July 31, 2018 – A Linda Desjardins/Mike Pelletier collaboration –
Runner Friendly. That’s what Newburyport is. The folks get it. When we descend on the city for the 10 mile and 5K Yankee Homecoming races, one of our Grand Prix races this year, rather than put up resistance about how the runners pretty much stop up traffic for a good chunk of time, the residents join in the fun. This race was a hot one: 80 at the start and humidity was high. But along the route, Newburyport folks lined the streets with chairs to enjoy the festivities and cheer us on. Many had their own water stops, several held up hoses to sprinkle us, all were vociferous in their praise of our running and urged us on. It is encouragement and support like that which makes the 10 miles go by quite pleasantly and the 5K so enjoyably. Of course kudos go to the course itself which offers a variety of experiences from the stately mansions on High Street to the waterfront to the crowded downtown for both races, then the 10 miler continues along the waterfront to the quiet tree-lined roads around Maudsley State Park and the woodsy back roads where we could feel the humidity increase with each dip in the road. The last two miles are a challenge as they are on Rt. 113 and High Street. Flat roads, not remarkably scenic, but runners can smell pay dirt as they refuse to let up on those seemingly endless straightaways. Three North Shore Striders dug in and navigated the 5K course and ten others chose to challenge the 10 miler. As usual, all gave their all. Everyone who ran tonight of necessity expended considerable effort to hit that finish mat. Mike Pelletier provided the easy-to-read and follow grids which spelled out everyone’s successes.
An item of interest: Mariellen Hayward forgot her running shoes and was wearing golf shoes. And yes, she ran ten miles in them and is hoping to get underwritten by the golf shoe manufacturer.