Thursday, September 3, 2009

32nd Atkinson 5k 9/3/09

Thursday night I drove over to Pope Field in Atkinson, N.H. to run in the 32nd annual Atkinson 5k road race. This year's race had special meaning because proceeds from the race would go to help out Mark Kimball and his family as Mark continues to recover from injuries sustained after being hit by a truck on East Road in Atkinson this past June while out on a training run with his wife, Tina. As I walked up to the registration table, I instantly bumped into numerous friends from the past and said hello to David Labrode, Mike Dechane, Mark Behan, Paul McGovern and his daughter Peyton, Mark Kimball, Bob Strout, and Nancy Corsaro. The race also was a fund raiser for the Timberlane High School boys and girls X-Country teams and they were well represented with coach Behan leading his troops into another season. This evening's event was a perfect stage for a community helping out a local family and also for raising funds to support youngsters who enjoy running.
After a 15 minute warmup with Mark Behan, I put on my Loco Banditos and jogged to the start. I got in the 3rd or 4th row and was beside Nancy Corsaro (Whirlaway) who is having another great road season. Mark Kimball was the official race starter and at exactly 6 PM, the race began. As the weather was a bit on the hot side, I planned on going out easy. This did not seem to be a problem because I was boxed in by about 25 youngsters for about the first downhill 1/4 mile who were excited to be racing through their hometown. I just let it happen and enjoyed the beginning of the race instead of pressing too much and burning out. I was in about 6th place for the first 1/2 mile and decided I was feeling pretty decent so I made a bid to get up ahead of Bob Strout as he was showing signs of his HS 880 speed (current Haverhill (MA) HS RECORD -880 1:52 - 1973). Up ahead was Casey Carroll (UNH track coach) who I saw before the race and figured he was the guy to beat. He was being pursued by Weston Forsblad, and Coby Jacobus and myself. I was not going to try to challenge any of these guys so I just maintained my tempo through the first mile (which had a little incline but was very flat to downhill) and hit the mile at 5:36. I had a suspicion that I wasn't going to be passed by anyone so I just tried to relax through to 2 miles which was more of the same (flat with some downhill). I went through 2 miles in 11:26 and that was the last split I got until the finish. Mile 3 was quick with more downhill and flat sections but the finish was a repeat of the first 1/4 mile and was all uphill to the line. I finished strong and was gaining on 3rd place. I managed to pass Coby Jacobus at about 200 yards from the finish and posted a time of 17:11. This was my kind of race - flat with nice downhill sections through quiet neighborhooods (not a car on the roads) and what I think is a short 5k. I will take it, however. It should be mentioned that the neighborhoods were aplenty with water and vocal support from all the residents.
Casey Carroll was the overall winner in 16:13.
2nd place was Weston Forsblad in 16:42.
Race results should be up on but not as of press time.

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