Gate River Run Full Race Report

The Jacksonville Trip was fun and productive, though I’m still catching up at work and at home. My legs have recovered, but I’m done with running on roads for a while. The better weather is here and the trails are beckoning.

The Gate River Run was one of the larger races that we have done. It is even bigger than the Manchester Road Race, which attracted 13,000 runners last Thanksgiving Day. Being the USATF 15K National Championship event, Gate attracted a lot more FAST runners than we are used too. Still, there were tons of people running, just for fun and fitness, which makes it a great event. The winner of the first Gate River Run 33 years ago was Bill Rogers. He was at the expo signing autographs and Debbie started next to him in the race.

North Florida has been having one of its coldest winters on record, so it was great to wake up to sunshine and warmer temperatures. Sixty-something degrees and sun is a really good combination for running. We were using this race as another training race. We have done a big road race every other week in the past month. We did the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler, the Colchester Half Marathon, and now the Gate River Run.

The races have been getting shorter as our training has expanded. That isn’t by design. It just happened that way. Saturday, I proved that my speed has been blunted a bit as my training has increased. I would have liked to have run two to three minutes faster, but it wasn’t to be. I went through one mile in 6:15, two in 12:30, three in 18:30, but then I couldn’t pick up the pace. I actually lost a little ground in the second half of the race. My GPS data proves that this run wasn’t as stellar as recent events though my heart rate curve still looks good. The GPS data does show a map of the cool course.

The time isn’t a big deal. I’ve got some much bigger objectives coming up in the next eight weeks, with my first A race at the end of May. The number one objective for this race was to have fun and enjoy a different experience. Debbie is pretty much in the same boat, though she is pretty satisfied with her result. Again, she isn’t a big road racing fan, but the trail races don’t start until April. She also ran MV20 and Colchester, so running quickly at Gate was a happy result. She was probably one of the only runners out there testing a new pair of trail running shoes. Florida roads can be rough!

Scanning the results, it was nice to see some other runners from Connecticut. One standout performance was put in by Shannon McHale of West Simsbury. She ran 56:02, finished 136th overall, and won her age division. She started up front with the top 45 elite women who were participating in an equalizer race. They were given a five-minute head start and a chance to beat the first man. If one of them did, they would have earned another $5000. The women’s winner Katie McGregor, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, fell short of that objective, but still took home $12,000. Men’s winner, Mo Trafeh, of Duarte, California, won $17,000. Hence, the equalizer. I still think the men and women deserve the same price money.

As for Shannon, she had a really good race. I remember several years ago when she came out to the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race and trounced the other women. She has only gotten faster since then. She has had top results in distance races, including the marathon, all over New England. She did the Olympic Marathon Trials several years ago in Boston and is on track to qualify for the trials again.

The Gate River Run is highly recommended. There was lots of swag. The expo was a blast. Some of the items we walked away with in our race bags: our chip, a beer glass, and a t-shirt. All finishers got a sticker. Commemorative hats went to the top 10% finishers. All in all, a lot of good stuff.

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