JFK 50 Miler

Dec 12th, 2010 - Race - Merrimac, MA - 4

Day 346 - Newly minted Whirlaway racer Joe Donnelly wanted to make an appearance on my blog so bad that he followed me up to mighty Merrimac, MA to kick my ass, and to also set up another storyline for 365 Days Part Deux.

(taking names)

Myself, Joe, and a few others that we know, including Joe F., Frank, Jon M., and Icky were up in Merrimac on a mild but wet Sunday afternoon for the Santa Toy Trot put on by WCRC. This race was established 16 years ago by my good friend Bob Randall, who was also here and racing.

The concept of this 3-in-1 race is interesting and a first for me. There's a 2-miler, a 4-miler, and a 6-miler. You have the option of running any distance without first declaring which race you'll run during registration, so this leaves a lot of room for race strategy and shenanigans amongst the racers.

I cursed when I saw Joe already warming up as I parked my car 20 minutes before race time. I didn't expect him here after a little back and forth on Facebook to get things going between us. Joe had already raced and won his division at a tough XC race yesterday in Melrose, and he had already also put in a tempo run earlier in the day. This "man" does not stop!

My sources at today's race told me that Joe was fuming and looking for me. Apparently, he was going to tail me for my entire run and then squish me at the finish like the green slime that I am. Gulp.

I met Joe at the starting line and shook his hand like the good competitor, waiting for his ass whooping, that I am. I told Joe that I was going to just run the 4-miler. Of course, that was a lie.

My strategy was to run the 6-miler with the hopes that Joe would sprint to the finish of the 4-miler as we neared the end of the second loop based on my white lie.

Today was also Joe's birthday, so I think I managed to secure myself a spot in a very, very warm place with this one.

(make room for one more, EJ)

We wished each other luck right before Santa pulled the trigger on the starting gun. Don't ask.

Two other runners took off quickly and lead the pack throughout the first loop. They were more than likely running the 2-miler, so I wasn't too worried. 

Joe and I worked together (with him doing most of the work) to pull each other around the looped course. We settled into our agreed upon pace of sub 6's. I was actually just buying time and waiting for Joe to blow out his hammy's due to my "slow" pace. It must have been excruciating for him to run his typical training pace during a race.

Joe did however do his best impersonation of the #8 car and blocked the wind for me on a couple of stretches. Much appreciated.

By the end of the first loop at the finish of the 2-miler, it was just me and Joe comfortably alone and out in front. I was right, the other two runners had pulled in to go one, two in that race.

Even without anyone to chase, we both kept the pedal to the floor and continued on at the same sub 6 pace. There was only one other runner behind us, but not within striking distance.

Joe and I had some great discussions through this stretch. I found out that Joe didn't really want to kick my ass and that he really is a nice guy (I knew that already). He was here to just have fun. My kind of runner!

Like the public announcements of my youth that told me that lying was bad, I had to fess up to Joe, and told him that I couldn't live with a lie.

I spilled my guts and told him that I was actually doing the 6, but then a brilliant thought came to me. Why not just run the 4 and perhaps finish in first, and give Joe the easy walk-off victory in the 6!? Brilliant! This would be the equivalent of chopping the pot in poker terms.

We rounded the final turn on the second loop, and with the 4-miler in the bag, I thanked Joe and told him to go get the 6.

I crossed the 4-mile finish line in 1st with a time of 23:54.

Joe trotted in 12 minutes later for his classy win in the 6, capping off an epic weekend and racing season. Plus, you also got mentioned on my blog! Congrats, buddy! Looking forward to some interesting training runs next year.

Winning my first road race ever at the last race of the season (yeah, right) is as good as it gets. The only thing better is that Joe spared my life.

GLRR members Joe Ferris, Jonathan Mackenzie, and Frank Georges (although his singlet did have a nasty mustard stain on it today) also went on to win their respective divisions in their respective races.

A very successful weekend for the Pride of Lowell not named Micky (GO SEE THE FIGHTER!).

(There's a lot to like about Lowell)


  1. Can't you use your mad photoshop skillz to put a nice green sweatervest on the guy? I think it would work better with his skin tone, and be a little more festive for the upcoming holidays.

  2. Will take it under consideration. Stay tuned.

  3. Santas Toy Trot 16 years and still going strong
    Jason thanks for the plug,
    Bob Randall