By Linda Desjardins and Mike Pelletier
The North Shore Striders’ second Grand Prix event was the Campus Classic 5K at Northern Essex Community College. It was a picture-perfect spring day as the sight of green grass, budding leaves and flowering shrubs was most welcome. The course meandered around Northern Essex and alongside Lake Kenoza, presenting some longish rolling hills and a fair amount of flat cruising stretches. The race was well organized and well-managed. The goody bags offered great swag along with a t-shirt and lots of post-race refreshments. Awards were promptly announced and there were numerous raffles for all. Everyone seemed to agree this race was a nice addition to our series.
Twenty-one Striders toed the line at the NECC Campus Classic 5K and twelve of them came away with medals. Sean Michael Kay, Neil Bernstein, Mike Pelletier, and Nancy Wilson each earned gold; Kate Gage, Sue Quimby, Aidan Kay, Linda Desjardins, and Natalia Kay earned silver; while Lauren Hamilton, Armand Claveau, and Cecilia Kay received bronze.
The most remarkable performance may have been that of Armand Claveau. Only a week ago, Armand had to withdraw from the USATF National Masters 10K Championship when felled by pneumonia. After seven days on an antibiotic, on Saturday morning Armand jogged 50 feet around his driveway and then pronounced himself ready to race. Two hours later he toed the starting line. Accompanied by Tom McMahon as his rabbit, Armand pushed through 3 miles and when he spied competition for the third spot in the M70+ category, unleashed a devastating kick in the last mile to finish 3rd by 3:12. Tom McMahon was nearly speechless after witnessing Armand’s race but did murmur, “I hope I can run like that in another eight years.”