28th Annual Attleboro YMCA 5K Road Race
Three miles into yesterday's Attleboro Y 10K, Chris Lawrence, in passing a water table on West St, , grabbed a cup and doused himself with its contents.
Posted Sunday, 2 May, 2004
A stride later, he crumbled the cup in his hand and tossed it at a trash receptacle adjacent to the table. He missed.
Up to that point that was the only thing that Lawrence had done wrong in the race. At that moment he was holding a 125 yard lead on Mansfield's Ben Coyle and looking as if he was cruising to an easy win. Coyle, however, would make a valiant bid and almost overtake him before Lawrence quelled the insurrection to win in 36:29. Wrentham's Linda Urko took the women's race in 43:07. The 5K was won by Glenn Jones (16:02) of Lincoln RI and the women's 5K was taken by North Attleboro's Cherie Felos (22:33).
Bursting into the lead as the starting horn sounded, Lawrence, a new Mansfield resident, served quick notice that he was in charge, scattering rivals in his wake. Former Attleboro Y 10K champs, Attleboro's Larry O'Toole and Sean Hanley were relegated to the trailing pack with Coyle. Lawrence thundered through a 5:25 first mile and opened up a lead that exceeded 100 yards. Although his situation looked comfortable, the Boston Athletic Association Club member was not in top racing condition.
"My first race in a year and a half," he said. "An injury to my ankle. First time back in a long, long time. I want to see where I am right now." It was evident after a slow second mile, that Lawrence was exhibiting both rust and inconsistency from his hiatus. "The goal was to come out here and run solid
5:30's," he said. "But the first one kind of blew that and obviously the second one when I saw a six minute mile." The race stabilized during the second mile with Coyle still about 100 yards in arrears but never ceding any further ground. With Lawrence logging inconsistent third (5:45) and fourth (6:08) miles, the lead over Coyle ebbed and flowed.
It was near the five mile mark on Rathbun-Willard where Coyle narrowed the lead to ten yards as they approached the corner of Dennis St. "I heard him at five and I turned around and said Oh!," said Lawrence. "I got to start reaching. I just looked back on that turn and I saw him and Oh Geez." At that moment Coyle felt that his long perseverance would finally pay off. "When we went by the school on the second lap I thought I was going to catch him," he said. "Throughout the whole race I thought he would come back. I was looking at my splits going, 'I'm not going all that fast. Maybe I'll catch him if I get my second wind.' But when we turned that corner he had a little something for that last mile."
Lawrence bumped up the pace as they climbed Dennis St. to put the race away. "I felt a target on my back," he said. "I knew he could see me but I didn't know what he had the last mile or so. I didn't know if he had the leg speed to reel me in. If he had I would have been done." Coyle could sense his opponent's vulnerability but didn't have the resources to respond "I just didn't quite get the second wind. In my mind, he's looking back, that means he's getting tired. I guess it worked the other way today."
The women's 10K race was dominated by Urko. Second place finisher Ann Marie Soares of Seekonk and third place finisher Cindy Rice of Attleboro never saw Urko during the race and were never in contention. As what frequently occurs in that situation, Urko keyed off the men. "Man or woman you know there's people behind you so I just kept pushing," she said. "I was just trying to run as hard as I could especially with Joe (Eklind of Attleboro) in front of me. I thought we were going to run together. Used to be we were pretty neck and neck. He kept going farther and farther in front of me. I'm laughing I can't even keep him in sight. I felt comfortable the whole way especially for a hot day."
The men's 5K resembled the men's 10K in that Jones opened up an imposing lead within the first two minutes of the race. The difference was that Jones had no stalkers in the later stages of the race to contend with. " I didn't see anybody," he said. "I was hanging on for a mile. At a mile I'm going, 'Things are looking good.'" Second place finisher Chris Elgar (18:04) of Attleboro was the closest pursuer but he had to alter his strategy after Jones' initial surge. "That guy (Jones) took off and I didn't bother looking at him," he said. "I just wanted to see what I had. I mistakenly thought I had a shot at 17. I was wrong. I went out slow; went out too conservative for the time I wanted. Just wasn't able to do anything. It probably would have been useless trying to go with him. I would have died but at least rather than just sit and wait for it to happen."
Felos also had no strong challengers in the women's 5K and was surprised that her performance was so vivacious. "I stayed up until 1 o'clock in the morning last night and I didn't think I would do very well at all because I was kind of tired," she said. "There was one lady in front of me for a mile and a quarter and then I felt good and just passed her. I saw the (press) truck and I couldn't see any women between me and the truck. I just wanted to go out and push myself." Kate Maynard of Slatersville, RI made a run at Felos but couldn't pull it off. "She was my target but I never quite caught her," she said. "I couldn't reel her in. No matter how hard I tried."
Felos spent the majority of the race running solo which for a mother of five children had a subtle benefit. "When you're a mother of small children and you have trouble going to the bathroom by yourself, running by yourself is a treat."