Sança Makes Good on His Promise

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Racing

Ruben Sança, Cat Beck Picked Up Wins in the Feaster Five 5 mile race

More than 7,000 runners gathered in Andover, MA to continue a Thanksgiving Tradition. Raw, nasty weather greeted the early morning road warriors, among those numbers a couple of professional level runners. Ruben Sança (Whirlaway) was back in action, making good on a promise he made to the organizers last year. “Last year I had a great time at the Feaster Five and I promissed the race organizers that  I would return. In addition, with the race providing pies to all finishers, it is one less thing I have to worry about for Thanksgiving.”

The last time Ruben raced he unfortunately had to face a runner’s worst nightmare: injury in a target race. A hamstring injury derailed his Twin Cities Marathon when he forced to withdraw 17 miles in. It took Ruben a couple of weeks to get back to regular training and racing so soon again wasn’t exactly ideal. But Ruben had a promise to keep, and he wanted to test the leg and see how it would hold up. “The goal was to run a tempo type effort and leave the race feeling comfortable. I accomplished both goals and am happy where my fitness is going into the winter months.”

So, to answer your question, yes…a 25:13 is a tempo effort for Ruben Sança. The man will go out there run just a shade over five minute pace if it means he won’t have to fight the crowds at Market Basket to buy a pie later on. Runner up Stephen Polito ran well but his 25:44 was no match for Ruben that day.

In the time that’s passed since Ruben won in Andover, he also flew out to Macau, China to run the Macau Galaxy Entertainment Half Marathon as part of the Cape Verdean Olympic Delegation. Ruben ran a 1:08:19 and earned himself a giant paycheck for his second overall finish:


Back to action in Andover, Catherine Beck ran a 29:20 to win the women’s race (she placed 18th overall too). Although Cat runs for the Central Park Track Club, many runners around here might be familiar with her because she has family in the area and competes around here when she’s in town. Plus she’s been featured on a certain magnificent underground running website quite a bit.

A win doesn’t always make it a great day, and for Cat she luckily got the ‘W’ despite having a rough go of it. “Oiy, that was a rough one for me… I was really lucky to come away with the win cause I was giving it all I had! It was a bit disheartening to be over a minute behind where I was last year, especially as I stopped in last year’s race to tie my shoe!”

No shoe lace shenanigans this time around for Cat, for whom “training has been going well but it’s not coming together on race day.” Well it was still good enough for her to pick up her third win at this huge event. She previously had won it in 2010, 2012 and now 2014. A bout of the flu kept her from repeating in 2011. We think we see a pattern here… Smart money says she’s a lock to win it again in 2016, but you can never count her out for 2015 either.

USATF Club Cross Country Nationals are supposed to be next for Cat, but she’s taking it day by day for now.

In the 5k, Michael Carlone of Waltham, MA won the 5k in 16:04. Michael had a ten second advantage over second place Jeremy Solomon. Per usual, the field for the 5k was much bigger than the 5 miler (approx. 4900 runners vs the 2200 or so for the 5 miler). Usually the 5 miler seems to draw the bigger fish in the area, but this time around a big gun showed up on race day.

Anna Willard won the women’s race in 18:26. Yes, that Anna Willard. The professional Nike runner was 13th overall, and had a good gap on runner up Rachel Hilliard (19:12). But hey, it’s not everyday you go up against a pro. We weren’t able to get a comment from Anna in time to publish this, but were able to get confirmation from her.


Here are Anna’s responses to our inquiries:

What made you decide on this race?

I love doing turkey trots in the fall to give me a fitness benchmark, and to motivate me to work harder in tempo runs, which aren’t exactly my favorite workouts! My boyfriend owns Crossfit Merrimack in Lowell and I asked some of his athletes what was the most competitive race in the area and they recommended the Feaster 5.

How’s training been going and what type of effort was it for you?

Training has been going really well. I was injured for 4 months this summer with a hip injury so have been progressing a lot week by week this fall. This race was meant to be like a hard tempo. 5k is definitely not my specialty and I was hoping to run between 5:30-5:40 pace. The first massive hill killed my goal time when I went through mile 1 in 6:10, but managed to hit 5:41 and 5:33 after that so I am happy with where my fitness is overall.

What are you training for right now?

My current focus is on running a full indoor track season. I missed most of 2013 and 2014 with injury so I’m very excited to not only race, but to race in Boston 3-4 times. I will focus more on the 800m for indoors with the big races being Boston Indoor Games on Feb 7, and the US Indoor Champs on Feb 27-Mar 1, both held at the Reggie Lewis Center.

That hill in the first mile at the Feaster Five is no joke!

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