Friday evening, MQ and I decided to race in the Delta Dental 5k in Concord NH on the campus of New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI). This is the 3rd race of the Concord Area Race Series (CARS). Neither MQ nor I are involved in the series but felt it would be a good opportunity to race against some new people and see how fit we are.
As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, we bumped into Chris Mahoney (Whirlaway) and Heather Searles (Whirlaway) who had just returned from an extended trip to Ireland due to the volcano in Iceland. Both are CARS regulars. At the registration table, I bumped into Scotty Clarke (CMS) and soon after Rod Viens (CMS). We all gathered together for an easy 3 mile warmup over the course. The course is run over the campus of NHTI and offers a combination grass, trails and roads. Its pretty flat save for a couple of hills. One at the 3k mark and the other at about the 3.5k mark.
The conditions were cool and windy. Not ideal for fast times but not too bad either.
I wore my Innov8 230's which I got this week. I put myself at the front as the first 1/4 mile is winding and narrow. I wanted to get out without any incidents. Soon after the gun, I found myself in the top 10 as the lead runners went out pretty fast. MQ was near the front pack and Rod Viens and Scott Clarke (two masters who are battling for CARS points) were about 4-5 seconds ahead as we approached some trails that led us to some grass fields (soccer) which brought us out to the main road of the campus. The course was well marked as it offered both kilo markers and mile markers. The first markers were confusing because the 1k appeared long based on my split (3:40) and the split given at mile 1 was incorrect because it was announced as 5:04 and my watch read 5:21. At any rate, I was in about 12th place at the mile but was only 3-4 seconds behind Viens and Clarke. After the soccer field portion, the remainder of the course was on the roads of the campus. At about 2k, I passed 3 runners and ran directly behind the top 2 masters the entire race and was only separated by 4 seconds most of the time. At 3k there is a short little bump of a hill and I felt like I was gaining on them but on the downhill to the 2 mile mark, they seemed to pick it up a bit. I hit the duece in 11:04 (5:43 into the wind) and the course goes through a tunnel called the Root Canal (Delta Dental has an office within the campus). The tunnel brings you under the main road and then the course jumps back on the main road and brings you to the hill featured at mile 2. It was at this point when I figured I was running even with Scott and Rod and got an idea to get up even with them and make a race of it. The uphill was effortless and the downhill felt very good so I put in a hard surge and decided to pass the two of them. It was precisely at the 4k mark and I would hold them off the entire way in just barely holding off Scott. It required a great deal of a push to do so and I had to throw in a couple of hard surges to make sure they would not come back to me. My split at 3 miles was 16:20 (5:16) and the last .10 took 33 seconds. My finishing time was 16:54. Top in age group. Top master. CMS took the team title (Me, Rod and Sam Wood) MQ finished 4th in a PR 16:12. Another great effort from him as he was only 13 seconds from 2nd place.
Up front, UNH grad Scott McGrath won the men's division in a new course record, 15:49. On the women's side, Abby Gosling of Meredith ran 19:08.
Above picture taken from Concord Monitor shows the tight start.
Top photo also from Concord Monitor is of winner, Scott McGrath breaking the tape in a new course record.