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Danvers Kiwanis 5 Mile Race
by Mike Pelletier
Friday, June 25, 2010

DANVERS, MA - Thirty-two North Shore Striders turned out in Danvers on Friday evening for the third race in the 2010 North Shore Striders Grand Prix. Sixteen of the Striders (five men and eleven women) were awarded either gold or silver medals in an age group.

Michael Veatch made a hugely successful return from the Injured Reserve list after arthroscopic knee surgery by leading all Striders at Danvers. Mike ran 33:47, good for 2nd in the M50-54 category. Second Strider male was the Snail, Neil Bernstein, running 35:06 and finishing first in the M55-59 age group.

First Strider woman was Sue Quimby in 36:08. Sue's time secured her first place in the F35-39 age group.

Other Striders bringing home the gold included Deb Beaulieu, Lauren Hamilton, Giuseppe Giannone, Jayne Sexton, Linda Fitzpatrick, Bonnie Hallinan, Nancy Wilson, and Carol Geis.

Earning Silver medals were Lanse Stover, Melissa Behl, George Geis, Pattie Lowell, and Joan Dailey.

O'All Name Time Place in Age Group
14Michael Veatch33:472/13 M 5054
20Neil Bernstein35:061/15 M5559
32Sue Quimby36:081/13 F3539
33Lanse Stover36:182/15 M5559
34Debra Beaulieu36:241/12 F3034
35Lauren Hamilton36:361/16 F4549
36Dennis Ryan36:373/8 M3439
38Eric Jones37:006/18 M4549
47Melissa Behl37:502/12 F3034
56Jay Kumar38:157/18 M4044
60Giuseppe Giannone38:271/6 M6569
61Frank Lanzillo38:298/18 M4044
63Kate Gage38:503/12 F3034
69George Geis39:072/6 M6569
70Jayne Sexton39:111/3 F5054
71Dave Jefska39:256/13 M5054
84Mike Pelletier40:163/6 M6569
85Linda Fitzpatrick40:211/6 F5559
88Jonathan Ryan40:495/9 M3034
106Vicky Yee42:235/16 F4549
113Jessica Martin42:414/6 F2529
131Jerry Hallinan44:339/15 M5559
132Tom McMahon44:4610/15 M5559
134Bonnie Hallinan45:031 F6064
139Pattie Lowell45:422/6 F5559
144Tom Lima46:3113 M5559
151Kevin Counihan47:0917 M4549
164Marisol Ficaro49:4012/16 F4549
178Mary Stevens50:5613/16 F4549
189Joan Dailey53:502/3 F5054
200Nancy Wilson1:11:221 F70+
201Carol Geis1:11:271 F6569

Full results here.

The Snail Went Over the Mountain
(Another in the "don't try this at home" series.)
by the snail
Saturday, June 5, 2010, 2010

PITTSFIELD, VT - The Snail figured that, since he survived Boston on less than a month of serious training and managed 25 miles in 9:18 pace (~May 22), it was about time to try something else, that is, something "challenging." So, he signed up for the "2010 Pittsfield Peaks Ultra Challenge", "Peak's Hell Run," which is a 10 mile trail run ( The course starts at the Amee Farm, Pittsfield, VT, crosses the creek, goes up, up, up the southern switchbacks to the Peak, along the Peak for a short distance, then down, down, down the northern switchbacks, and, finally, back across the creek to the farm. Accumulated ascent: ~2450 ft, almost all of it during the first ~6 miles. This course is almost entirely trail (mostly single trail), and it has only about a half mile on a dirt road. This course is similar to the Stonecat 50 miler, just more severe. To contrast, Mt Washington is 7.6 miles, with an ascent of 4727 feet, is one-way (just up - infamously, "only one hill"), and, since it is entirely on a "road", it is characterized by a more moderate and consistent slope.

Since there was only one aid station (~4.7 miles) (and the Snail could not find his Camelback bladder), he strapped on his water-bottle-holster and armed it with (what else) a bottle of water, which worked out just fine. He started out hoping to complete the course in under 12 min/mile pace (under 2 hours). Within a mile, he passed the weekend warriors and kids, and he settled into a pitter-patter, except that he walked the steeper climbs (of which there were many!). Up the mountain actually went rather well.

The peak provided a fantastic view of the eastern side of the Green Mountains and the White River Valley (although the river was not visible from the trail). Then, the Snail started down. He had not been warned that the steep downhill segments were MUCH steeper than the uphill segments. Shortly after the peak, the snail barrelled down a rocky, rugged segment for about 2 1/2 minutes, certain that he was about to break a leg or at least sprain an ankle. The problem was that it turned steep very suddenly, so braking, at that point was very difficult. Amazingly, the Snail traversed that segment and several other shorter segments without major injury. For comparison, many segments, especially the downhill ones, were steeper than the Lynn Woods Relay's first hill, just past the parking lot, and it was frequently somewhat more rugged. Conversely, nothing was as rugged or rocky as the "steps" on the LWR course.

Just for good measure, there were lots of muddy bits, including on some hairpin turns. Some of them were slippery, some were "suctiony" (you know, you hear this popping suction sound as you yank your foot out of the muck), while others were just wet and messy.

Although there was no marker for the half-way point, the Snail is certain that he achieved his cherished negative splits, and (as usual, and it almost goes without saying ...) NO ONE passed the Snail after the first mile. The down-hill part of the race, however, did manage to hammer the Snail's legs. Thus, during the final couple of miles, which were fairly tame, the Snail passed only one runner, and closed within a couple dozen yards of a second runner - well below his normal fast-as-lightening finishes. Time: 1:24:05 (10:24/mile), a full 35 minutes faster than anticipated. That was one very surprised, super-charged Snail who huffed and puffed across the finish line!

Among the myriad trail races, why did the Snail choose this specific race? If you visit the link (, you will find that they use the same 10 mile loop x3, x10, x15, x20, for their McNaughton 30, 100, 150 and 200 Mile Ultras, in early May. So, first, the Snail wondered if he might some day try one of the longer runs and felt that it might be prudent to check out the course under a less intimidating distance. Next, it might provide useful insights into other ultra trail runs, such as the Vermont 50 or 100 Mile ( And, it doesn't hurt that the Snail got that blazing lemon "Peaks Ultramarthon" technical T-shirt. (You will surely covet this shirt, when you see it!) Also, it was a great opportunity for the Snail and Mrs. Snail (aka Aliza) to take advantage of the free Bed & Breakfast with Oren's inlaws (and now our good friends) Nancy and Peter Mogielnicki, in Plainfield, NH.

After the race, the Snail was in amazingly good shape (that is, uninjured). Overall, with a very warm, informal and supportive group of volunteers, who, in parallel hosted a 50K and a 53-miler, it was a friendly event. In that regard, the Snail says that it would be a pleasure to come back for one of the longer runs, ... if the Snail feels up to the challenge. For those of you who think that this run sounds a bit too pedestrian, the Snail suggests that you check out their "Death Race" - there is a great 10-minute video clip on their companion web site (

As an aside, the Snail was complimented not only on his distinctive "Snail" singlet, but also on possibly the cleanest (bright red) shoes among the finishers - who would have figured! As another aside, the Snail kept looking for a friend he expected to meet there, but the bear must have went over a different mountain.

In at least the foreseeable future, the Snail will probably avoid this type of race. Since it is so short (only 10 miles, after all), it was just too tempting to run fast, which was, in retrospect, imprudent. The Snail is indeed flabbergasted to have come out of it unscathed. Also, the dynamic of a 10-miler is nothing like an ultra. As some of you know, the Snail loves ultras and, now that he has a bit more time, prefers to put his energy, effort and preparation more directly towards those endearing events.

The Snail is currently thinking of targeting a repeat of the Stonecat 50 Mile, in early November. If that goes well, ....

Oh, and as mentioned above, the Snail does not recommend trying this at home.

- Neil (aka, the snail)

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