Jim and I headed out to run the last section of the course (Hicks Hill) to check conditions and course markings while we still had some daylight. After summiting up and over the hill we decided to run the entire course (backwards) since we had plenty of time and Jim likes to get his gazillion miles in anyways.
Oh, did I mention this was a night race. I did this race last year and it was one of my favorite races of the year. I was really looking forward to running it again. Surprisingly, this is the ONLY snowshoe race I've run this year that is exactly the same course as last year. Last year I was 5th out of 88 and ran 27:42.
As usual, Jim told me how he was going to take it easy, blah blah blah. Of course I said pretty much the same thing. We were both running the Jones Group 10-miler the next day so the smart thing would be to take it easy. Unfortunately that's not the way I run. I guess I can't help myself.
Deb (along with Ben and Jessica) positioned themselves about 100yds from the starting line and managed to get some interesting night video. Actually, the audio may be more interesting, at least it was for my kids (note their commentary).
The start was very narrow, maybe 4-5 wide tops. With a 107 snowshoers it meant they were stacked pretty deep. I settled in behind Josh Merlis and waited for the start command. It was a VERY fast start with about 5-6 shoers jumping out in front and me just trying not to trip, following comfortably behind (my favorite spot). Shortly after the first turn I slipped by Chris Smith and Scotty G and found myself all alone (or so I thought). Heck, Bob Jackman and Jim Johnson were nearly out of sight by the 2k mark.
Then I spotted what looked like a runner without a headlamp. WTF? As I got closer I realized it was Josh but he must have had the worst headlamp ever and I don't believe the light even reached the snow. I got up on his heels and adjusted my light to shine a little more in front, trying to give him something to see (especially at the turns). We stayed in this position all the way to about the 4k mark (except for one brief section in which I lead for about 100yds). Around the 4k mark (on one of the switchbacks) Josh missed a sharp turn and headed into the woods. I yelled, ran past him and never looked back. Heck, if I had looked I probably wouldn't have seen him anyways. I figured he was right behind me but I hoped I could put some distance on him on the downhills since he was running nearly blind. Hey, I'll take whatever advantage I'm given!
As I came across the finish I was told I got 2nd place with a time of 25:18 (nearly 2 1/2 min improvement over last year). Huh? What the heck happened to Bob Jackman? I didn't recall seeing or passing him. Very strange. Of course then I was told what happened to Bob. Bad luck Bob got tackled by a dog somewhere along the course and in the process had his snowshoe knocked off as well. Now that's the story he's telling anyways, I don't recall seeing any dogs either :-)
Splits for the night:
Danny Ferreira was able to nose out Josh Merlis for 3rd with Bob 'the dogman' Jackman rounding out the top 5. The top 20 are listed below (with my team mates highlighted in RED)
Place Time Pace Pts Name Team Age Sex Bib City StThese snowshoe races have been really cool. Almost all runners stick around afterwords for awards, the infamous Chris Dunn Raffles or just to socialize. Road races tend to be 'run and done'. Of course it helps to have an indoor facility (thanks Madbury for the use of your town hall).
===== ======= ===== ==== ====================== ========================= === === === ==================
1 22:36 7:16 107 Jim Johnson CMS 31 M 115 Salem NH
2 25:18 8:08 106 Steve Wolfe acidotic RACING 44 M 36 Merrimack NH
3 25:50 8:19 105 Dan Ferreira acidotic RACING 26 M 87 Concord NH
4 25:51 8:19 104 Josh Merlis ALBANY RUNNING EXCHANGE 27 M 34 Albany NY
5 25:53 8:20 103 Robert Jackman TUESDAY NIGHT TURTLES 26 M 113 Warwick RI
6 26:40 8:35 102 Ri Fahnestock acidotic RACING 30 M 55 Dover NH
7 27:08 8:44 101 Warren MacPhail DUNGEON ROCK RACING 42 M 47 Winthrop MA
8 27:11 8:45 100 Shane Sherwood Dungeon Rock Racing 36 M 91 Winthrop MA
9 27:13 8:45 99 Leslie Dillon acidotic RACING 25 F 56 Troy NY
10 27:20 8:48 98 Patrick Smith DUNGEON ROCK RACING 46 M 43 Salem MA
11 27:23 8:49 97 Jay Myers acidotic RACING 38 M 7 Dover NH
12 27:36 8:53 96 Luke Fernandez Team TNT 22 M 122 Kennebunk ME
13 27:48 8:57 95 Chris Smith DUNGEON ROCK RACING 42 M 110 Woburn MA
14 28:15 9:05 94 Dan Cooper DUNGEON ROCK RACING 36 M 42 Salem MA
15 28:31 9:11 93 Scott Graham acidotic RACING 50 M 100 Westford MA
16 28:40 9:13 92 Danny Chick DUNGEON ROCK RACING 49 M 63 Lynn MA
17 28:45 9:15 91 Austin Stonebraker acidotic RACING 29 M 84 Dover NH
18 28:47 9:15 90 Jay Curry DUNGEON ROCK RACING 37 M 45 Lynn MA
19 29:19 9:26 89 Ted Hall acidotic RACING 35 M 58 Merrimack NH
20 29:20 9:26 88 Elizabeth Hall acidotic RACING 35 F 59 Merrimack NH
I got my first podium win too (although I've been second twice before, I've never actually stood on a podium). I think my kids thought it was cool as well. I also picked up a 12-pack of Copper Hook for my effort. In my house this is equivalent to winning 'Beer for 2 years'....I'm a slow drinker :-)
I managed to finally beat Jim Johnson at something: I won a Redhook hat in the raffle and he scored a goose egg. Keep training Jim, you'll get better at the raffles next year.