Nothing beats a hometown race. When you travel as much as we do, it’s a joy to be able to run to the start of an event. It’s also a wonderful thing for a community to have a treasure like the Bolton Road Race. Today’s weather was glorious with incredible sunshine. The roads were still lined with snow from Friday’s crazy late winter snowstorm (we had 18 inches in Bolton), but the roads were dry and the running was hot!
With Debbie’s help, I dragged my creaky and travel weary body out of bed for a pre-race “warmup” that took us all over town. We covered nine miles before the start and made it there with four minutes to spare before the 1:00 P.M. start. Debbie said that Coach Al had prescribed three hours of running, so she opted to put a 5 mile race in the middle of the workout. Our kids were spending some time with my parents, so we had all afternoon to run as long and as far as we wanted. I stopped after 20 miles and 10 minutes short of three hours. I was done, but Debbie wanted to honor her coach’s wishes, and ran the extra 10 minutes.
As for the race, it was fantastic. Race Director, Dani Kennedy, surpassed even her best estimates. The turnout (partially driven by the weather) was excellent, with more than 180 runners in the 5-miler and a handful in the 5K. The 5 mile distance is a rarity nowadays, but 35 years ago when this race was first held, it was a popular format. I’m glad that she didn’t bow to pressure and has maintained the race in its classic form. The figure-eight course has tremendous character and a couple of sharp hills for a road race. You won’t hear any complaints from me. I train on these roads and anyway, these hills are mild compared to the trails. Come out to the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race in May and we will show you!
Debbie did the household proud and was first woman. She took home a nice gift certificate from sponsor, Highland Park Market, one of our favorite stores. That should at least defray one week’s grocery expenses. Brian Nelson showed that he can run any distance from marathon down, including the quirky 5-miler, and smoked the field in 27:06, a fine time. He was trailed by Tim Cote and Robert Jackman. 18-year-old Brendan Callahan was the first Bolton resident in a fine fourth overall.
I was off of my best time on the course, but I’m just getting going. I wasn’t even close to my age group winner, Brett Stoeffler, who was fifth overall. I could see his head bobbing up and down, but he was way up the road and by the time we got the bottom of the last hill, he was gone. Still, I hung on and gave it a little push at the end. You see, I had to, because fellow Bolton resident Trevor Chambers was hot on my heels. The 15-year-old may have 25 years on me, but I showed him who is boss! I had to hurt myself to hold him off by one second. If you know his father Andy, then you know he has good genes!
Dani got a lot of help from her husband Ned, and the race benefitted the Bolton Booster Club. She brought together some great sponsors. The aforementioned Highland Park Market was joined on the roster by Simoniz, Bolton Physical Therapy, Bolton Veterinary, Country Liquors, Shady Glen, Fleet Feet Sports, Bolton Floral Designs, Munson’s Chocolates, Country Carpenters, and Ultimate 1 Hair Salon.
Everyone hung out afterwards for the awards and a cookout. We saw a lot of club-mates from Silk City Striders and Shenipsit Striders. We also had a lot of out of town friends. It was so nice to see everyone outside after a long winter.