Tag: mountain race

Gate City Takes Home 2nd Straight NH Grand Prix Win at Pack

By Mike Giberti

This past Sunday, the Pack Monadnock 10 Miler in Wilton, NH was the race to watch in the New England road racing scene. The event was both the 2nd installment of the USATF-NE Mountain Circuit and the 2nd race in the New Hampshire Grand Prix Series. Many of the top mountain runners made up the front of the field along with the NH Grand Prix series drawing members of the New Hampshire RRCA clubs to add to the depth.

Brandon Newbould (Whirlaway Racing Team) wound up the individual winner of the event with a time of 64’08” over runner-up Kevin Tilton who was about a minute and a half back. Now that doesn’t sound like a blazing fast 10 mile time, but when you figure in the fact that there was 1800 feet of elevation gain from start to finish and the last half of that gain being “Packed” (literally) into the last approximately two kilometers of the race, this is a very impressive finish. Brandon is also the coach of the Greater Derry Track Club team that placed second in the NH Grand Prix team standings.

The top masters for men was Todd Callaghan, who took his second straight masters mountain race title along with double teaming for the Gate City Striders and netting them 10 NH Grand Prix points in the process. Also double teaming for Gate City was top senior finisher Dave Dunham, who narrowly missed the senior’s course record on what turned out to be a warm day for the runners. With a more seasonable temperature, he’ll get that record next year no problem!

In the age-graded individual standings it was the aforementioned Dunham & Callaghan who took the top spots, scoring 10 & 9 points, respectively. This vaulted them into 4th & 5th place for the season. Since they both missed the first event of the series they trail a couple of guys, including series leader Rob Edson. Rob scored 7 points at Pack, which helped him add to the lead he got from his Nashua Soup Kitchen 5k win.

On the women’s side of things, Kath Hardcastle from Watertown, MA broke the tape in a 74’11”. The top master’s female, Christin Doneski, took the 2nd overall honors on the day just three minutes behind Hardcastle and scored 10 NH Grand Prix points out of the Female 40-49 division for the Granite State Racing Team. Doneski was also the top age-graded woman on the day and earned 10 points in the individual standings. Since she also missed the Soup Kitchen race, she currently sits in third. Nashua winner Lynn-Marie Fawcett picked up another 9 points and remained at the top of the standings. Lynn Marie has a bit more of a cushion than Edson does in the men’s standings, but it’s still early and both titles are up for grabs still.

For the New Hampshire Grand Prix, this was hands down the toughest race in the series as the next four races all decrease in distance and are not net uphill. The Gate City Striders took advantage of the home turf location and won the race by a 35 point margin over the second place Greater Derry Track Club. The Upper Valley Running Club out of Lebanon, NH took third once again with the White Mountain Milers, Granite State Racing Team, and Rochester Runners rounding out the NH Grand Prix scoring teams. Here are the official team scores for the Pack Monadnock race:

Gate City Striders – 154
Greater Derry Track Club – 119
Upper Valley Running Club – 57
White Mountain Milers – 28
Granite State Racing Team – 18
Rochester Runners Club – 5

Check out the NH Grand Prix website for the official series scores after the first two races as well as a more in-depth summary by NHGP scorekeeper, Mike Giberti.

Record Setting Day at Pack Monadnock

The Pack Monadnock 10 Miler, the second entry in the 2014 USATF-NE Mountain Circuit, represents a stark contrast to the first race. Sleepy Hollow was all trails and mud, and even the roads leading up to the course were essentially muddy trails. For Pack, it was all on roads and most of it was even asphalt. Make no mistake about it though, it was still a mountain race.

Pack Monadnock Elevation

Courtesy of Garmin, and EJN’s pain & suffering.

Eric Macknight led the charge from the starting command and held onto the lead until about 8 miles in, where Brandon Newbould took control. But even then, it wasn’t in the bag. Brandon coaches some high school runners, and leading up to the race he had been joking around with them, telling them about how much of a beast this particular race is. Brandon explained:

I was telling them about the last time I did this and just how painful the end of that race is, and that I remember going up that (the last climb) thinking, I had the race won, all I had to do was keep moving, and I remember thinking ‘second isn’t that bad.’ A moment of weakness, but today was the same thing,” said Brandon, laughing. That sums up the last climb quite nicely. As Kevin Tilton explained afterwards, the last mile of Pack Monadnock is steeper than what you get at the Mt Washington Road Race. For his part, Kevin did quite well. In fact it was on that last climb, near the grueling end of it, that Kevin reeled in Macknight.

To push yourself to get after anybody going up that wall takes some resolve. Brandon reiterated: “Really all I had to do was hang on but I remember thinking ‘jeez it won’t be that bad if Kevin catches me or if one of those guys gets me. I tried hard,” said with a smile on his face, of course. “To be honest, everybody wrestles with some doubts and stuff, you know and I was able to fight them down but it was an argument. It was just very painful…a very painful finish.” Brandon ended up with a 64:08, with Tilton and Macknight following up in 65:40 and 65:53, respectively.

While not exactly pedestrian, it was a little slower for the lead guys. The same can’t be said for the other leaders. Kath Hardcastle made a serious run at the women’s overall record, her 74:11 falling just short of Gina Lucrezi’s 73:25. Not too bad for a woman with a little bit of Boston left in her legs. Instead she had to settle for the sub-masters record, which was a 76:25 (by Tara Cardi). If you’re not familiar with Kath, it may be because she moved to Montana a couple of years ago but is back in Boston now and taking full advantage of the opportunity to compete in the mountains again.

“I had a vague memory of the course but apparently I had forgotten just how hard it was! No shortage of hills the entire way.  I’m still testing the proverbial waters being 3 weeks out from the Boston marathon so my goal with the mountain races is to have fun and love running,” said Kath. Since she didn’t know exactly what was in the marathon-weary legs, Kath pushed it out harder trying to get a bit of a cushion on the women’s field. Would there be enough left in the tank for the climb to get her through to the end though? The strategy paid off this time, with her nearest competition being three and a half minutes back. That runner was Christen Doneski.

snapAcidotic Pack Monadnock Doneski

Christen climbing the last wall, courtesy of SNAPacidotic.

Christen ended up second overall, and although the masters runner extraordinaire didn’t get the outright win (as she did so many times last year), she still had an outstanding race. Her final time of 1:17:39 eclipsed Kathy Maddock’s old record by three seconds. Record setting masters win? Yeah, that should take the sting out of finishing second.

“My goals for Pack were to be first masters and to beat the standing masters record. I figured if I could maintain 7 minute miles on the road that would make my goal of sub 1:17:42 attainable. So that is what I did; my first mile was just over 7 and my second was under 7. I am not a numbers person, but when I hit Miller State Park (editor’s note: just over a mile to go) I knew it was going to be close and that I needed to run smart. When I hit 1/4 mile to go I was at 1:15. As I came over that last wall and saw the clock I had to kick it in and crossed the line at 1:17:39…goal met by 3 seconds. I was happy.”

That was a plan well executed. Christen is also coming off of Boston, and she recognized the tall order that it would be to try to keep up with Hardcastle. Instead, she came up with a plan, ran her own race, and set a record in the process. For the men, the top masters runner once again was Todd Callaghan. Todd ran a 67:49 and finished 7th overall. Not only did Todd have to hold pace to keep any other masters off of him, but if he slipped too much he might’ve been taken down a senior.

Senior Dave Dunham ran a 70:02 and missed Martin Tighe’s senior record by a scant 14 seconds. That is so heartbreakingly close. He must’ve ran about 9.9 miles before realizing he was just going to miss it. Not too bad for a guy who’s had to fight through an ankle injury and a bout of walking pneumonia recently. Dave ended up placing 11th overall, showing that he’s still a force to be reckoned with in the mountains.

Where Dave fell short, Cathy Pearce nailed it. The Whirlaway senior runner ran an 88:37, breaking Lisa Doucett’s course record of 89:04. With the way these ladies are racing, it’s shaping up to be a very exciting year. How many other records will fall?

Next up in the series is Wachusett Mountain on May 24th.

For more, check out pics by SNAPacidotic, and our interviews with:

Men’s champion Brandon Newbould
Women’s champion Kath Hardcastle
Top renners Dave Dunham and Kevin Tilton

Hardcastle Storms the Mountain

We couldn’t get Somerville Road Runner Kath Hardcastle on camera after her dominating win at the Pack Monadnock 10 Miler, but we finally caught up with her via the interweb. Kath ran a 64:11 and came pretty damn close to Gina Lucrezi’s course record of 73:25. Considering that minutes can be gained or lost on that last climb, Kath was very close to the mark. Here’s our interview with the early season favorite to take the USATF-NE Mountain Series overall championship.

So are you a newcomer to the mountains? I didn’t see your name in the series standings from last year. If you are new, what brought you out?

Noop, not a newcomer. I ran this series in 2011 I think. I moved to Montana in 2012 and then back to New England (Boston) earlier this year. I have been eagerly anticipating the beginning of the mountain circuit. I thoroughly enjoy all of the courses and the people they attract. It’s a superb group; welcoming, encouraging and every so slightly potty.

Pack Monadnock is a notoriously difficult course. Were you familiar with it? What was the plan?

I had a vague memory of the course but apparently I had forgotten just how hard it was! No shortage of hills the entire way. I’m still testing the proverbial waters being 3 weeks out from the Boston marathon so my goal with the mountain races is to have fun and love running. As we all know the first few months of the year were not terribly forgiving, like many people I found marathon training more mentally demanding than ever. I may have fallen out of love with running a few times. The mountain races are correcting this sad state of affairs.

I suppose my plan was to start conservatively and ease into a rhythm, that sort of happened until about mile 7 when I wanted to stop for ice cream and dip in the river.

What did you hit your first mile in?

SNAPacidotic Pack Monadnock Hardcastle

Kath takes on the last bit of the climb at Pack Monadnock, courtesy of SNAPacidotic.

I don’t know, I didn’t look at my watch until the final climb and that was just to count down the mile tenths. I did download the file but I only looked at my last mile time… it wasn’t pretty.

You had quite a gap on the rest of the women. Was that intentional, or were you just focusing on your own race?

You never know who’s going to rock up at these races and a couple of the seasoned girls will sometimes come out of nowhere. These races are for tough women who never give up. So yes I suppose I did intend to get some time cushion in the first 7 or 8 miles since I know my speed is pretty good and wasn’t sure how much strength I had for the big climb. But at the same time I did want to enjoy the run and listen to my body because I know that a hard marathon can take a few weeks to express itself.

Were you making an effort to conserve for that last, hard climb?

I thought I was until mile 7 or 8 ish when I didn’t want to run anymore! Gosh those hills were relentless. Bizarrely the sip of water at the last station before we turned on to the main road revived me a little and although it was a long drag, I started to feel a bit more in control and I was conscious of preparing for the climb. Earlier on, yes, I tried to keep a comfortable just-trying-a-little-bit rhythm.

Are you doing any special climbing training?

Well… it depends which way you look at it. For the last two races, a group of fellow SRR racers and I have hiked up to a nearby shelter and camped out the night before, hiking down in the morning to get to the race. You could call this poor preparation or warming up!

What did you hit the last mile in?

Oh gosh. Eleven something…. I was a bit naughty and had seen there were no women close and so I was really just surviving. It was so hard!

Full recap to follow shortly…

Dunham’s Near Miss at Pack Monadnock

Dave Dunham nearly broke the seniors record at the Pack Monadnock 10 Miler on Sunday. The legendary mountain goat ran a 70:02 and was only about 15 seconds or so off Martin Tighe’s mark, and that’s even with him dealing with an ankle injury and a bout of walking pneumonia recently. Kevin Tilton, still with more than a few good years in him before he hits the senior circuit, battled Brandon Newbould and Eric Macknight and came away with a silver medal finish (65:40).

Newbould Wins Pack Monadnock With Late Break

Brandon Newbould caught early leader Eric Macknight just after 8 miles, and right before the fun of the epic last climb started. Brandon built up an insurmountable lead, winning with his 64:08. If you’re familiar at all with this course, then you’ll know just how impressive it is to go from trailing 8 miles into the race to building up a 1:32 lead over the last two miles.

Feature image courtesy of SNAPacidotic & Gianina Lindsey.

King of the (Muddy) Mountain

Josh Ferenc didn’t care who he was up against, and he didn’t hold back. Nothing was going to interfere with him running his race - not the elements, the competition, nor the terrain. In sloppy conditions, Josh ran a 40:44 for 10k at the Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race. Ferenc didn’t disappoint in the race, nor in the interview. It’s a little bold, a little brash, but makes for a refreshingly honest and entertaining couple of minutes.

New Championship Series

It’s about time for a Champion of Champions. There is a new series in town, and luckily it involves many high profile championship races that you’ll already be doing. This USATF-NE series will feature the championship events from across the spectrum of distance running in our sport. In some cases we couldn’t include all the championships (like the road Grand Prix series, for example) so we picked one from each.

The schedule is…

5/4 - Trail - Sleepy Hollow
7/6 - Mountain - Loon Mt
9/14 - Road - Lone Gull 10k
Early November - Cross Country - New England’s

Outdoor Track: For outdoor track it will be done a bit differently. There will be a qualifying window open where people can basically chase times. The window would be open roughly from 5/1 through the date of club nationals (end of July 11-12th). For 2014 the magical event will be the 5k, run virtual meet style at any USATF certified track meet. For those wanting in on this series, just submit your time and we’ll add it to the list. Afterwards, we’ll rank fastest to slowest and score like a road race. Race a track 5k as much as you want, but we’ll only include your fastest time.

Add up your scores from each race in the series, and the person with the most points will be making a strong case for calling themselves the best all-around runner in New England. Think you have what it takes to conquer any terrain?

Rules and prizes (for open and age groups) will be announced shortly in an official announcement. This is just a teaser to wet your whistle. Start marking down the dates on your calendar and get ready for some more heated competition.

Intrigued? We hope. More info coming very very soon.

Masters Mountain Running World Championship

Masters Mountain Running World Championships – Janske Lazne, Czech Republic

Guest blog by Dave Dunham

I did not feel ready for this race due to my hamstring woes, but I felt that I’d give it my best.  We had to wait through the morning as the 5 year age groups went off.  We (me, Francis, and TiVO) would be starting at 1:00 PM, just about the worst time to race…it ruins the whole day J

It was warm and dry when we headed out for a warm-up over the first 3k of the course.  It started with a 300’ climb and descent over nice single-track trail then the “real” racing would begin with a 5km+ climb averaging around 10% grade (500’ per mile).  My hope was to survive the up/down part then find a good rhythm on the climb.  I felt okay on the warm-up and had some great pre-race jitters, so I was definitely mentally in the game.

The author takes on Loon Mt, earlier this summer. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

The author takes on Loon Mt, earlier this summer. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

We got lined up and I found a spot 3 or 4 rows from the front with TiVO right with me.  Francis lined up in the front row on the other side.  I had heard that it might be very fast and aggressive at the start.  I was surprised to find that it seemed to go out reasonably and I didn’t have to fight for position.  On the first climb I found myself in eighth place and TiVO was a few seconds ahead.  Francis was up front in a pack with the top few guys.  The downhill wasn’t too bad, I just lost one place but my hamstring was not bad and I was looking forward to the climb.

It was really warm during most of the climb and the parts on the dirt road were dusty at times when the wind kicked up.  It was fun reeling in some of the other category runners on the climb and for the first 2K of climbing I could still see TiVO and Francis up ahead.  We hit the toughest stretch (a 25% grade on a ski slope) and I could see all 8 guys in front of me.  Of course at that steepness and clear view, you could see a few minutes ahead.  With 3k to go TiVO was 22 seconds ahead and looking strong.  I felt pretty good right up until we hit the long (500m?) downhill/flat stretch.  My legs just wouldn’t go fast.  At the 1km to go sign I heard someone charging fast and he zoomed by.  We started the final climb and I was able to reel him back in.  We hit the top with 500m to go and BOOM he took off, 200m later I was passed by another guy and had no response.

I crossed the line in 45:31, for the 8.6km (5.4m) course with 3,000’ of climb, taking 11th place.  Francis took 4th place and TiVO got 8th place, both nabbing there best finish at a Masters World champs.  We combined for 23 points which left us 2 points shy of the gold medal.  Germany beat us and I felt pretty bad that it hinged on the two guys who beat me in the last few minutes of the race.  I guess I’ll have to go to Telfes, Austria next year and work harder.  I closed out the day with a warm-down run back down the mountain trying to savor it, knowing it would be my last run for a month.

1 Paul Sichermann            GER            48            41:56
2 Grzegorz Czyz               POL              45            42:12
3 Rostislav Petrass  CZE              47            42:57
4 Francis Burdett             USA              48            43:31
5 Paul Dugdale                GBR              48            43:36
6 Borek Janick                 CZE              48            43:45
7 Siegfried Krischer  GER              45            44:05
8 Tim Van Orden             USA              45            44:21
9 Jim Jurcik                     SVK              45            45:21
10 Stephen Pyke                        GBR              48            45:36
11 Dave Dunham             USA              49            45:31
12 Kjell Mundal                NOR              49            47:02
13 Bernd Keppler                        GER              48            47:57
14 Ladislav Sventek SVK              48            48:13
15 Uwe Hansch               GER              48            49:10

1          GER       21 
SICHERMANN Paul        1
KRISCHER Siegfried             7
KEPPLER Bernd                13
 2         USA       23 
BURDETT Francis              4
VAN ORDEN Tim         8
DUNHAM Dave                 11
 3         CZE        30 
PETRÁŠ Rostislav              3
JANČÍK Bořek                 6
SOUKUP Petr                   21
 4         GBR       40 
DUGDALE Paul                 5
PYKE Stephen                         10
WHITAKER Jonathan             25
 5         SVK       56 
JURČÍK Ján                     9
SVENTEK Ladislav              14
BULIK Milan                   33
 6         ITA        63 
ECCHELI Alessandro           16
TODESCO Fiorenzo              19
SOVRAN Paolo                 28

Follow DD a little more closely by checking out his great blog Double-D Mountain Runner.

US Mountain Team Hangout

EJN took part in a live video conference (via Google Hangouts) last night. On the call was a few members and key personnel for the US Mountain Running Team: athletes Glenn Randall, Ryan Hafer, and Zach Ornelas, along with team managers Richard Bolt and Paul Kirsch.

For some information, here are some key results:

2012 World Championships Men | Women

2013 US / NACAC Championships Men | Women

Here is the much anticipated video.


We’ll see you at the Level Renner 10k!

Level Renner Road Race Gomez Mason logo

Cranmore: Interviews & Highlights

The final race in the USATF-NE mountain series took place in North Conway, NH last Sunday. The Cranmore Hill Climb was the culminating event and served as the US and NACAC Championships.

In the men’s race, Joseph Gray (aka Joe Geezi) started out conservatively and overcame a late surge from Zachary Ornela to secure another championship. Joe talked to us shortly after the race:

Glenn Randall got the better of his old Dartmouth teammate Chris Zablocki in their head to head match up on the mountain. The mountains are a whole different animal than the roads, but Chris still did pretty well for a first timer on this terrain. Glenn ran real well and made Team USA again. Here are the two of them talking about the race and competing against each other:

For more on the men’s race, we compiled a raw footage highlight video (well, there’s some editing):

One of our favorite shots from this is of a wobbly Eric Macknight crossing the line. A lot of people had that look going through the finish chute that day and it was a testament not only to how hard the course was but to how hard they worked out there. We finally had Christin Doneski on camera for an interview, but we cut it short to go make sure Eric was okay (he was). Christin’s a tough competitor (2013 mountain series champion) and also a pretty good teammate too.

Speaking of Christin, we had already put up some coverage of the women’s race, but here’s some more. Afterwards we got an interview with Meggan Franks, the top finisher from Team Canada and also the top foreign finisher (13th overall). She’s totally #OnTheLevel:

All this mountain series coverage left you with a case of mountain fever? Well start training now and maybe you’ll be ready to take on the series in 2014. Complete the whole circuit and you’ll attain Mountain Goat status and be able to bypass the Mt Washington race lottery. There’s still the world championships coming up in Poland too, so you’ll see more from the mountains on the Level. Be sure to also check out Scott Mason Photo and Joe Viger Photography for some absolutely amazing shots from the race.

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