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Canada’s Hannah, UK’s Goose Win Mayor’s Cup XC

RACHEL HANNAH, MITCH GOOSE WIN B.A.A. MAYOR’S CUP CROSS COUNTRY
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom

(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

BOSTON
(26-Oct) — Canada’s Rachel Hannah and Great Britain’s Mitch Goose won
the 24th Mayor’s Cup Cross Country meet presented by the B.A.A. here in
Franklin Park under gray skies, earning $600 a piece. Hannah took the
women’s 5-K crown in 16:37, while Goose claimed victory in the men’s
8-K with a time of 23:46.

As the women’s race began, all eyes
were on Team New Balance’s Abbey D’Agostino, making her professional
racing debut in her home state. The 2013 NCAA Cross Country Champion
proudly sported her new New Balance kit, racing up front through the
mile in 5:17. Joining her were Hannah, as well as the Boston Athletic
Association’s Juliet Bottorff, Jen Rhines, Sarah Pagano, and Elaina
Balouris.

Rounding White Stadium and entering the Bearcage Hill
loop, it was Hannah making a somewhat surprising move. Although she has
represented Canada on the world stage at last year’s IAAF World Cross
Country Championships, a majority of the spectators gathered at
Franklin Park were surprised to see Hannah –and not D’Agostino–
emerge from the downhill out front. One could hear fans asking fellow
spectators “Do you recognize her? Any idea who she is?”

“I had
that second gear after about a mile and picked it up,” Hannah, 28,
later told reporters. “I haven’t actually been to Boston before and
this is my first time.”

Through two miles in 10:40, Hannah had
two steps on D’Agostino. Confident in her abilities, Hannah remained
stoic at the head of the field, running smoothly despite the windy
conditions.

“I just felt really strong coming in here,” said
Hannah. “I felt like I had a lot in there so if someone was real close
to me I’d be able to pick it up.”

Widening her lead in the
final kilometer, Hannah would go on to win in 16:37. She’d tell
reporters that the victory was meaningful considering she had heard
lots about this cross country meeting, which lists past champions like
Lynn Jennings and Kim Smith.

“It’s huge! It’s a huge honor and
I’m really, really happy,” said Hannah. “It’s quite an honor to win
here… I’ve heard about this race and have been running for a long
time, and wanted to come find a competitive race to start off my cross
country season.”

Hannah will now focus on the Ontario Cross
Country Championships; her ultimate goal is to represent Canada again
at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and eventually at the
Pan-Am Games and IAAF World Outdoor Championships next year.

Behind
Hannah, the B.A.A.’s Bottorff and Rhines (40) would catch and pass
D’Agostino for second and third positions, respectively, timing 16:47
and 16:48. D’Agostino was fourth in 16:48, a satisfactory debut
according to the Dartmouth College graduate.

“I’ve been kind of
surprised a little bit at how [the transition from college to
professional] has gone,” said D’Agostino, speaking softly but honestly.
“It’s hard. It’s a hard feeling.”

The B.A.A. would put three more athletes in the top ten, solidifying an easy team win with 15 points.

“As
a team we surpassed our goal and we all stayed together for a good
portion of the race, which was an awesome feeling because we kept
hearing people cheer for the B.A.A.,” said Katie Matthews, eighth in
17:02.

“It was definitely a hometown advantage,” added Pagano, who was fifth in 16:53.

On the men’s side, Mitch Goose returned to Boston hoping to improve upon his third place finish from 2013.

Racing
conservatively through the opening miles, Goose kept his eyes on ZAP
Fitness’s John Simons, an athlete he’d raced in college and one whom he
thought would be a key factor in the race’s development. By three
miles, though, Goose felt as if it was his time to go. Surging and
going by Reebok’s Bobby Mack, Goose took the pole and would not look
back.

“I started to make a move. I was going to wait until four
[miles], but I felt really comfortable and was like ‘I’ll see what
these guys are made of,'” said Goose, who graduated from Iona College
and now is a volunteer assistant coach at his alma matter. “I broke
away fairly steadily and I just tried to maintain. I felt pretty
comfortable.”

Goose broke the tape first in 23:46. On his vest
was a hand-drawn logo for the recently formed club called The Manhattan
Project, which features a few former Iona student-athletes. The logo is
that of a atom.

“It was lovely and it was good to come out here as a team,” said Goose. “There were some really fast guys in that race.”

Mack would finish second in 23:50, with the B.A.A.’s Ethan Shaw ten seconds adrift in third.

Shaw
would help the B.A.A. sweep the team titles, as the host squad scored
30 points. Second in the team standings was The Manhattan Project with
58.

PHOTO: Canada’s Rachel Hannah on her way to victory at
the 2014 Mayor’s Cup Cross Country in Boston

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