Congratulations to the Somerville Road Runners for staging a fantastic launch to the “shock & awe” 2009 NER Pub Series this past Sunday (March 22) at the Asgard Restaurant, down the road from Harvard Square.
That’s Cambridge, MA not Cambridge, England, Mr. Chris Teague. Yes, after two magnificent sorties and equally impressive “Crash & Burns” during the 4th race of both 2003 AND 2004, the lad from Liverpool is back as a mature fellow of 40 with a wife, kids (hello to Liam and Connor) and a ‘kitchen pass’ for the An R’as M’or 5K.
The fellow from blighty (as Irish Tom Hurley would say) was in fine form, placing 6th in 15:55 and as top Master. Two places up was the Cape’s Joe Navas, clocking 15:40. Joe has an equally frustrating history with the Series, having jumped in after Doyle’s in 2007, winning the “Trail to Ale” 10K in Portland, ME (among others) before realizing his point total would never catch the leaders. So Joe made it to Doyle’s in 2008 and led the Pub Series before rolling his ankle a week before the second race.
Is this the year for one of these wounded ducks?
Or is it 2008 runner-up Lee Danforth of the Hurtin’ For Certain Striders turn to shine? Lee ran a PR 16:11 for 9th overall. Mike McGrane, the bronze medalist from 2008, worked the adidas tent before placing 14th in 16:32, three seconds ahead of reigning and two-time defending champion Terry McNatt. There’s a touch of grey to McNatt’s previously all-blond mane, but this fox knows how to hunt.
Gadzooks, Lara Johnson ran a PR 17:31 to separate herself by a point from 2005 & 2008 Pub Queen Mimi Fallon, 43. Johnson’s elders quickly closed ranks, “17:30! Look at her, she’s just a kid, what’s she, like 25.” Eaaasy ladies, young Lara is actually 27 and ready for a run at the top after competing in one Pub Series race last year ÛÓ the Pat Polletta 5KÛÓwhere she led for two miles before being passed by Ms. Fallon (18:28 at 43 while training for Boston ain’t too shabby either).
Meredith Leenhout could add further drama to the festivities if she sticks to the Series. A recent convert to NER, the 22 year-old former Hockomock League champion and Yalie, garnered 46 points (out of 50) via her 5th place showing.
Amazingly, this was just four places ahead of 53 year-old superstar Marge Bellisle of Warren, RI. The veteran of the absolutely dominant “Fitzy’s Frisky Felines” Cape Cod Relay squad promises that this is the year she’s focused on the Pub Series.
There’s some new “Team Fabulous” faces to remember and a “Hello again!” to the Nutmeggers, Carol and Caroline Smith of Bethel, CT, who’ll be competing against last year’s “Golden Gas Guzzlers” award winners Patty and Tom Foltz of Stowe, VT (the Foltz’s received a $50 gas card at the Doyle’s Awards night in 2008).
Ma Smith (Carol) has also entered a new age category and currently resides 5th among female Veterans.
With many of the top runners at An Ra’s Mo’r probably running the nearby Doyle’s Emerald Necklace 5M, the wheat will be separated from the chaff down the Cape at the Series’ third race ÛÓ the Irish Village 5M. (See Pub Series Schedule & Manifesto)
The toughest division that can be looked at with some certainty is the men’s Veteran category consisting of point-earner’s Gordon MacFarland (the 2008 champ), Dave Cobb, Thomas O’Donaghue (who ran 21:37 but was beaten by his 11 year-old son), Dave Pember (“I beat Drugan today!”), Iron Joe Drugan and Stowe, VT’s Tom Foltz, whose wife, Patty, ran 22:08 at age 60.
Special thanks to RD Joe O’Leary of SRR, who also ran and placed 18th in 16:45, good for 3rd Master in the Series. Also to tent carrier and beer pourer extraordinaire Tom Haggerty, a former SRR prez whose wife, Heather, took to the field of honor while Tom remained stolid in his courtyard post, refusing to panic even when a tap (to one of the 7 kegs of BBC Steel Rail Ale) broke to a collective moan (it was replaced after a quick run to the Asgard).
I’d personally like to thank all the cheerful women who exchanged brief pleasantries on the course before passing yours truly and situating themselves between myself and Bobby Bell RD Dave “Icky” LaBrode’s backside (it was momentary but blessed belief). So a tip of the hat to Sue McNatt, Christine Bradley and Kim O’Connor (nee Lesage).
Also to Jimmy Fallon, who missed his train and kept us at the Asgard until 7:00 pm. And finally, kudos to Chris Spinney who decided, post-dinner, to buy 20 lbs. of chicken wings (they were 10 cents a piece through a special Asgardian deal).
Hard to believe, but less than two weeks until we do it all over again at Doyle’s. Bon Apetit!