First off, the estimable Corrib Pub 5K turned 25 on June 3, marking a quarter-century of hills, suds and community outreach. Chronologically, this is more in line with race winner and current Pub Series leader Alex “Kid” Kramer, 26, than 2016 Pub Series champ TJ Unger, four days shy of his 40th. (On an unusually cool day right around 60˚ for what’s usually a broiler with a noon start.)
Yet this was the duo still duking it out on LaGr nge St. with Kramer just able to edge ahead in 15:54 to Unger’s 15:56. (Photo: Kramer & Unger headed uphill on the far end of Billings Field. Photo by MickFoto/NERunner)
“He ran a really tough race and I wasn’t expecting that based on the first two races,” said Kramer, who himself had placed 2nd at both Doyle’s and Liam’s. “I didn’t want to place second again, I felt fairly confident nearing the finish that I had another gear.”
“Do they do age-grading here?” wondered HFC’s Unger. “Actually, this was my best time on the course. I gave it all I had.”
HFC’s Stephen Curley, 26, had a very strong showing to take third in 16:09. “That’s the best place I’ve gotten in a Pub Series race so far,” said Curley, who made the wise decision to drop out of Boston this year when he could no longer feel his hands. (Photo: HFC’s Stephen Curley, Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner)
With defending women’s champ Amanda Watters running the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont, the door was wide open and striding to the fore was 52 year-old wunderkind Holly Madden-Merrill in 19:31.
“I feel like I’m getting a bit faster every race,” said Madden-Merill. “I didn’t feel good about my chances until three miles. I knew the girl from the B.A.A. (Kristin Shaw) was back there and I felt like I had a target on my back and she’d blow by at some point.”
A W50 course record? Who knows, there were no mile markers on the course and no course records have ever been compiled. Beverage there was plenty of, from water stops to brew and don’t forget the BBQ so it’s tough to register a mote of complaint. Then there’s all the $$$ raised by the Charitable Trust over the years…and the real star of the show, expansive Billings Field. (Photo: Holly Madden-Merrill, Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner)
So we’ll carve out some time to do some record keeping as we’ve got 25 years worth of mags with Corrib results. In the meantime, a happy 31st birthday to Madden’s Whirlaway teammate, Heather Spinney, who clocked in second at 20:06. Heather passed the B.A.A.’s Kristin Shaw near what she believes is the end of the first mile (it’s still flat here).
Shaw would clinch third in 20:15, 5-seconds ahead of Whirlaway’s Katrina Martin, 26. (Photo: Runner-up Heather Spinney, photo by FitzFoto/NERunner)
A few days after hitting the Big 5-0, HFC’s Eileen Cakouros ran 20:50 to head up the division as Madden-Merrill is firmly ensconced among the top-5 $ winners at the moment.
Other true-blue Publicans swept the various age divisions starting with SRR strongman Greg Picklesimer M50 in 16:50 for 6th overall out of 2,000 finishers;
M60 Titan Dave Wessman of TIR in 19:58 placed 2nd (while heading the Pub Series) in a moral victory as he was only 40 seconds behind M60 winner and last year’s champ John Barbour of Greater Lowell (who lives right across from Billings Field!); defending champ Dave Pember, 75, took M70 honors in 25:50. In M80 action, NE-65 + ace Bill Riley ran 27:22 ahead of crowd favorite Larry Cole of the CCAC.
With Cakouros having vacated the W40 age-group, the Liberty AC’s Jennifer Stewart, 48, has taken over with a scamper of 22:07 (and coached by the estimable Mr. Barbour); Ocean Stater Marge Bellisle and the GBTC’s Claire McManus are 1-2 in the W60 Pub rankings and duplicated that order at the Corrib in 21:46 and 22:48. W70 is the sole province of world-beater Jan Holmquist, 74, of Whirlaway, who ran 24:29 (7:53 pace). (Photo: TIR’s Dave Wessman, photo by MickFoto/NERunner)
Next up, and shortly on Sunday, June 24, is the BHZ 5K out of the Barrel House Z Brewery in Weymouth on the South Shore. Two free craft brews (Sunny & 79 or Bamboozled IPA), two bands and outside grassy areas (in an industrial zone no less) await. Website HERE – Register HERE