Wild Turkey 5 Mile
SALEM, MA - Thanksgiving morning dawned with a temperature of 38 degrees, just perfect for running 5 miles and earning a fleece jacket for completing the 5-race Salem Parks & Recreation Series. Dave Jefska stopped by my house to give me a ride on condition I show him the private parking spot that my dentist let's me use on Thanksgiving Day in thanksgiving for all the money I've paid him over the years.
At the start I lined up in the fourth row with Tom McMahon who said the fourth row was reserved for runners chasing the fleece jacket. Mario Fagone wanted to join us, but we told him the fourth row was only for those seeking to complete the series and earn the jacket. Mario retorted that the fourth row was really for guys wanting to be near the hot girls in the third row. In case Mario was right, we let him stay.
When the gun went off, because we were in the fourth row, we only needed 2.73 seconds to cross the starting line. Mario and I pushed the pace down Hawthorne Boulevard and dropped Tom, but Dave Jefska quickly caught Mario and me. The three of us ran together until Jay Kumar (only five days after running the Philadelphia Marathon) caught up to us on Derby Street after we had left Pickering Wharf. Jay cheerfully announced that since Salem was 10 degrees warmer than Philadelphia had been, the running was really easy. Then Jay pulled away with Dave Jefska on his shoulder.
I, on the other hand, settled into an 8:12 pace for miles Two, Three and Four. Mario held on until Mile Two and then dropped back. Running out to and around Winter Island was a nice touch as you could see every one else in the race, those ahead of you like Gary Freedman and those behind you.
The 4-mile mark is on Memorial Drive at the top of the last hill. The last mile is flat except for a final 100 yards of slight downhill to the finish line which is perfect for a final sprint when you round the last corner onto Hawthorne Boulevard. When they posted the results, it was nice to see that because of the 1000+ runners registered for this race they were using 5-year age groups. Now that I'm at that awkward age, beyond the mid-point of a ten year age group, I really appreciate this courtesy.
However, when I looked at the results, I was disappointed to see that I had lost to a 69-year-old from Beverly who had run a 36:30 and beat me by 4 ½ minutes. When I asked George Geis if he knew this guy, George said, "Sure, he's my barber, but there's no way he could run that fast. In fact he was about ½ mile behind me at the finish." Further investigation showed that George's barber and the barber's son had inadvertently mixed up their numbers. Justice finally triumphed as I was given the 1st place medal and George Geis received the 2nd place medal.
No such controversy bedeviled Melissa Behl and Carol Geis who each finished 1st in her respective age group. Jill and Mike Page's daughter Katelyn finished 3rd in the F1519 age group. Gary Freedman and Bonnie Hallinan came as close as you can get, each finishing 4th in an age group.
Full results at Cool Running.