Franklin Park Meet Durgin Park, 15 Year-Old Phenom, Unicorn Ecstasy & More from Mayor’s Cup XC

(All photos by FitzFoto/NERunner)

You would think all the rain preceding the Mayor’s Cup panoply of races at Franklin Park on Sunday, Oct. 21 would make for some great photo ops (read mud) but it all dried out pretty quickly and footing was good right through the Wilderness Loop with the only bit of slog by White Stadium.


Good enough, as former Maine HS star Emily Durgin, 24, was looking for a speed burner as she readies for the US 5K Championships in Central Park in 2-weeks.


Hence, a 5:07 opening mile. “I definitely wanted to run the first mile hard because I know in two weeks it’ll go out hard, probably 5-flat for the first mile,” Said Durgin after completing the Women’s Championship 5K in 16:47.


“I wanted to see how I’d hold up after a hard first mile. I slowed a bit with the wind, and with no one around me, so thank goodness for the lead bicyclist,” laughed Durgin who ran collegiately at UConn and is now a professional runner with New Balance.


Behind the frontrunner, Mexican Olympian (Rio 10,000, 32nd in 32:39) Brenda Flores, 27, claimed second in 16:55 followed 4-ticks later by NE Distance ace Katrina Spratford, 28, in 16:59.


Of special interest is 4th placer Sydney Masciarelli in 17:04. If you haven’t heard of her it’s because she’s only 15 years-old and a sophomore at Marianapolis prep school in Conn. Her coaches don’t exactly know what to sign her up for, they’ve never had this level of talent before.


Two weeks earlier, Masciarelli ran in the USATF-NE XC 5K tilt in Wayland against Open competition and won in a course record 17:47. She won’t be running New Englands (HS) but may run in the Nike Cross regionals with her school post-season.


(photo: Citizens’ 5K women’s winner Shea Newman)

While Masciarelli is 15, former BC soccer standout Shea Newman was younger still—9 to be exact—when the now 22 year-old won the girls 10-under division at Franklin Park. On this day, Newman would win the women’s division of the Citizen’s 5K in 19:41.


There were 166 finishers in the Citizen’s race and 390 in the three Youth 1.1-mile events, a growth event among the races as the elite races vacillate—with the women down from 58 to 43 finishers from last year, but the men up to 112 finishers from 97 in 2017. Both of these events are certainly of the elite level, as in the last male and female through the mile would win your regional road race going away.


Case in Point (and he wasn’t last through the mile, but still): The BAA’s Connor Reck, 25, who set a course record of 14:24 at the certified 3M Paddy’s Shillelagh Shuffle 3M the week before (Grand Finale of the NER Pub Series) finished 24th in the Men’s Championship 8K in 25:42.


The Men’s 8K race up front was ferocious with a ton of top tier talent, including members of the Ocean State AC, Tracksmith Hare, and 2015 winner Trevor Dunbar, who moved to the area in July, donned a B.A.A. singlet and provided the club with its first male winner in a decade (previously Jarred Shoemaker in 2005).


(Photo: Up front through a 4:43 opening mile—Louis Serafini of Tracksmith Hare, the BAA’s Trevor Dunbar and Matt Leach of Strava TC.)

Dunbar didn’t move to the front until completion of the final Wilderness Loop in the last mile.


“I wanted to make a small move and then see where everybody was,” said Dunbar. “I got a gap so then I surged again hoping to get away by Bear Cage, but at the top I could sense there was somebody there. All those guys are good and they were all working hard. I pushed off the top of Bear Cage knowing I still had a gear left.”


Dunbar closed the show in 23:53 (4:50 pace) and was hoisted aloft by the BU athletes he now coaches. “They were there cheering and pretty loud, it definitely gave me a boost.”


German native and recent Iona product Johannes Motschmann, 24, copped second in 23:55 with Ocean State AC’s Jordan Mann, 25, in third at 24-flat ahead of early leader Louis Serafini, 27, of Tracksmith Hare, in 24:08.

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