January 27, 2019 – Recaps by Linda Desjardins and Art Clay.
Linda Recaps The Stew Chase:
January is such an iffy month. It can be below zero or up to 60, dry, wet, snowy, icy, calm or windy. Race organizers just have to take their chances – and hope. Today brought 40 degree temps, mostly sunny skies, and dry roads thanks to Thursday’s heat which melted Monday’s snow and ice; but we can’t say it wasn’t windy! It really was a great day to run. The course has some notoriously long and difficult hills (up to the pinnacle of the Industrial Park) and lots of turns for the first couple miles as we meandered through neighborhoods. The race is fair as there are challenging parts, rolling hills, gentle hills, and flat-as-a-pancake spurts. Post-race comments had many saying they were glad to reach the Industrial Park Summit because they knew it’d be easy sailing coming back. Well…not quite. After the turnaround with about 4 miles left to cover, we were smacked in the face with reality. Strong headwind. That’s the thanks we get for mastering the hill challenge? Boo. Hiss. But it didn’t stop anyone – just slowed many of us down – some as much as a minute a mile.
There was a strong Strider presence at a race that deserves a lot more participation than it had. There were under 200 runners. This race is historic. It is special. Roger Perham’s organizing and announcing and overall friendliness creates a warm atmosphere. As one runner said…this race is a CLASSIC. We really should work on promoting it more next year.
Seven Striders ran, Sal Genovese, 1:16:27 and 11/16 in the 50-54 age group, Gary Freedman, 1:20:20 and 6/10 in 55-59, Siobhan Stoney, 1:28:02 and 23/18 in 55-59, Art Clay, 1:1:30:52 and 20/22 in 45-49. Dave Jefska, 1:37:40, and 8/10 in 60-64, Terence Smith 1:40:32, 6/6 in 65-69, and bringing up the rear, Linda Desjardins, 1:43:32 and 2/2 in 70-74. Our times were not the fastest any of us could run; but they all represented our best effort today!
Along the route there was also an outstanding Strider volunteer presence. We had Mary Stevens, Reener Kelly, Rosie Kyes, Cheryl Walsh, Dave Newhall, George Geis, Mike Pelletier, Mariellen Hayward, and, of course, Roger Perham. It’s nice to see familiar faces along the course and they give hearty support to all.
A new finisher’s award was added this year: a lovely throw embossed with the race’s logo and they were awarded three-deep in each age group. Lots of smiling faces after awards.
Art Recaps The Stew Chase:
Let’s keep the tradition going!
Sunny skies but intermittent winds and temperatures in the high 40s made this race blustery at times, warm at others. It was wise to wear hat, gloves at jacket for this one. Around 170 runners lined up at the Briarcliff Lodge in Lynn for this early season out-and-back 15k gem. Striders were well represented in the race itself and on the course volunteering.
The nearly 200 foot elevation gain through the industrial park midway through the race poses a signature challenge that is sure to provide free yet painful diagnosis of one’s condition early in the season. For those closer to the back of the pack like me, it was at once frustrating and satisfying to see all the speedy runners charge down the hill, careening around the corner onto 1st Ave.
The other signature of this race, cleverly embedded in its namesake, is, of course, the yummy stew served at the Knight’s of Columbus, making for a most satisfying repast, while mingling with the other local runners. The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of the Mill Cities relay post-gathering at the pub, only at the start of the year, not at the end (and far less rowdy).
Roger Perham, as always, did an outstanding job delivering the awards and providing post-race commentary. Big blue blankets were given to all award recipients. I didn’t stay long enough to hear all the awards, but I do believe high honors will go to Linda Desjardins in her age group. Sal Genovese didn’t quite meet the cut in his age group, but he nevertheless posted a great time with an 8:12 pace. It would appear that Sal is going to make yet another serious bid for Strider of the Year.
Sadly, I must end on two downbeat notes.
First, Roger announced the recent passing of a true legend, Tommy Leonard, at the age of 85. For those who don’t know, Tommy was the founder of the Falmouth Road Race – one of the most prestigious races in the country. He will missed by all.
Second, The Great Stew Chase’s existence is in jeopardy – as Roger admonished us – if we don’t start recruiting more runners for this race, either through word of mouth or social media. Let’s work together to keep the tradition going for years to come as this is one of the few (and best) early season races in our area!