Tag: Pack Monadnock

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.

DD Takes on Monadnock

Guest blog by Dave Dunham

Day two of the Government shutdown was also day two of my attempt to ElliptiGo and bike up the paved mountains in New England. This time Pack Monadnock was my goal.


I was up at 4 am and off for Wilton NH, the early hour meant little traffic on my rides but also meant starting in the dark. I put on a bunch of reflective gear and wore a headlamp as I headed off on the 10 miles of the Pack Monadnock race course. The first mile was tough with a steady climb but after that it would be rolling until five miles. From 5 to 8 miles the climb was tough but then it really got tough with the last 1.5 miles climbing 900’ (total climb 2,500’). The hardest part of the first 5 was the unpaved section, which I bounced along without really being able to see where I was going.

dunham PICT0040
I hit five miles in 27:01, about what I’ve raced it in, and then the grind started. I had trouble with the steeper parts on dirt road with the back tire slipping a bit. I got to 8 miles in 44:46 and knew it’d be a real grind from that point. The next .7 on Route 101 wasn’t too bad and I hit the gate into Miller State park in 50:42. Wow, the next 1.3 was tough. There was a guy walking his dog and it took me forever to catch him. I grunted and sputtered to the top in 1:05:03. I’ll claim a PR and maybe a first ever ascent on the Go?

I spent 7 minutes on top getting pictures, checking out the fire tower, and chatting with some of the hikers. The trip down the mountain was wild, my hands got sore very fast from gripping the brakes. I reached the gate in 5:06 (15 mph average). Then it was off to Route 101 and the 9 mile descent back to Wilton. That was a blast. I worked it the entire way and the miles zipped by. Not that I wasn’t aided by the 1,100’ of descent. I covered the 9 miles on 101 in 27:05 (20 MPH).

It took me about 5 minutes to lock up the Go and transition to the mountain bike. I pumped the tire pressure up to see if this’d improve my riding on roads. My legs were already a bit trashed from the 1:47 I’d already spent on them. The first mile again kicked my butt, but then I enjoyed the next four miles. I hit the 5 mile mark in 25:49 which put me up over a minute on the earlier ride. I really felt it during the next three miles which took me 17:30 to cover (on the Go I’d done it in 17:39). I lost ground on the climb to the gate (a MINUTE slower than I’d gone on the Go and that was only 7/10ths of a mile!) it was getting ugly.

I kept it going despite my brain continually asking me “why are you doing this”. I gasped to the summit in 16:18 (almost 2 minutes slower than on the Go) and a total of 65:50. I spent no time on the top and zipped back to the gate in 3:51 (20.5 MPH). Then it was off to the races back down Route 101 pedaling like mad the entire way and watching the 2/10th mile markers as they zipped by. I covered the last 9 miles in 26:48 (20 MPH) and got off the bike all wobbly legged, a sure sign of a good workout J

I finished the day with a 5 mile run in the woods with Dan. I don’t know if I’ve ever done a harder workout (the double Pack ascents, not the run with Dan).

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The ElliptiGo is gaining popularity and we’re curious to see how members of Level Legion embrace it and utilize it. More to come from Dave on this topic, but in the mean time you can follow his running and ElliptiGo adventures on his blog.

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