Monday, April 8, 2013

Clamdigger 5K

Clamdigger 5K

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Race prep:  Due to the destruction from Sandy, and ongoing beach reconstruction, this year’s Clamdigger was moved away from the beach area and to the Avondale Farm Preserve.  The distance was shortened from 5 miles to 5K as well, in order to re-use an existing course and minimize busy roads.

The Clamdigger is the first of six running events that the WTAC hosts each year.  We started planning for this back in November, and it was great to not only see this through to fruition, but also how smoothly everything went.  I arrived at about 9AM to help setup and organize, and we had a great WTAC crew this year to help divide and conquer:  Justin, Joe, Kevin (and girlfriend?), Mikes B and C, Jana, and Steve (apologies if I missed someone).

About 10:30 I was able to break away from duties and get a warm-up run in with Tom and 4 WTAC teen speedsters as we ran about two miles of the course.  The run gave me chance to give thumbs-up to the volunteer water stop staffed by Service Master, and final pointers to the WMS Track Team course marshals.  Quick pep speech and thank you to runners and sponsors, and onto the starting line.
Riyan leads off the starting line.
From left, FiveK, Mark, and me.
Historic Clamdigger field nearly 200 strong
Mile 1:  Riyan bolted off the starting line to take the lead (Jonny wasn’t here today, so someone had to fill in for him), with Tom behind him.  By the time we were half-way through the first loop (1/2 mile?), Tom and I had both passed Riyan, and that remained the positions for the rest of the race:  Tom, Jeff, Riyan.  We re-crossed the start/finish line as we left the preserve, and it was neat to see so many people there.  I expressed dismay to Mike B at his failure to trip the leader (Tom) as he ran past him – I was pretty sure that was our agreed upon plan.  Mile 1 split:  5:35.
Finishing up loop 1 in the preserve
Mile 2:  This mile was really steep, as there is a 22’ high climb on Champlin Drive up to the turn-around.  Yeah, it was real rough, but fortunately, my training on the sea-to-summit served me well. :)
At the turn-around, Tom and I traded compliments, and then I could see all the runners headed back towards me.  I was thrilled to see my son Mark not far behind Riyan for 3rd and 4th.  Mile 2 split:  5:43.

Mile 3:  My 3rd mile is usually faster than my 2nd, but I was just running out of juice.  By now, I could only see FiveK on the long straight stretches and was running completely as an island unto myself.  This section of Avondale Road along the river seemed longer than I remembered, and I was thrilled to finally turn into the preserve.  Held on into a slight headwind to finish Mile 3 in 5:47.
Finishing strides approaching finish line

I finished the race in 17:47.  Wished I had run Mile 3 better, but I can't complain too much after a less than stellar running week, and my time was only 9 seconds off my all time PR.  
Mark had a huge day:  he sprinted in after Riyan, finishing just 1 second after him in 18:45, good for 4th place and 30 seconds off his PR!  If he's taking 30 seconds off his PR in one whack, that fateful day of him beating the old man may be sooner than I think!
Matthew had his 2nd fastest time ever in 19:56, good for 8th overall and a win in his age group.
Lots of other WTAC runners finished well, including Mike C, Paul Gray, and John.  Great day overall.

Full race results here.  Westerly sun article and pics here.
My stats:  17:47, 5:44 pace.  2nd overall, 1st in age group.
This year's awards and swag (beach towel) were unique.
Age group award.


  1. Great write-up, and a great time getting it to go so smoothly! Good job out there, but look out for those Walker kids, they're coming to get you!

  2. You are so fast! Congrats on an awesome finish for you and your kid!

  3. Fast time! Congrats to you and your kids.

  4. Another super showing by the Running Walker's!!!

    Great WTAC event as well.