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Larry Robinson 10M & 5K Races
by Mike Pelletier
Sunday, November 9, 2008

Twenty-four Striders accompanied by various friends and family journeyed to Andover on Sunday, November 9 for the ninth race in the 2008 North Shore Striders Grand Prix Series.

Age group Winners in the 10 Mile Race were Anita Robboy (1st F60-69), Linda Fitzpatrick (3rd F50-59), and Joe Giannone (3rd M60-69).

In the 5K Race, Nancy Giannone was 1st F60-69 and Carol Geis was 3rd F60-69.

Fifteen Striders among 394 finishers finished the hilly 10- Mile Race which started at 9am. The first downhill mile and the last uphill mile of the 10 Mile Race are identical with the first and last miles of the 5K. Miles 2, 3, 4, and 5 form a loop of tough hills which are repeated for miles 6, 7, 8, and 9. Unfortunately a group of runners in the 10 Mile Race was directed off course by a misinformed police officer and Jay Kumar had the misfortune to be in that group, resulting in an abnormally slow time for Jay. If there is any sort of a silver lining in this it might be that the misadventure could be fodder for Jay's new column in the Salem News.

Gary Freedman (Marine Corps), Lanse Stover (NYC), Giuseppe Giannone (Baystate), Linda Fitzpatrick (Manchester City), Marisol Ficaro (Baystate), and Kevin Counihan (Baystate, Cape Cod, NYC) were each coming off of one or more successful marathons within the last month and Tom McMahon was testing the injury that gave him a dnf at Baystate three weeks ago.

49 GARY FREEDMAN 17/77 M4049 1:13:01 7:19

86 SEAN KAY 17/50 M3039 1:16:39 7:40

104 LANSE STOVER 11/37 M5059 1:18:53 7:54

117 GIUSEPPE GIANNONE 3/9 M6069 1:21:35 8:10

148 VICKY YEE 14/46 F4049 1:24:36 8:28

165 SUSAN QUIMBY 14/56 F3039 1:26:07 8:37

192 DAVE JEFSKA 21/37 M5059 1:28:08 8:49

229 JAY KUMAR 62/77 M4049 1:30:06 9:01 OFF COURSE

248 LINDA FITZPATRICK 3/11 F5059 1:31:21 9:09

273 HARVEY KAPLOWITZ 30/37 M5059 1:34:47 9:29

277 ANITA ROBBOY 1/2 F6069 1:35:06 9:31

296 MARISOL FICARO 35/46 F4049 1:38:23 9:51

307 THOMAS MCMAHON 32/37 M5059 1:40:00 10:00

316 KEVIN COUNIHAN 71/77 M4049 1:40:41 10:05

377 BOB HOLLAND 36/37 M5059 1:53:15 11:20

Nine Striders were among the 236 finishers of the 5K Race which started at 9:10 am. This is one of the tougher 5Ks around with it's first mile downhill, the second mile with a tough uphill in the middle and then the last long 1.1 miles uphill. The finish line is actually higher than the starting line, making this one of the few races with a net gain in elevation.

107 MICHAEL PELLETIER 8/15 M6069 27:28 8:51

108 KEN WATSON 12/21 M5059 27:28 8:51

124 GEORGE GEIS 9/15 M6069 28:35 9:12

182 MARY STEVENS 21/29 F4049 32:33 10:29

193 NANCY GIANNONE 1/4 F6069 33:31 10:48

194 ARMAND CLAVEAU 10/15 M6069 33:32 10:48

197 STEPHEN KOHANSKI 12/15 M6069 33:59 10:57

212 SCOTT W FRASER 29/30 M4049 36:38 11:48

228 CAROL GEIS 3/4 F6069 44:32 14:20

Full results at Cool Running.

Manchester City Marathon
by Mike Pelletier
Sunday, November 2, 2008

MANCHESTER, NH - I decided months ago to go to New Hampshire for the Manchester City Marathon. It had what I most desired: five-year age groups. It had what I most feared: lots of hills. I knew well the first half of the course from running the Manchester Half Marathon last year. I knew the hills would make running under 4 hours a challenge, a challenge to which I had agreed when I submitted to Neil my goal of running a sub-four-hour marathon this year.

Last year I ran the Manchester Half Marathon with my son Mark and his college roommate Glen. This year when I decided to run the full marathon, Mark decided to join me and run his fist full marathon. Then he tried to talk Glen into moving up to the marathon, but Glen refused, citing a lack of training.

Several weeks ago, Linda Fitzpatrick told me she had wanted to run the Baystate Marathon but it was closed when she tried to register. I suggested Manchester as an alternative and Linda agreed after she completed a couple of 20-mile training runs.

Dennis Ryan ran the Baystate Marathon on October 19 in 4:02:06 and then felt so good afterwards that he decided to also run Manchester and try to break 4 hours.

Sunday dawned clear and cold with the temperature at 31 degrees. At 8:35 am, all of us except Linda met in the Radisson lobby to walk to the starting line two blocks away. Linda had agreed to meet us in the lobby at 8:30, but had set off for the start when the rest of us were late. I never did see Linda at the start, but Dennis and I started off right behind Mark and Glen. It was a long and narrow start with all of the half and full marathon runners starting off together in between two lines of cones. It took over a minute for us to cross the starting line mat and register the timing chips on our shoes. By then Mark and Glen were pulling away. I wouldn't see Mark again for over two hours.

After two opening miles at 9:30 pace, Dennis and I settled into a string of 9:01 miles over the next 11 very hilly miles. This was the pace we needed for a 3:56 marathon.

By the half marathon mark, Dennis and I were at 1:58:02 and looking good for a sub-4 hour marathon. Mark was even better positioned at 1:56:14. There is a very fine line between a fast enough pace and a pace that is too fast and we three were about to discover that anew. Linda Fitzpatrick had listened to sage advice to take the first half easy and was hanging back at a conservative 2:29:00.

Dennis and I left the downtown, crossed the Merrimack River and headed up into the hills east of Manchester for the final loop. With just 434 marathoners on this part of the course, suddenly you felt very much alone. By 15 miles I had Mark in my sights and we caught him at 15.5. The three of us ran together until 17 when Dennis pulled ahead. At 18+ I decided to walk up a short steep hill and Mark joined me. At the top, I resumed running as did Mark, but he began to fall off the pace as the early miles took a toll.

At 19+ and again at 20 there were uphills and then at 20+ there was a steep downhill that jammed your feet forward in your shoes and rubbed your insteps raw. Mark was hit by a massive hamstring cramp at the uphill at 20 which slowed him to a 14 minute mile. At 20+ he found the downhill so steep that it was hard to really get a fast leg turn-over.

The buzz pre-race was that the last 6 miles were all downhill or flat. As is often the case, the buzz was wrong. There were more uphills in miles 23 and 24 (a long serpentine uphill leading to the 23-mile water stop) and long stretches of flat boring roadway, often on main roads, sometimes curving through neighborhoods. I kept thinking about walking during the last four miles, but I knew that if I did, some old dude would get my medal. Mile 25 was 47 seconds faster than Mile 24, but then Mile 26 was 12 seconds slower than mile 25 and the time for the final 0.2 miles was 2:11, a 10:55 pace, culminating in a final stumble across the finish line.

Dennis' mid-race surge at 17 miles hadn't lasted very long and he ended up finishing less than 2 minutes in front of me. Mark pulled himself together after the hills in miles 23 and 24 to run a decent last 1.2 miles and looked pretty good at the finish, sprinting past folks doing the survivor's shuffle. I didn't see Linda Fitzpatrick finish but she did herself proud, being one of the few marathoners running negative splits at Manchester (2:29:00 first half and 2:23:44 second half). When I did see Linda, she was shuffling through the park with bare feet, having taken off her running shoes to get relief from the blisters. Linda described the hills as very challenging, but said they had made her tougher.

When the age group awards were announced, I found I had finished second M65-69 to the same Roger Goulet from Canada who had beaten me at the Maine Marathon in October, 2007 by a nearly identical margin of 5:50.

Marathon results:

Place (434 finishers) Name Div Div/Tot Halfway Guntime Nettime Pace
236 Dennis Ryan M35-39 33/53 1:58:02 4:05:56 4:04:54 9:21
247 Mike Pelletier M65-69 2/9 1:58:02 4:07:40 4:06:35 9:25
320 Mark Pelletier M30-34 25/33 1:56:14 4:23:49 4:22:25 10:01
388 Linda Fitzpatrick F55-59 4/7 2:29:00 4:52:44 4:51:02 11:07

Half Marathon results: Glen Cote M3034 18/72  1:36:36  7:23

Full results at Cool Running.

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