JFK 50 Miler

August 14th, 2010 - Race - Shelburne, MA - 6.2

Day 225 - Shelburne, MA. Population on August 13th, 2010: ~2,031. Population on August 14th, 2010: +3,000!!

Matt, Fil, myself, and the always quiet and shy, Deric (and a bunch more GLRR's) travelled two hours west to find ourselves at the Bridge of Flowers 10K in sleepy Shelburne. This race was the second to last GP event of the season. Sadness.

I had never heard of this race until this year. Let me re-phrase that. I had never heard of the Hill at this race until this year.

Here's my artistic rendering of the Hill at BoF:

(You're just another brick in the wall at this race)

Here's my Garmin's more accurate rendering of the Hill at BoF:

(Not drawn to scale. The Hill is a lot bigger and a lot worse in person!)

For comparative purposes, here's my run on Mt. Washington:

(Nice and steady. Nothing crazy.)

In the beginning, God created the earth, created runners, and then created the Hill at BoF to torture the runners.

The point is, the Hill at BoF eats puppies, hates new borns, funds terrorism, and is a registered Republican/Independent (for those that dislike Democrats).

We met up with Cody, Andy, and the other GLRR's at the race site around 7:30AM for the 9AM start. We were so far west that I think we were in a different time zone. Whatever time it was, it was just too damn early to be driving two hours and then run less than you've driven!

We all did our warm up, and Deric gave us a scouting report on the Hill. He said that it was huge (that's what she said).

Frank, Reno, and the regulars were here. Katy and her mom, Karen, from Team Masssoles were out here too.

Oh, did I mention that there was a monster hill here too?

By the time the race started, I swear that the Hill was bigger than Everest, and bigger than the fish that I almost caught last summer!

The start was very unique, with the female runners lining up right next to the male runners on the bridge (not named flowers).

Also unique today was the fact that Mike Shanahan, Cody, and myself were running in a GP race together, for GLRR, for the first time all season! Mike has been fighting off his GP curse all season, and he looked primed to rip up some asphalt today. I felt great. Cody felt great. We were ready to flatten this stooopid hill as a team!

My goal was to try to set a 10K PR (sub 37:50). It's been awhile since I last ran a 10K race, so I couldn't really gauge how well I would do here today, but I wanted to give it a shot.

"Ignorance is bliss."

Conditions weren't too bad. A little warm, but it was overcast by the time the "strange noise" went off to signal the start of the race a little after 9AM.

I quickly got settled into a 6:05 pace, hoping to hang onto that for most of the race.

That pace lasted all but 6:11 as I crossed through the hilly first mile in 6:11.

I fared only slightly better crossing through the downhill portion of mile two in 6:09.

If you look at the elevation chart above, for the BoF race, you'll notice that the first two miles is almost like a summary of the rest of the course. Slight downhill, a climb, and then a steep downhill into the finish.

Frank Georges was with me, and in front of me, throughout the first two miles. We had discussed a strategy at the start to perhaps run 5K pace up to the Hill, and then succumb to the Hill where we could recover a bit. Obviously, I backed away from this strategy when I realized how hilly the first two miles were. I was just praying for a very fast downhill after the Hill to make up lost time.

Bob Strout was also ahead of me by about 15 seconds at this point, but I lost sight of him and never saw him again throughout the race. He's been my rabbit all season and I could always depend on catching him by the end of our races. Not today. He's getting stronger and faster. It's the biking!

I didn't see anyone else from GLRR for the majority of the race (except at the turnaround a little after mile 4).

The drum beats at the bottom of the Hill at mile 2 signified the start of the climb.

You first go under a bridge, and then you curve around a slight left-hand turn that deviously hides the rest of the friggin Hill!

When I finally caught sight of the half-mile long beast, I just went into mountain running mode, which involves not looking up, leaning slightly forward, pumping the arms, lifting the knees, and doing my 1-2-3-4 cadence with each breath. You do this until you reach the top, and then you smile.

(Sandbagger Rule #1: Always be aware of where the camera is)

There weren't too many stretches on Mt. Washington that were this brutal for this long. Crittenden Hill Road definitely earned my respect today. I just can't believe that people actually live on this hill, and drive up and down this thing in the winter time!

I only managed to pass a couple of runners on this stretch, reaching mile 3 on the downside of the Hill, with a 8:04 pace. Overall pace at this point was about 6:53! I had a lot of lost time to make up. I also got drenched pretty well by a grandmother hosing off runners at the top. It was refreshing, but this would come back to haunt me later on.

The half mile or so after the Hill is mostly dirt road, and very steep in some parts. It took me a few steps to get my bearings again after the climb, but once I got moving, gravity took over.

I started passing more and more runners on the downhills, which was basically the rest of the race! I caught sight of Glenn, Matt, and most of the GLRR crew on the turnaround at mile 4, where I logged a staggering 5:41 pace!


It was literally like riding a roller coaster. You first have the steep climb and then you have the walnuts-to-the-wall (coconuts for the ladies) descent into madness. This is Sparta!

I couldn't stop even if I wanted to. My biggest fear actually was falling flat on my face. Tripping here would mean serious road rash, a definite DNF, and an expensive trip to the ER.

After the dirt road portion, you come back onto asphalt, but you still have the same constant decline in elevation. A 5K course here could definitely give the Hollis Fast 5K a run for its apples.

I caught sight of Mike at mile 5 where I checked in with a 6:02 mile. He was about 30 seconds in front of me, but I quickly closed the gap. We were stride-for-stride next to each other by 5.5. 

I told him to finish strong and he responded. We went back and forth, racing each other, and at the same time passing at least five other runners. I had complete tunnel vision. My form and stride felt natural. We were in the runner's zone and working off of each other's energy. In short, it was the most intense racing that I'd been involved in for quite some time.

(We could...

...go all...

...the way!)

We both kicked it into another gear after crossing mile 6 (5:42), and the final bridge (not named flower) with .2 to go.

Mike made a move and surged past me. I didn't know if I had it in me to respond, but respond I did. I made my final kick and went by him, and hung on for the 1 second victory!

I finished with an official time of 39:01 (6:17 overall pace).


Like I said earlier, being drenched at the top of the Hill by nanna probably added at least a pound of weight due to the GLRR singlet's amazing ability to absorb and retain every drop of water. If it's true what they say about each pound = 2 seconds per mile, then...you get the idea. My point is, we need to review the material that we use for our singlets. The old white singlets, for example, is great material for wet conditions. I'm just saying.


This is one race that I plan on putting on my calendar again for next year. I left a piece of my soul up on that Hill, and I want it back!

Place      Time           Pace    Name

75           37:24:00      6:02      Cody Freihofer
102         39:01:00      6:17      Jason Bui
103         39:02:00      6:17      Michael Shanahan
127         40:39:00      6:33      John Dowling
168         43:08:00      6:57      Andrew Pupa
169         43:09:00      6:57      Fil Faria
185         44:06:00      7:06      Ken Goodin
194         44:23:00      7:09      Matt Story
206         44:47:00      7:13      Ben Bourne
214         45:06:00      7:16      Glenn Stewart
233         45:47:00      7:22      David Pecchia
238         46:01:00      7:25      Trish Bourne
262         47:09:00      7:36      Kathy Burley
274         47:40:00      7:41      Tom Amiro
278         47:44:00      7:41      Melanie Hire
289         48:24:00      7:48      Peg Bastien
327         49:52:00      8:02      Michael Brodeur
370         51:42:00      8:20      Tom Foltz
480         56:18:00      9:04      Nancy Dorn
501         57:25:00      9:15      Scott Casper
559         1:00:03        9:40      Deric Faria
687         1:11:07       11:27     Doug Sylvester
696         1:12:43       11:43     Paula Canela
715         1:16:30       12:19     James Shelton


  1. That's not a PR course, but you turned in a very strong effort J. And nice turnout for Gang Green, rocking those wet sweater-vests. Go GLRR!

  2. It appears that HILL (according to you're Garmin's rendition of the course), is giving you the finger!!!

  3. Very nice observation, Kelly! And that it did, that it did...

  4. Next year Jason, give it HELL!!!!!!!