It’s billed as a great opportunity for a last long training run for Boston. It is just that – 20 scenic miles. I know of five Striders (forgive me if I missed someone as I do not know everyone) who rose to that challenge on March 29, 2015. We started out in Kittery ME, and soon crossed the newly re-opened Memorial Bridge into Portsmouth, NH. We ran through Market Square and the route meandered till we hit Rte. 1A and then followed the coast line through Rye, North Hampton, Hampton, Seabrook and finished just over the border in Salisbury MA.
The scenery was spectacular as are most New England coastal towns: beautiful mansions, summer cottages, old architecture, rip-rap barriers, picturesque inlets, a sparkling blue Ocean or our left and a dazzling sun overhead. There’s one section, Little Boar’s Head in North Hampton, featuring a hill, which, just before we approach the top and the sharp drop-off comes into view, gives an infinity– pool view of the Atlantic. It’s mesmerizing. It was a reasonably painless way to get in that last 20 miler.
OK, in theory it was. But, a few glitches needed to be dealt with. Chip timing was not used and results were incorrect and took a while to sort out. Let’s face it: we want our times and we want them right! Perhaps the race was TOO popular: the organizers ran out of finishing medals and post-race food. The course could’ve used more water stops as on a cool, dry day, dehydration sets in easily. But the biggest negative (and of course no one could control this), was the weather prediction of northwest winds, psyching us for tailwind all the way, which instead were strong and sustained southeast winds (15-20 MPH?) for the entire 20 miles! Many people commented on their added individual struggle and most of us had windburn by race’s end.
Our times were probably not representative of where we are in our training; but too, the extra work will put us in good stead for Boston. Annajean McMahon ran a great race and took an age group 3rd among twelve in the talented pool of 60-69 year old women. She ran an outstanding 3:06! Fantastic job! Yours truly came in 6th; but not that far behind 4th and 5th in 3:25. Next to cross the finish line was Dave Jefska in 3:44 for a very respectable showing. Denise Young and Maureen Kelly set their sights on breaking four hours and they smashed that goal coming in at 3:52 and 3:53 respectively. We did our best to represent the North Shore Striders well; and I think we did just that!