Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler

Today, we ran the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler for the second time. 2010 was a lot more fun than 2007 when we first ran this race on the Vineyard. The major difference was that this time, we knew what to expect. Back in 2007, we also had some challenges with our infant son. He kept us up most of the night before the race.  Despite having two children now, we were able to deal with the confusing logistics of the race and stay stress free. That allowed us to focus on the running.

Like last time, we stayed with family in Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Just getting to the start line requires driving to a commuter lot, taking a shuttle bus to the ferry, and taking the ferry to the start line in Vineyard Haven. Getting back requires an extra school bus ride from the finish to Vineyard Haven, then the ferry, shuttle bus, and drive. Doing this all in one day with a 20 mile race in between the two ferry trips, can be nerve-wracking and exhausting.

Nevertheless, the uniqueness of this race is an attraction. I like the course, though Debbie isn’t enthralled by it. The results show that there were 426 finishers today. The weather conditions were good. Cape Cod received a wallop from last Wednesday’s snowstorm. We missed it in Connecticut, but there was nearly a half a foot of snow on the ground when we arrived yesterday. The streets were plowed and dry, but there were snowbanks everywhere. The temperature was in the low 20’s (Fahrenheit) at the start and rose into the low 30’s by early afternoon. We had nice sunshine in the morning and some clouds in the afternoon. Martha’s Vineyard had a little less snow than the mainland, but the roads and bike paths were very icy. There were a handful of falls during the race, resulting in various minor injuries.

I had a better race than last time. I finished 22nd in 2:15:31, nearly 11 minutes faster than 2007. Debbie ran a bit slower this time, but it has only been 4.5 months since our daughter’s birth. Last time, I went out too hard and faded before blowing up completely at mile 15 before struggling to the finish. This time, I went out much easier, measured my pace and ran a negative split. I’m quite happy about that because it isn’t my style. The second half of the course is tougher, with more hills, more turns, more icy pavement, and more wind. Debbie had a steady race, but lost some ground in the last three miles. She was still pleased with the result. Her first big “A race” is the Nipmuck Trail Marathon, which isn’t until June.

Patrick Moulton of Providence, Rhode Island, shattered the course record by running 1:48:34. That is a phenomenal 5:26 per mile average. He is one of the top marathoners in New England, so it was no surprise that he was on the top step of the podium. Still it is February, and the course was treacherous in spots.  The women’s winner was Helen Dinan of Bellingham, Massachusetts. She ran a fine 2:12:43.

Once again, Steven and Susan Livingston were our crew. They watched our kids and did Sherpa duty while we were running. They were a huge help. This is a highly recommended race, but given the logistics requirements, you should bring Sherpa’s too!

Race Results

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