Tuesday, October 12, 2010

UNH Homecoming 5k and other happenings...

Friday night, I was up in Durham, NH for my wedding rehearsal dinner.  While we were up there, we heard a lot of fireworks downtown plus I noticed a lot of people in the general area, walking around, partying, etc.  One of the women at the Three Chimney's Inn told me that it was Homecoming weekend at UNH and asked me if I was racing in the morning.  I said no, but didn't realize that there actually was a road race on Saturday morning, literally a half mile up the road at the UNH campus.  I didn't think much of it, as I was getting married in the morning.  Also, I had planned initially to do the Great Island 5k in New Castle, NH, which was on Sunday....but that was nixed by many who thought I should be spending time w/ my new wife on Sunday instead of racing ;)...so I decided to bail on Great Island this year and not make it 3 in a row.  When I got home that night (Kristin stayed up at the Inn with her Maid of Honor and her family), I looked at CoolRunning right before I hit the sack at about midnight and noticed that there was in fact, the UNH Homecoming 5k in the morning, and I couldn't help but look at the course map to see that it literally almost went by the very Inn that I would be getting married in, only a few hours later.  I decided to head up in the morning, run the race, and then head over to the Inn for my wedding.  If all worked out, I would actually be at the Inn even earlier than I needed to be.

I arrived up at the Whittemore Center at UNH for the Homecoming 5k (results) at around 8am and quickly registered for the race.  I saw Nate Huppe (Rochester Runners) running around near registration and knew I would not have such an easy day afterall (I wasn't sure who'd show up, but Nate's always a threat)... I headed out on the course to do it ahead of time as a warmup.  I met up with Nate as he was coming from the other direction, about halfway around the big loop course.  He turned around and ran the rest with me and we talked about race strategy and who may show up.  I figured maybe a couple of UNH grads like Ben Jenkins (CMS), Matt O'Connor, and maybe Pete Mallett (CMS and last year's winner) may show up.  I returned back to the car, changed into my singlet as the weather was good enough to go without sleeves, and then headed over to the starting area.  As I started doing strides, I caught a glimpse of two more CMS racing jerseys hanging off of two Ben's....Strain and Jenkins (whom I anticipated being there)...  Ben Strain loves to hammer early and Ben Jenkins is always a threat for the win...either way, I knew we'd have a great pack for a while, with us 3 and Nate Huppe.  Right before the start, Nate pointed out Matt O'Connor, who was incognito in just a regular plain singlet.  I figured right there that I'd be running for maybe third behind Matt and Ben J.

The gun went off and I quickly went out to the lead with all of the above gentlemen right in tow, plus one more lad from UNH, Tim Mallard.  By the time we had taken a couple of turns and hit a couple of downhills, it was Ben Jenkins and myself going back and forth.  Ben would pass me with authority on the downhills and I would catch back up and put some distance on him on the flats.  We both passed through the one mile mark in about 4:47. Ben was right behind me and I actually told him the time, as we had been given some crazy slow time by a girl standing there reading splits.  Right after that, I started to pull away.

By 2 miles, I had a good lead and was just trying to hold it.  I kept looking back and could see Ben, but couldn't really tell who was next and by how much.  I also wasn't confident I could hold the lead as I clicked through the second mile in a much slower time (coming through 2 miles in 9:58-9:59).  The second mile did have essentially the only uphill on the course...the wind was also blowing pretty good in our faces for what seemed to be most of the latter stages of the race.

Over the last mile, I was able to stretch it out and was confident I could hold it, as most of the last mile is downhill or flat, with only really one turn.  You end up running around the perimeter of the athletic fields in front of the Whittemore Center before finishing.  There was no visible 3 mile mark, but I was probably around 5:02 or so for the last mile and then an additional :32 or so for the last .1.  I came through in 15:35, which felt relatively smooth despite the windy conditions.  I also broke Wilson Perez' course record of 15:40 from 2007.  The results actually said that the old CR was by local legend Mike O'Brien from 2004 at 15:47 (at age 44 no less), but as I see from Coolrunning, it was actually 15:40 from 2007. Either way, I was pumped to get my first win in the month of October, to keep my streak alive (having at least one win in each month this year).  I also was pumped to get the course record in a race that has had some very good guys show up (this year was no exception, as it was a pretty deep field).  Nate seemed to really think the day was slow for just about everyone with the wind, etc. but I didn't seem to struggle all that much fortunately.  Looking at the times though, he may have been right...and perhaps my effort was a little better than the time dictates...

Article (Seacoast Online)

1Jim Johnson      33Salem NH    15:355:01
2Benjamin Jenkins 23Durham NH   15:595:09
3Matt O'Connor    23Rhinebeck NY16:145:14
4Timothy Mallard  21Durham NH   16:245:17
5Nathan Huppe     30Dover NH    16:385:22
6Andrew Clemence  21Durham NH   16:435:23
7Ben Strain       32Beverly MA 16:575:28
8Samuel Lalinde   23Epping NH   16:585:28
9Jack Bauer       21Durham NH 17:365:40
10Graham Hayslip   19Durham NH   17:385:41

345 Total Finishers.

I joined Nate, the two Bens, Matt, and Tim for a nice cooldown in the trails right off of campus.  I then returned in time to get my cool $100 for winning the race and then I was back on the road for the 1/2 mile drive down the street to the Inn to get ready for my wedding.  The weather was absolutely perfect and our day could not have gone any better.  Great friends and family joined us for a fun and memorable day.  Thanks to all who joined us in our special day!


  1. Congrats on the wedding! The win ain't too shabby either...

  2. 200 lines about your 5k and 2 lines about your wedding?!?! Dude.

    Congrats to you both!

  3. Thanks guys... Mike, this is 'doublejrunning'. You need to go on 'doublejgettin'married' to read about the wedding ;)

  4. Winning a race then walking down the aisle shortly thereafter has to be one of the coolest things I've ever heard about.


  5. Congrats on the nuptials. I wish you guys the best!