm land and oh, by the way, a whole lot of hills! The race course features some rather intense uphill climbing for just about the entire race it seems. The first 8 miles or so were noticably uphill and it seemed at times that we were climbing for almost the entire way. Even on the somewhat flat portions of the race, they were few and far between and the hills definitely took a toll on the calves along the way. Around the mile 9 mark there was a nice little downhill stretch and then around mile 11 you were greeted with another downhill portion, as well, but overall the hills trended far more upward than they did downward.

On the race course, volunteers had water stops about every two miles and there was plenty of water for all runners. It would have been good to have at least one or two sport drink stops mixed into the course but the volunteers at each of the water stops were all amazing and cheered runners along.

Heading into the finish line, an American flag in front of Monson Memorial Town Hall waved in the air, a perfect tribute on Veterans’ Day weekend.

Inside the Town Hall after the race, a folk band played live music while volunteers handed out warm food to help runners warm up after tackling the run. A huge assortment of pastas, soups, apples, cider, hot dogs and more greeted runners and there was plenty of food to go around! One of the finest post-race spreads you will find.

The Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon course was a really challenging course but a nice course at the same time. The course was probably made better simply by the fall colors that sort of enveloped the hills and the run all in all was a really good one. Long-sleeve tech-shirts for the runners and a post-race medal added to the benefits of this run so if you are looking for a 2019 fall half-marathon look no further than the Monson Memorial Classic.

I finished the half-marathon with a time of 2:16:57, or 10:26/miles. Though this time was nowhere near my best running, the challenge of the course coupled with a lack of long run training recently added some complexity to the running but I was happy to finish the race and add another half-marathon to the books!

The Monson Memorial Classic road race was started in 1996, shortly after the deaths of Kelly Waldron and Kathy Waldron Perry. These sisters died eight months apart from different types of cancer. Kathy suffered with melanoma, and Kelly had breast, bone, and liver cancer. They were wonderful, loving people. This race is in their memory, and past proceeds have gone to American Cancer Association of Western Mass, American Lung Association, Quaboag Valley Hospice, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year the race gave all proceeds to Griffin’s Friends.


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Genesis Battlegreen Run 2018


Registration is now open for the Genesis Battlegreen Run which will be held in historic Lexington, Massachusetts on November 4th. Runners can choose from either a 5K or 10K course route and all proceeds from the run go to benefit local charities including Habitat for Humanity, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at Mass General Hospital, scholarship funds and more!

Since its inception in 1996, the Genesis Battlegreen Run has been established as one of the most popular road race events in New England. This race event is unlike any other racing event from start to finish. Rene Rancourt, voice of the Boston Bruins, sends the runners along their way with a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, accompanied by musket fire, courtesy of the Lexington Minutemen. Another signature component of the racing event is the post-race buffet, which includes a variety of food options generously donated by many local restaurants and food vendors.

This event, which has become a Lexington tradition, offers a beautiful course that will challenge runners and walkers alike. After the race, join participants, friends and family for entertainment and a taste of our local food fair!

To register for the Genesis Battlegreen Run please click here to register online. For more information about the Genesis Battlegreen Run Foundation, be sure to check out and “Like” their Facebook page by clicking here.


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Roots of Wisdom


The importance of fueling appropriately before, during and after a tough run is always talked about and sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by knowing we should do more but fail to actually take the steps to do so. Reasons can run the gamut but if you are anything like me it probably has a lot to do with being on the go and not really finding a great option that combines an effective solution with something that doesn’t taste like the bottom of a shoe.

I recently checked out the Protein Energy Meal from Roots of Wisdom and have been impressed with the functionality of the protein shake and the taste of the product and highly recommend you give it a shot!

The goal of Roots of Wisdom is to provide a foundation in leading a mindful life and achieving mind/body happiness. The products are a combination of ancient Ayurvedic wisdom and the latest modern nutraceutical science, which allows one to reach a healthy state of balance. The Roots of Wisdom difference is PranaForce Activation through its synergistic herbal formulations, which increase and facilitate the flow of Pranic Vital Force (Chi in Chinese medicine, the primal life force, the subtle energy and guiding intelligence behind all mind body functions). This which leads to greater mind body awareness.

Some of the advantages of Roots of Wisdom products include:

  • Always 100% plant based full of vital Prana Force.
  • Always Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly
  • Always Gluten Free
  • Always Non-GMO
  • Always free of artificial ingredients and preservatives

The Chocolate Protein Energy Meal is a tasty option that is packed with 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber therefore the shake does a great job filling you up and providing you with some amazing energy and nutrients to both power through the day and to recover after a good workout. The shake can help ease inflammation and boost the immune system therefore with the winter months ahead , now is a great time to start getting the Roots of Wisdom product into your routine.

If you are in the market for a great option for an energy and protein meal, definitely check out Roots of Wisdom. For more information about their line of products, please check out their website by clicking here.

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Join Me at the Monson Memorial Classic


When I was told the course was hilly, the half-marathon was one of the toughest around and that others have noted the half-marathon is “no joke” of a race one thought came to mind: Sign me up!

On November 11th, join me in Monson, Massachusetts for the Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon. The half-marathon course has been raved about by prior participants and they will tell you that the race will both delight and challenge you all at the same time.

The Monson Memorial Classic road race was started in 1996, shortly after the deaths of Kelly Waldron and Kathy Waldron Perry. These sisters died eight months apart from different types of cancer. Kathy suffered with melanoma, and Kelly had breast, bone, and liver cancer. They were wonderful, loving people. This race is in their memory, and past proceeds have gone to American Cancer Association of Western Mass, American Lung Association, Quaboag Valley Hospice, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year we are giving proceeds to Griffin’s Friends.

In addition to the amazing course, the Monson Memorial Classic features great food and music at the post-race party! Additional race amenities include long sleeve tech shirts for the first 200 to register for the half-marathon, ale glasses for those who register for the half marathon  and finisher medals to all half-marathon finishers. For those elite runners who read The Running Griffin, there is also prize money available for top finishers!

As an added bonus, the first 100 runners who sign up for both the Monson Memorial Classic and the Amherst Half-Marathon will receive a $10 gift card for the iconic Tree House Brewing!

To register for the Monson Memorial Classic, please click here. Be sure to also “Like” the race on Facebook here. See you in Monson in November and let’s get ready to tackle some hills!

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On The Go Towels

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After a good, tough race there is nothing better than finding a refreshing way to take that sweat from your brow and clean off the dirt that may have kicked up on your legs. Now, thanks to our friends at On The Go Towels there is a great option for cleaning off post-race and adding that cool and fresh feeling back after a tough workout.

On The Go Towels are cool, moisturize and deodorize and leave you clean and refreshed in a matter of seconds. Conveniently folded into individual packs small enough to fit your pocket, you can take On The Go wipes anywhere! They are great to keep in the glove-box of your car and ideal to throw in your gym bag with your running sneakers and change of clothes.

On The Go Towels are made in the USA with the highest commitment to quality. Formulated with safe, natural ingredients like aloe vera, ginseng, green tea, witch-hazel and cucumber extracts, On The Go Towels are safe to use on all skin types.

The On The Go Towels can be purchased either directly on their website by clicking here or can be purchased on Amazon or Jet.

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