Monday, June 14, 2010

Redhook 5k

My appologies for the delay... I haven't gotten around to blogging about a couple of races, so I figured I'd go back and make sure I covered one of my favorite races of the year, which happened a couple weeks back.  The Runner's Alley/Redhook Brewery 5k (results) was a couple weeks ago and Market Square Day was this past weekend. I'll go in order, and summarize my experience at both races.  This one is for Redhook.

On Sunday, 5/30, I raced once again (4th time in last 4 years) up at the Redhook 5k in Portsmouth, NH. This is one of the more enjoyable days I've experienced on the racing scene, as it officially kicks off the summer season for me and has typically been fantastic weather-wise and performance-wise. It was one of the first real races I did
back in 2007 (but got run down by Scotty Clark), and I was 7th back then. I came back in 2008 and won it against a field of 1898 and then went on to win the Seacoast Road Race Series.  Last year (2009) I was 2nd behind John Mentzer (who eventually won the series).  This year, I was trying to go for another top spot against a  pretty strong field, but I was up against a Saturday race out at Wachusett (the Wachusett Mountain Race).  Since I was focusing on the Mountain Series this year, I had to do these back to back.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but figured I could grind through a 5k after a 5 mile mountain race the day before...

The weather was fantastic, a bit warm, but nice and sunny and just a perfect day to be outdoors.  I wasn't feeling the affects of Wachusett really, and figured I could hang on for maybe a top 3 finish (knowing that John Mentzer was back and Bob Wiles was racing). I got to the brewery early and milled around a bit before scouring the pre-reg list to see who was running.  I saw a few names and faces but was really concerned with Bob and John.  I figured at the very best, I had a 3rd place spot.  I noticed Scott McGrath's name on the list, but he was injured and I didn't think he'd be there.

I went out on the warmup w/ Bob and we joined up w/ a guy who Bob had seen at a 10k up in NH some weeks earlier.  We chatted as we ran over the course for the warmup and he admitted that he was running in place of Scott, who was out with an injury. It was Ben Jenkins (UNH), who had won a large race up in Concord with a 15:29 a week previous.  (I suppose this is all ok to admit now that the heat has blown over)...I was now thinking 4th would be a possibility.  After warming up and heading over to the starting area for some last minute strides, I started to see lots of other pretty good runners warming up and knew it was going to be a good race.

As the gun went off, Wiles went out like his shorts were on fire and Mentzer followed suit.  I hung side by side with Ben for the first mile, a few ticks back of those two.  The first mile is flat and fast, as you just head out along the perimeter of the tradeport.  I went through the first mile in 4:44 and was a few seconds back of Bob and John.  I noticed Bob started to slow up just a bit after noticing the split (which actually is a little longer than 1 mile).  The second mile has the only uphill section of the course and then some downhill.  The pack of 4 of us started to spread out a bit and Bob and John put some distance on me, as I tucked in behind Ben.   I clicked through 2 miles in 9:53 and was only a couple seconds back of Ben at that point...within striking distance.  As the course turned right onto the the last road on the course before dumping back onto the main road back to the finish, I started to pull up on Ben who actually ran up onto the grass and through a sprinkler in front of one of the businesses.  At that point, I thought 1 of 2 things were happening... either Ben was hurting and needed to cool off in desperation (it was getting HOT out there) or he was running really comfortable and just felt like cooling off a bit as we ran by the sprinklers.  He looked like he still had a lot of bounce to his step and didn't appear to be breathing heavily at all.  As we turned back onto the main road and within a half mile of the finish, I pulled up and past Ben and he started to fade back without offering any challenge.  I pushed up and locked into 3rd place, just trying to hold off any push he may come up with.  I went through 3 right over 15 minutes (15:01 I think)  and then cruised over the last .1 in around 33 seconds to finish up in 15:34 and 3rd place overall.  It was the second straight year I ran 15:34.  I wasn't too happy with my 2nd and 3rd miles (both 5:09s) but happy w/ the place, as I think that is where I should have been, given the field and given the fact that I ran Wachusett the day before.

Bob, Ben, John, Darin Brown, and I all did the course one last time as a cooldown and then headed over to the festivities for some free Redhook beer and the awards ceremony.

Top 10 Overall (CMS in Blue):

1Bob Wiles           32Kittery ME         15:23 4:57
2John Mentzer        33Portsmouth NH      15:26 4:58
3Jim Johnson         33Salem NH           15:34 5:01
4Scott McGrath       23Durham NH          15:41 5:03
5Mark Hudson         33Reading MA         16:24 5:17
6Casey Carroll       38Dover NH           16:48 5:25
7Cullen Fergus       30Dover NH           17:02 5:29
8Jamie Baker         34Portsmouth NH      17:17 5:34
9Chris Ritchie       27Hampton NH         17:21 5:35
10Jasmin Lepir       34Portsmouth NH     17:30  5:38

My Redhook 5k History:

YearTimePacePlaceField Size

Image to the left, courtesy of Cheryl Senter (Portsmouth Herald).

One thing I will say is that the race spares no expense with the awards and afterparty.  It's always a blast running this race and hanging out afterwards.  They have free brews, good food (cookout/bbq style) and a live band... but the one thing I notice every year is that the trophies are freakin' sweet.  A couple years ago, when I won, I got a cool trophy, a t-shirt, the 'Free Beer for a Year' card (which allows you to fill up a very cool growler they give you, once a month for a year), and 100 bucks cash.  Last year, when I was 2nd, I still got 100 bucks (so they upped the cash), another sweet trophy, and a free night stay at a local area hotel.   This year, for 3rd, I got yet ANOTHER sweet trophy, 75 bucks cash, and a $50 gift card to Paddy's, which is right around the corner from the brewery.

Fosters Article


  1. Those are the coolest trophies I've ever seen.

  2. The best picture they could find was me licking your head?!?! I guess it shows some real team cohesiveness!

  3. Tap Handles!

    I'm there next year!

  4. great, that bumps me immediately back to 4th next year! ;)