Mutter & Famous win Billy Kelly 5K in Mansfield, MA
Foxboro's Pat Benson was holding a twenty yard lead at the two mile mark of yesterday's Billy Kelly 5K in Mansfield and exhibiting every indication that his status as front-runner wouldn't change over the last mile to the finish
Posted Tuesday, 25 November, 2003
Then the Bishop Feehan senior shot a glance over his shoulder at his nearest pursuer, Cumberland's Jeff Mutter, and at that moment the entire complexion of the race changed. "When he looked back," said Mutter, "he gave me purpose; he gave me heart at that point. Up until then I didn't think I was going to get him." Sensing vulnerability, Mutter launched his offensive and overtook Benson (16:13) within the last half mile to win in 16:03. The red uniforms of the Greater Boston Track Club (GBTC) took the top three places of the women's race with Brookline's Katie Famous (18:36) edging North Attleboro native Jessica Blake (18:38) for the win. GBTC's Katie Wasilenko took third.
Kent Taylor leaned into the lead when the horn sounded a moment after the runners edged across the starting line. The Taunton resident moved out of the parking lot of the Mansfield Holiday Inn and was followed by Mutter, Benson and 2001 Billy Kelly course record holder Kevin Myles of Attleboro. Although Taylor only held the lead briefly, he set the tone for the race. "It was a great start; it's so fast and so flat. We were flying and I wasn't ready for that. It's so flat that you don't even realize it. We went out quick and then I faded back a little bit."
Benson took over three minutes into the race and opened a gap of ten yards as he went through a sub five (4:57) first mile. As the course makes a descent in the second mile on Forbes Blvd., he expanded the lead to twenty yards and maintained it as he reached the turnaround at the race midpoint.
Actually I didn't think it was going to happen
Mutter had passed Taylor and moved into second place but as he began the gradual ascent back up Forbes Blvd. and past the two mile mark, he could not make any dent in Benson's twenty yard lead. "Actually I didn't think it was going to happen," said Mutter, the 1999 Billy Kelly champion, of his prospects. "It didn't look like it at all. At this point in time in my running life, I'm fighting the clock. If I can take care of the clock, it takes care of everything else. I got the split at two which was 10:15 which was right where I wanted to be. I was within the rhythm and staying calm. I would rather break 16 than win. I was focused entirely on that. Right before the two (mile), he was on the right and I went to the left on the yellow line. I was just watching the yellow line, keeping my head down and trying to stay inside. As I popped up I noticed I was a little closer so a little part of me said, 'Hey, you know.' Then when he looked back that was when 20 years and winning some races (set in). When he looked back I said, 'I got a shot today.'"
Mutter kept eating up pavement until he went past Benson as the duo turned onto Cabot Blvd. for the final stretch. At that point the 43 year old Mutter was cognizant that young legs are more tensile than old and the outcome was still in doubt. "He looked like a high school kid so I thought he might mark and
wait to take me out on the finish," he reasoned. "There was a real good shot that he would do that. When he turned the corner I said, 'I have to run from here to the stop sign (3 miles) as hard as I can so he doesn't get the feeling that it comes down to it cause he'll win.'" Observing that Benson "didn't offer too much resistance", Mutter won with a comfortable ten second margin.
It's great to come together and be within a such small margin of time and knowing that you all support each other
Although Famous and Blake exchanged the lead throughout the women's race and were within mere feet of each other at the finish, their focus was more on working together as a team than who would win the race. In two weeks, Famous, Blake and Wasilenko will be in Greensboro, NC. to compete for GBTC at the USATF national cross country championships and the team concept was their theme yesterday. "We all train together," said Blake, who now resides in Boston. "It's great to come together and be within a such small margin of time and knowing that you all support each other. I think we are finally getting to the point in our club where less and less it's about an individual thing and just feeling a part of the club thing, knowing that we all work together."
"It was great to do this race with Jessica and Katie (Wasilenko) because we have been training a lot together lately," added Famous. "It's fun to do races and feel like you're getting something out of the training you've been doing. It was fun to see fast times today especially running with Jess at the very end. I think we push each other a lot."
Homecoming for Blake was the opportunity to flex her running prowess, take home a trophy and showcase her GBTC friends.
It was nice to come to a local race for me to see people I know and get to introduce my friends to the running community. It's always fun to come back and bring people from another part of my life, home."