The NER Puddle Series splashed down in Falmouth on a dreary and desultory Sunday this May 5. The rain was constant but never of “soaker” proportions.
We had somewhat expected a new women’s record for the 4.9167-mile route with the inclusion of Scottish sensation Holly Rees of the Battle Road TC. That’s saying something as Rachel Shilkowsky had averaged 5:35 pace in 2017 to post up here in 27:29.
(Photo: Holly Rees and Aaron Ladd at 4-miles on Surf Drive. Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner
Last year Rees and Shilkowsky had dueled (at least through 7-miles) at the New Bedford Half Marathon before Rees won handily in 1:14:05.
So…but it was not to be as this was Rees’ first race in 7-months following injury.
“I was really excited for this race because I was no longer feeling the injury and everything went fine so I’m really happy,” said Rees who won $299 for her 1st place 28:14 showing.
Former Colby runner Jen MacDowell copped 2nd in 30:12 with Senior Sensation Kim Ionta, 55, of the Marshfield RR in 3rd at 30:53. HFC’s Christina Campbell—winner of Doyle’s where Ionta was 2nd—followed 9-seconds later, creating a tie at the top of the standings.
The BAA’s Amanda Watters and Tracksmith Hare’s Rita Donahue arrived next and are tied for 3rd in the Series.
Then there are Whirlaway whippets Heather “Blue Mule” Spinney and Katrina “H2O” Martin placing within 2-seconds of each other after the previous evening’s rousing celebration at Liam’s leading to a Greek Restaurant on Main St. in Falmouth and the “beverage” nicknames.
(Photo: Paul Hammond making short work of the pinatas in Courtney Bird’s backyard. Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner
No ties on the men’s side as former collegiate rivals Luke O’Connor, 25 (Tufts) and Austin Scott, 24 (WPI) fought through two miles before Tracksmith Hare’s O’Connor gained an advantage to win in a new course record time of 25:31—the previous mark of 25:33 was set by HFC’s Nick Green last year.
Scott followed in 25:46. The graybeard in the proceedings—3x Pub Series champion TJ Unger, 40—overtook HFC teammate Stephen Curley to post up 3rd overall in 26:04 with Curley 6-seconds back.
O’Connor rules the roost with 100 points after also winning Doyle’s with Curley in the silver position with 96 points with the “People’s Champion” 1 point back.
Owing to this race being a past Pub Series expedition there are some stiff course records…so despite placing 3rd TJ does not get the M40 record as Pickle Power ran 25:55 here as a Master; nor does women’s race runner-up Ionta get the W50 record as Mimi Fallon has run 30:12 here.
Liam’s age-group CR holders who won their division include M60 champ Dave Wessman, 64, of the Thirsty Irish Runners in 32:53 and Warren, RI’s Marge Bellisle, 63, in 35:41.
Following the post-race celebration at Liam’s a goodly contingent moved to Bird Manor on Sippewisset Road where a fantastic band – Retro Roots– played on stage in the inflatable pub. Just yards away there was plenty of smoked chicken and free-flowing libation.
Photo: Mile Juggling World Record Holder Zach Prescott of BU, winner of the 1st BHZ 5K. Photo by MickFoto/NERunner
There are a multitude of ties in the standings right now, but that will all change following Pub Series stop No. 3 as the wheat gets cut from the chafe with non-publicans having missed two races. The 2nd annual BHZ 5K takes place on June 23rd at the Barrel House Z Brewery in S. Weymouth on the South Shore. Race t-shirts are offered to all those signed up by Friday, June 7. Bamboozled IPA and Sunny & 79 are rumored to be the two free offerings. Light refreshment is available along with discounts at pop-ups Sarcastic Swine and Tasty Treats (ice cream). Pub Series Women’s Standings Pub Series Men’s Standings