Retro May – NER Pub Series Race #2 – Liam Maguire’s Almost 5-Miler

(From the July/Aug 2019 issue of NER. Results are at bottom)



Another Men’s Record Set at Liam Maguire’s Almost 5-Miler


The New England RunnerPuddle Series found a welcome companion in soggy Falmouth on May 5 for the 5th annual Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub Almost 5-Miler (4.9167). Steady light morning rain would intensify a tad during the race and more so after—never a soaker, always annoying.


HFC Strider Stephen Curley (inside) sets a fast opening pace for former collegiate rivals Austin Scott (middle) and Luke O’Connor. Photos by FitzFoto/NERunner


This did little to dampen the heated competition that in previous Pub outings saw former Brookline HS standout David Wilson set the course record of 25:46 in 2017…dropped by a full 14 seconds in 2018 by former American Int’l College speedster Nick Green.


This year’s sortie out of Falmouth Town Square lit out fast once again, courtesy of soon-to-be 1:10 half marathoner Stephen Curley, 26, of the Hurtin’ For Certain Striders. As the runners gained Surf Drive, Curley had fast company in Doyle’s champion Lucas O’Connor, 24, of Tracksmith Hare, along with former WPI ace Austin Scott, 23.


Pounding the puddles not far behind were three-time Pub champion TJ Unger, 40, of HFC and the Falmouth TC’s Michael Stone, 32, winner of the West Island 5K the week prior.


The race moved inland before returning to Surf Drive and another soiree by Vineyard Sound before the final push into town. Former Tufts multi-All American O’Connor now had a 30m lead over Scott en route to breaking the tape in 25:31—2 ticks under Green’s record from the year before.


“Luke is a strong runner so I knew what to expect,” said Scott. “We were in the same class in college so we’ve run against each other before. There was never a big move made, it was just what pace you could hold and that thinned things out after two miles.”


“Coming back along the water I never knew I had a lead,” revealed O’Connor. “I thought Austin was right behind me. Honestly, it felt like a strong pace from the start so I certainly wasn’t thinking of attempting any type of move, it was more trying to hold the pace as it was.”


Unger would come on to clip Curley—26:04 to 26:10—with Stone fifth in 26:20.


Open prize money extended $299-$224-$149 with the “almost” theme accounting for $299 as opposed to $300, etc. There was also prize money in the Master & Senior divisions with club competition as well (almost a case of Guinness to the victors!).


In full disclosure, if NER had to go with an over/under on the men or women’s course record being broken here, our theoretical cash would have landed on the distaff side of the ledger—this despite the fact former Cornell ace Rachel Shilkowsky (nee Sorna) had scorched the course in 27:29 (5:35 pace) two years ago.


Cruising Liam’s at 5:43 pace, women’s winner Holly Rees is accompanied by Pubster Aaron Ladd of Ashland in the race’s final mile.


Scottish sensation Holly Rees of the Battle Road TC was in the field. Rees was NER’s Female Runner of the Year in 2017, a year before she won the New Bedford Half Marathon (over Shilkowsky) in 1:14:06 (5:39) pace. Add a 10K best of 33:13, and well…


Post-race at Liam Maguires, race winners Holly Rees and Luke O’Connor are next to have their names engraved on the Liam’s Trophy.


Rees would place 13th overall in the highly charged field, her time of 28:14 putting her almost two-minutes ahead of the women’s field but outside of the women’s record. She was nonetheless thrilled with her race and for good reason.


“I was injured this past winter and this is my first race in 7-months,” explained the Cambridge & Coleridge club member out of County Cambridgeshire in East Scotland (when on the other side of the pond).


“I was really excited before the race because I felt I was finally past the injury. I’d hoped to get into a pace and then maintain it, and that’s what happened so I’m really happy with the outcome.”


Liam Maguire’s Almost 5-Miler women’s runner-up Jen MacDowell is bookended by Whirlaway teammates Paul Hammond (3) and Ken Warren as the course moves inland during the second mile.


Former Colby runner Jen McDowell, 32, of Falmouth, copped second in 30:12 with Senior Sensation Kim Ionta, 55, of the Marshfield RR, in third at 30:53 over Doyle’s women’s champion Christina Campbell, 37, of HFC, in 31:02 (placing the pair in a tie for Pub Supremacy). Tracksmith Hare’s Rita Donahue, 24, placed 5th in 31:22, followed by 2017 Pub champion Amanda Watters, 39, of the BAA, in 31:27.


From Falmouth’s restaurants to its roads, Whirlaway teammates Heather Spinney (222) and Katrina Martyn kept competitive company.


Particular attention was paid to the 5-6 combatants—Whirlaway teammates Heather Spinney, 31, and Katrina Martyn, 26. Participants in the previous evening’s “pre-race party” that moved from Liam’s to a Greek Restaurant on Falmouth’s Main St., you would think that “Blue Mule” Spinney might have handicapped herself against “H2O” Martyn, but Spinney employed her marathon training strength the following day to catch and then just hold off Martin by two ticks in 31:59 (Spinney would run her debut marathon at Vermont City at the end of the month and log a Boston qualifying time of 3:15:12. Congrats Blue Mule!).


Post post-race at Bird Manor, Paul Hammond makes short work of the piñata (is that a nip of schnapps among the kit kats?).


As usual, following the awards ceremony at Liam’s, the post-noon procession moved to Bird Manor overlooking an estuary leading to the Atlantic. A battalion of tents kept the raindrops at bay, especially in the inflatable pub where live band Retro Roots played Hendrix, Allman Bothers, and assorted classics that an extremely talented trio of high schoolers had grown up hearing their parents listen to.


“Yah, well I saw her when…” is very much a likelihood for bassist and lead singer Janey Rego. Rego’s father was in attendance as a chaperone, required whenever the group plays where adult beverages are served. We’re hoping the group hits it big soon as the second part of “Yah, well I saw her when”…is…”she played in an inflatable pub at Bird Manor.”

—Bob Fitzgerald


5th Annual Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub Almost 5M (4.9167) NER Pub Series Race No. 2, Falmouth, May 5

254 Finishers – Timing by: RaceWire – Organized by: PCB Race Management – Course measured at 4.9167 miles – Course Records:Luke O’Connor, 25:31, 2019; Rachel Schilkowsky, 27:29, 2017. Masters: Greg Picklesimer, 25:55, 2015; Kara Haas, 29:17, 2016. Seniors: Greg Picklesimer, 26:58, 2018; Mimi Fallon, 30:12, 20:16. Veterans: Dave Wessman, 31:04, 2015; Marge Bellisle, 34:49, 2017. (70+): Joe Noonan, 38:06, 2016; Jan Holmquist, 35:32, 2015

Men (Overall): 1. Luke O’Connor, 25:31 (CR:old record 25:33, Nick Green, 2018); 2. Austin Scott, 25:46; 3. T. J. Unger, 26:04; 4. Stephen Curley, 26:10; 5. Michael Stone, 26:20; 6. Scott Vandermolen, 26:39; 7. Dan Mortimer, 27:07; 8. Patrick Bugbee, 27:13; 9. Chris Klucznik, 27:29; 10. Ryan Moran, 28:04; 11. Aaron Ladd, 28:10; 12. Jason Cakouros, 28:11; 13. Kevin Delaney, 29:30; 14. Scott Grandfield, 29:35; 15. Mike McGrane, 29:59. Masters: 1. T. J. Unger, 26:04; 2. Mike McGrane, 29:59; 3. Mike Norton, 30:41; 4. Eric Wheeler, 31:20; 5. Brian Auger, 31:55. Seniors:1. Jason Cakouros, 28:11; 2. Kevin Delaney, 29:30; 3. Scott Grandfield, 29:35; 4. Joe O’Leary, 30:04; 5. Terry McNatt, 30:07. Veterans: 1. Dave Wessman, 32:53; 2. Peter Danzell, 33:09; 3. Ed Murphy, 34:20; 4. Ken O’Brien, 36:36; 5. Paul Corcoran, 36:45. (70-79): 1. Fred Ross III, VT, 38:36; 2. Dave Pember, 42:25; 3. Rich Paulsen, 43:27; 4. Denny LeBlanc, 43:28; 5. Joe Noonan, 44:26. (80+):1. Bill Riley, 45:54; 2. Bill Masterson, 1:03:19; 3. Larry Cole, 1:03:39.

Women (Overall): 1. Holly Rees, 28:14; 2. Jen MacDowell, 30:12; 3. Kim Ionta, 30:53; 4. Christina Campbell, 31:02; 5. Rita Donohue, 31:22; 6. Amanda Watters, 31:27; 7. Heather Spinney, 31:57; 8. Katrina Martyn, 31:59; 9. Emily Stone, 32:01; 10. Julianna Coughlin, 32:21; 11. Eileen Cakouros, 34:28; 12. Marge Bellisle, RI, 35:41; 13. Allyson Manchester, 35:47; 14. Liz Bugbee, 36:20; 15. Mary McNulty, 36:37. Masters: 1. Jen Hardigan, 38:27; 2. Rebecca Doherty, 38:55; 3. Carla Colcord, 40:32; 4. Marie Kearns, 40:37; 5. Kara Foley, 42:16. Seniors: 1. Kim Ionta, 30:53; 2. Eileen Cakouros, 34:28; 3. Mary McNulty, 36:37; 4. Joanne Jack, 39:06; 5. Gretchen Wilson, 39:28. Veterans:1. Marge Bellisle, RI, 35:41; 2. Deb Lynch, 43:54; 3. Mary Dalton-Hoffman, 44:32; 4. Janet Vacon, 44:34; 5. Mary Tolland, 44:35. (70-79): 1. Barbara Vinall, 53:41; 2. Madeleine Marken, 56:25; 3. Mary Tyler, 1:12:10. (80+):1. Annemarie McDonald, 1:15:58.








MA-smLiamsHammondPinata.jpg: NOTE: Keep piñata to the left:Post post-race at Bird Manor, Paul Hammond makes short work of the piñata (is that a nip of schnapps among the kit kats?).

Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner



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