Winds of change greeted the runners lined up for the Resolution Beach 5k back on Saturday January 7th. Gone was the unforgiving headwind that stood runners up for the first and last half miles of the race, replaced by a tailwind (which unfortunately was a brutal headwind for the middle miles). Gone was the mostly clear, hard packed course, replaced by a snow-covered course with some additional wind-driven snow making visibility a little tough. Even the winner was different, swapping out the older Eric for a younger one.
Yep, Eric Lonergan seemingly picked up right where he left off last spring by easily winning the 2017 Off Rhode Racing 4th Season Trail Series opener. Eric’s 17:54 was a good 43 seconds up on runner up Steve Brightman. “Training has been going alright. Winter is always tough but it hasn’t been bad this season. The main goal is getting consistent again after a little bit of a break.”
Eric ran an 18:01 last year, so to come out and run faster in more trying conditions (as a front runner, too) is pretty impressive. “The last mile of that race is always tough. It was a little easier this year as the wind was at our backs coming down the home stretch. The best part this year, not having to attempt to chase you down.” Ah, surely he flatters me. Last year I might’ve caught him off guard, as I was rumored to have retired to the color run circuit (leading pace groups, no less). Nobody expected to see me competing! Without the element of surprise, it might’ve been a different story. This year Lonergan was out in front and left nothing in doubt for the later stages of the race.
“I always look at the trail series as a way to mix it up and have fun. The win is nice but, more importantly the Rhode Runner Men’s squad snagged the victory and the Women finished third!” The Rhode Runner squad is sure to take home a lot of loot from this year’s series.
Race newcomer Leslie O’Dell (you may have heard of her) didn’t let the inclement weather deter her from making the long drive. “This was my first time doing this race, and I was really excited about it. The last few years’ photos showed blue skies and clear trails. I apologize to Rhode Island for bringing that snow storm with me from NH. I think a lot of race director’s would have post-poned this one, but Mike Galoob is hardcore. I’m glad he kept it as is. It was definitely a good experience.”
Leslie was clear of her competition after the first mile and also won quite handily, with a final time of 20:55. O’Dell, the CMS runner who was competing for Six03 while wearing the Level Renner singlet, placed 14th overall. “The snow and wind were tough on the way north. Snow was stinging my eyes, and the wind was brutal. The trail was covered in snow from the previous storm, so it was slow-going on the way out. I thought my face was going to freeze off. When I came through the finish, I was told my face was covered in ice. I couldn’t even feel it because it was so numb.”
The frozen face didn’t keep O’Dell from achieving a new, ahem, Level of fame at this race. Whereas Eric Lonergan had just finished his tour as reigning cover subject at the 2016 edition, Leslie was about to begin her reign as Level Renner cover model. “I had no idea this win would bring me such fame and fortune. Now, I wish I had Eric Narcisi’s sunglasses back to help shield me from the paparazzi. Actually, I knew Scott Mason wanted a photo for the LVL cover, and I just happened to be wearing the LVL singlet in your honor while you’re in the boot. It all seemed to just fall into place.”
Cover jokes aside, it was all just a continuation of Leslie’s hot streak. All that time honing her speed on the indoor track is paying off in these short race. “I was super excited to start off 2017 with a win, especially in a shorter distance race. Training has been great as far as my longer distance runs, but the only speedwork I’ve done since September is the BU Mini Meet#2 so I’ll admit that my body went into a state of shock for this race.”
Next up is the Old Mountain 5k Trail Race on February 4th. For more, check out: