1. My first race ever (I haven't missed one since!), and possibly the day I really started to enjoy running as more than just part of my overall fitness. It's so much more than that now...
2. It's put on by a great family, who lost a great kid, but turned a tragedy into a celebration of her life and a way to help others achieve their dreams. Kerri would be proud!
3. It's local! 30 minutes away, around the corner from one of my favorite surf breaks, and I have lots of friends who run the race!
4. One of the most popular races in Rhode Island, the Run4Kerri draws hundreds of runners, including some world-class elite runners (Hey! They're just like us! Just way faster!!!)
5. My rivalry with friend and TNT troublemaker George Ross, who talks as much shit as me and backs it up just a bit better...but more on that later;
6. It's an odd distance. Not 5k, not 10k, but 4 miles. And always hot!
7. It's also a good midsummer gauge of my fitness, before the weather starts to turn cooler (I hope!) and the long distance stuff of Fall begins to loom...
8. Probably more, but you get the idea! It's my favorite race. They know my name at packet pickup, and I'm still hoping for a bib one year that says "CRUTCH" (Ha!)
But I digress. Sunday morning I woke up, quietly gathered my things, made coffee, got ready to go, and...couldn't find my wallet. Shit. All my prep was shot, and I scrambled around the house looking for it, even waking Lori to see if maybe she hid it as a joke (she didn't). After 20 minutes of upturning everything, I finally found it under a pillow in the bedroom. Blaming the cats.
As with every year, I drive to Matunuck and there's a cool, refreshing breeze blowing, and I think "Wow, this is gonna be a great run! Nice and cool!" (And I'm always wrong.)
In the 45 minutes I had to spare, I managed to say hello to 50+ people, pick up my race bib, and run a warmup with "frenemy" George and a few of his peeps. Good stuff checking out the back end of the course as the temps suddenly rocketed upwards. Gonna be another hot one. There is, I will say, very little shade on the 4-mile course. It gets hot, and we all suffer together.
It's pretty cool seeing hundreds of runners squeeze into a small country side street for a race like this. I chatted briefly with a few folks, wished George luck, and we were off! George went out ahead of me and I fell in about 50 yards behind him. His pace basically mirrored what I was feeling for effort, and I stayed close but didn't close the gap. Or couldn't. We're damn close as far as road pace, and I just couldn't get closer...until the water stop at mile 3, top of the one small hill on the course. Caught him. Should have skipped the stop but I was dying at that point. So was George. We both stopped to get water, and I remarked "I think you've got me on this one..."
The finish was about what I expected: slightly slower than my course PR, and I gained on George right to the end, but he had me by three seconds! Close! The NET time was 0.08 seconds difference, holy crap! This was the "race within the race" that we were hoping for, and it didn't disappoint...
Close, but not quite...3 second difference! Photo by Scott Mason.
So my results were 29:36 for 4 miles, and I was 75th of nearly 400 runners? WTAC did really well, and Matthew cruised to 8th place overall in a stacked field. Jeff W. won his age group and Jeff V. came in 2nd.
Spent a bunch of time after the race chatting with friends, frenemies and total strangers, some really fast people and some first-time racers. I even won an award at the raffle! Three really nice technical t-shirts. Oh, and a finishers' medal? Why not!
After the awards, a bunch of us (mostly Turtles, myself, an NRA person or two, and NH 603 runner Leslie) headed over to the Mews Tavern for lunch and beers (they have 69 on tap), and post-race nonsense. I bought George a beer for his well-earned win. What a great time!!! I also finally got to try Tendril IPA from the Proclamation Ale Company out of West Kingston, RI - another great beer being brewed right here in Southern New England!
As always, I can't say enough about the Bessette family and the race they've put together. It's a great time in a pretty cool little beach town, and draws some great runners from all over. 8 years in a row for me! I'll call this one my "legacy" race, as it was a given from the first one that I'd never miss it. Until next year!