Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bobby Doyle Summer Classic: USATF NE Championship

Narragansett, RI
Sunday, August 9, 2015

Had never run this one before, and between being a rare chance to test my mettle against my 5 Mile PR of 30:02 and one of the last chances this summer to race together with Matthew, I threw in my hat (in addition to a Jackson, a Lincoln, and a Jefferson).

This year's 8th annual edition was no ordinary one, as it took on the additional status of being the USATF New England championship 5-mile race, and thus drew esteemed and decorated harriers from all of the six New England states.

We arrived about an hour early, and as soon as we got out of the car, it was crystal clear to me that this would be a race like no other I had ever participated in.  If you look around at the starting race of almost every race I've ever done (including marathons), you see varying physiques and running attire anything from lightweight running singlets to runners with their bibs pinned over a cotton zipped up hooded sweatshirt.  Not here!
Look at the physique and uniforms of these runners!
Do I even deserve a running spot at this race?
(As usual, thanks to Jana for [nearly] all the pics here)

As far as the eye could stretch, the sight was teeming with lithe runners all seemingly clad in short-shorts and the lightest of singlets or sports bras for the fairer sex.  These guys are serious runners!  A plethora of formidable running clubs had descended upon Narragansett, including the BAA, Central Mass Striders, and several hailing from NH, VT, and ME.  It was simultaneously awe-inspiring and daunting.
Father-son warm-up is always enjoyable.
Quality time all summer that I'll never forget.

Enough of my incessant blathering, and on to the race.  A quick synopsis:

Mile 1:  5:35!  The gun went off, and I couldn't move for a few seconds, as deep in aggressive "Sub 30" marked group.  For the entire mile, the pack was pretty thick around me.  Towards the end of Mile 1, I passed my nemesis, Tollgate XC coach Norm Bouthillier.
Half-mile in:
Crowded field would be persistent throughout race.

Mile 2:  5:50.  Happy to keep it under 6 as the course climbs a bit as we go back past the start again at Narragansett Middle School.
Mile 2:  Long strides staying sub-6 without taxing myself too much
 Mile 3:  5:39!  Thrilled that I've picked up the pace again.  Some of it must be the super fast running crowd pulling me along.  This would be the last mile that I would see Matthew, although with so many runners on the road, I could only see him turning at corners.

Mile 4:  6:04.  You pass through timing mats at the 5K mark at a narrow chute on Ocean Road (near 1 mile mark at Blessing) and my time showed 18:03.  A 5:49 average pace; I'll take that, especially given I wasn't just racing a 5K.  The slowed time on this mile was indicative of the two uphills on this section.  Nothing serious, but enough to slow most runners down.

Sprinting to the finish,
trying to match a competitor's strides.
(We both finished 29:26 gun time, but for some reason
they took 2 seconds off for him on chip time and none for me, even though
I started behind him.)
Mile 5:  5:59.  Trying to pick up the pace a little for the finish, happy again to keep it under 6.
Crossing the finish line in a lifetime PR of 29:26.  Sweet!

Final time:  29:26!  Results here.  A full 36 seconds under my PR!  My previous PR was several years ago at a race in Bristol where I ran side-by-side with Jonny for the entire race, save for the last 1/2 mile when I couldn't match his stride.  He went under 30 and I didn't.  I've always regretted missing the sub-30 mark by 3 seconds, and today was ample vindication.
Post-race with my finisher's medal.

Close up of the cool finisher's medal.

So, I must have won my geezer age group, right?  Not a chance!  140th overall and 14th in my age group!  That's OK, I went up against the creme de la creme in New England, and still came up 14th of 70.  Matthew finished 27 places ahead of me with a huge PR of 28:31.  Someone sent him a link to age-graded results and stated that I beat him in the race on an age-graded basis.  Interesting reading, but truly I'm happy with my race results and PR in my own right.  This was both a humbling and amazing race in which I'm thrilled to have participated.


  1. Jackson, Lincoln, and Jefferson – little high school reunion for you

  2. Oh – nice job on the PR and I like how Matthew put the finish medal over his SMILE