2019 Mother’s Day Dash

Debbie and I woke up this morning and it was 40 degrees Fahrenheit and raining steadily. We read the forecast, checked our thermometer, and still underestimated how cold and nasty it was. We were duped by yesterday’s amazing May conditions. We spent all Saturday afternoon in the woods on the New England Trail. Today, it was back to February conditions. This was more like cyclocross weather, but that’s good for me. Our kids were still with her parents, so we had one more opportunity to get in some “training.”

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I was looking forward to a long ride, but there was no way I was going to go out on a bike in cold rain. We had considered riding to the Mother’s Day Dash in Rockville via the rail trail, but that would have been a mess. Instead, we rallied and simply drove over. We registered on site and then had time for a short warmup. By the time of the race, the temperature had dipped to 38 degrees. It was ugly.

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I complained a bit, but that was just for effect. I actually love these conditions. Most people stay home, and sadly, the turnout for the race was light. This race deserves more participation but in recent years, the weather has not been kind.

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We missed the race in 2018 because we were in Florida (and we heard conditions here were miserable). This was my 12th time doing the race since 1999. With the light turnout and a lack of competition, circumstances presented an improbably opportunity for me to win overall and claim the Ray Crothers Memorial Award for the second time. I won in similar conditions in 2017.

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I even went faster this year, but was still about 32 seconds slower than my best time from 2016. I’m pretty pumped to be running quick again after a long layoff following my broken leg in January 2018. I felt bad (for a moment) for 16 year-old Jake Haddad, who I trailed for 3.05 miles  before sprinting past him in the final .05. In the last half mile, I pulled back a 10 second deficit. I tested him three times and each time he responded. However, I know this course and I know my strength on an uphill finish. I normally fail when it comes to sprinting against teenagers, but this time, I was confident and it worked out.

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The Ray Crothers Award is named for a man who was influential in my running career. I’m honored to win for the second time. This is my hometown race. I grew up in Vernon/Rockville. My grandfather bought my first pair of running shoes from Ray in 1985. Ray was a key volunteer in the history of the Mother’s Day Dash dating back to when it was the Rabbit Run and held around Easter. I remember testing the shoes in the parking lot at his store, The Run In, in Rocky Hill. Gramps always joined me when I needed a new pair and he loved chatting with Ray, who passed (too young) in 2008. I wrote about him back then. Check it out. I mentioned him again in 2009 when there was a memorial race held in his honor. My grandfather died 10 years earlier in 1998. That first pair of shoes were Tigers and I’m sure I wore them in the 1985 Rabbit Run, the one time I did that race.

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We missed having the kids with us today, but they wouldn’t have been as excited about these conditions. Debbie had a good race and was 2nd in her age group. Kudos to the volunteers for braving the elements. Extra kudos to all the runners, especially the kids, for persevering in such harsh New England conditions. Come on Mother Nature…we need some consistent warmth! My fingers were frozen and my iPhone battery died, so photos are limited! Afterwards, we went to the YMCA in Ellington to thaw out in the sauna. It worked.

Race Results

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