After 43 years of staging a 12K/5K combo during the third week in May, the Bedford Rotary did a ‘360’ this year and staged a trail 5K/2K on Thursday evening, August 23.
The 12K had been a USATF-NE GP selection over the years and the numbers would always jump, but that designation hadn’t been awarded in recent memory. Last year the 12K drew 100 finishers and the 5K 121.
The recent trail 5K/2K saw 506 entrants and 444 finishers with 350 in the 5K and an additional 94 in the 2K. RD Steve Delahunty pointed out early-on that applications were coming in at a rate where they’d have to look at capping the affair at 500 runners.
The races were held at Legacy Park in Bedford and run over the Legacy Park xc ski trails. Large tents were set up in the park and for $20 there was free food (gourmet burgers, pasta) and free entry into the mead, craft beer, and wine tasting held on the grounds.
For Greater Lowell’s Kara Haas, 47, this was a bit of déjà vu. “This was my home base. I went to St. Anselms and we’d run everywhere, New Boston road for our long runs, over the trails here, everywhere.”
With bone on bone hip maladies, Haas basically does all her running on trails now and the speedster posed a threat to the overall men’s field.
“She had the lead for about 800 meters,” revealed eventual winner Dan Zube, 35, of Hudson. “I talked to her afterward and I guess she knew the course pretty well.”
Haas gave a momentary thought to following the 2K at the literal fork in the road. Runners had the option of waiting to decide which race to run before crossing one of two timing mats set up at the juncture.
Zube would win handily in 21:04 after breaking it open on the hilly second half of the course. “That was fun,” he said. All the ups and downs were pretty cool. I like a course like that. I really like to open it up on the downhills.”
The Bedford duo of Mike Geraldi, 19, and Billy Asbell, 26, placed 2-3 with Haas fourth to emerge from the woods to a corridor of lit Tiki torches leading to the finish. Her time was 21:55.
Bedford HS ski team ace Abigail Vikstrom, 18, placed second in 23:34 with future star Stephanie Svendsen, 11, copping bronze in 24:55. (Right: Race Winner Dan Zube.) Results HERE