Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vasque Jack London 10K Trail Race

Saturday I shot over to Nashua, NH and Mine Falls Park for the third annual Vasque Jack London 10K Trail Race (results).  I didn't have a clue on who would be going or how I would do here but looking at the schedule for races in this range for this weekend, this appealed the most to me so I put it on the schedule.  It ended up working out because not only did I run pretty well but I also got a bit of confidence going into next week's XC championships.

I went out pretty conservative for the first mile, although the mile marker for the first mile had to have been short (4:48 by my watch).  The second mile marker split me at 6:08 so I know there was an issue w/ the spot of mile marker 1.  I settled in after mile 1 and just started cranking.  The course starts out on a pretty wide dirt path (flat and wide enough for vehicles) and it runs along the canal for about 8 tenths of a mile before you go over a small foot bridge and turn onto single track trails.  The course is constant up and down dips on the single track but is VERY well marked and the footing is quite good (I'm talking like I am a trail expert here)... Roots are everywhere but the course is not rocky which is good, and there was practically zero mud.  There were quite a few older people walking their dogs on the course which got to be a little annoying...especially when they all seemed to be going in the same direction as me so they don't see me coming...but what can you's a public park and a nice one at that.  The entire course was covered in leaves and pine needles so it was tough to pick out potential hazards but I didn't have any issues whatsoever with roots, holes, or rocks.  There are a couple of spots where the single tracks meet back up with the road that runs through the park, but you aren't on that for long at all...just long enough to pop right back onto the single track again.  There were volunteers at every major intersection, nice bright yellow markers everywhere you looked, and white chalked arrows on the leaves.  Even a complete trail-idiot like myself couldn't screw it up.  

I did find myself looking back again an awful lot...I am not sure why I am developing this habit but I am finding it pretty annoying.  After about a mile and a half I could no longer see 2nd place which is exactly the way I wanted it.  I kept banging along at a fairly even pace and ran slightly over my comfort threshold.  I knew at about 5 miles that I had a pretty good shot at the course record (only 2 years old).  I figured if I just kept up the same pace and effort I'd be well under and I ended up just under a minute faster than Justin Fyffe's 2007 course record winning time.  Justin did me a huge favor this year and showed up late and missed the he was a good sport and waited to the end to see my finish.  I then threw him his CMS gear and it is now official as his unattached period is coming to an end this week and he will be competing for the CMS men's open team this coming weekend at the New England XC Championships at Franklin Park.  This ended up being a really nice warm up for that race and I am pretty happy with the results from today.  The course is by far slower than Franklin Park without a doubt...If I can run faster than I did today at Franklin, I'll call that a small win for me.  Between now and then, Justin will be running tomorrow at the Manchester Half Marathon and fellow CMS masters stud Dan Verrington will be running the full Marathon, only 2 weeks removed from his Baystate attempt, which he had to cut short due to illness...but he's still fit and in good marathon shape, so he's going to try and take advantage of it.  I am going to snap some shots and cheer on the guys tomorrow... Look for whatever pix and vid I can get soon.

Also very nice to see Mark Behan and his Timberlane XC team at the race today, as well as 2nd place finisher Mark Kimball, who is STILL rocking his Whirlaway jersey for some reason...

Splits (incomplete) for 10K Trail - 33:48 (5:27 pace) - 1st place overall out of 128:

Mile 1) 4:48 (definitely off)
Mile 2) 6:08 (10:57) (2 mile overall is more believable)
Mile 3) 5:13 (16:11)
Mile 4) No Split - didn't see any markers
Mile 5) 10:35 for miles 4 and 5 combined and a total running time of 26:46.
Mile 6) 5:49 (32:36)
Last .2) 1:11 (33:47)

Past winners (and consecutive course record holders):

2006 - DAVE DUNHAM - 42 CMS - BRADFORD, MA - 36:20 (5:52 pace)
2007 - JUSTIN FYFFE - 27 - DUMMERSTON VT - 34:43 (5:36 pace)
2008 - JIM JOHNSON - 31 - CMS - SALEM, NH - 33:47 (5:26 pace)

Swag presented to yours truly at the end was a nice bottle of wine and a pint glass from the race....not to mention everyone gets a nice pair of the coveted Jack London socks!


  1. Well done Jim. Definitely a race I'll mark on the calander for next fall. Really cool socks too. I see Woodford on your race schedule, good man. One of my favorites.

  2. Nice job Jim. If it is the same course I ran a couple of years ago, it is probably closer to 6m than 10km. Even so, your time is smokin'!