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home > community > viewpoint > 7th annual billy kelly 5k road race report

7th Annual Billy Kelly 5K Road Race Report

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By Robert E. Rose
Posted Saturday, 27 November, 2004

Seven minutes into Sunday's Billy Kelly 5K, Attleboro's Chris
Elgar had nudged himself into a slight lead on the rain soaked
course in the Mansfield Industrial Park. At that moment he
shouted, half in jest, half in earnest to the press truck
occupants, 'Looks like I'm back!' To make the point more
emphatic to the 201 trailing competitors, he proceeded to expand
his lead to easily win in 16:45. North Attleboro's Lynn Johnson
kept the women's title in the possession of the Greater Boston
Track Club (GBTC) with her dominating 18:35 performance.

Shirtless Ben Olsson of Boston was the race vector shortly
after it started in the Mansfield Holiday Inn parking lot. In
the initial moments he was closely shadowed by Taunton High
School juniors Ian Blatz and Nickolay Kolev and Norwell's Sam
Farber. Elgar was purposely adrift in the back waiting for his
race to begin. "Knowing the nature of high school athletes, you
get a look at them and you can tell that they are anxious to get
going," Elgar, the Canton High School track coach, said from
experience. "I just thought 'I'll hang back, wait a half mile,
three quarters of a mile and then start racing.' It's my way of
turning it into a two and a half mile race rather than 3.1. It's
a little easier to manage for me."

Elgar, last May's Attleboro Y 5K winner, bolted into the lead
shortly before the first mile mark (5:19) but his margin over
Kolev and Blatz was a thin one. That's when he stepped up the
pace. "I was doing some type of strategy, "`he said. "I think a
lot of people, especially high school kids, get a mile in and
they'll hear a fast mile split and then they might take a few
seconds to rest. I figure this would be a good time to see who's
real. So it was calculated. It was like the first mile was the
starting point. I would do a start of the race acceleration and
see who wants to go."

No one responded and from that point the gap expanded quickly.
At the race turnaround it was 30 yards and at the two mile
(10:42), seventy. One competitor, fourth place finisher Ben
Coyle of Cumberland, was the presence that galvanized Elgar to
maintain his intensity. "I knew that Ben was not trained for
5K's and had not recovered from his marathon," he said of his
fellow Wampanoag Road Runner training partner. "Most of the race
I was pretending that if Ben was well rested and Ben were
training for a 5K, he would be pushing me here. I was pretending
that if Ben was next to me, Ben would surge now. That's what I
needed to do to get through it. It worked."

In the last mile, Elgar began to wan. "I just didn't start to
feel so good," he said. "They're going to tease me about it but
I had a few drinks last night and I was feeling them. It is what
it is but I was feeling bloated the last half mile and I'm
trying to work through it. I felt like I didn't want to come
down to a last half mile because I know I would have been chewed

With a substantial lead, Elgar was still firing on all
cylinders in the last hundred meters trying to grasp one final
goal. "One of the kids I coach ran a 16:38 a few weeks ago ...
we got a little rivalry going," he said of his frentic push to
the finish. "There's a road race in the fall, the Canton
Classic, he ran a '38 that week and I ran a 16:53. I had that in
the back of mind running through the two mile mark. I knew I was
pretty close to his time ... apparently not quite good enough."

With another 5K title under his belt, can Elgar officially
declare that 'He's back? "It was a joke," he said of his mid
race outburst. "It was a way of having fun. I knew that five
more minutes in, it would become work, real work and to have a
little fun while I could."

Last year, Katie Famous, North Attleboro's Jessica Blake and
Katie Wasilenko took the first three places at the Kelly 5K for
GBTC. Johnson kept the club honor intact and did it relatively
easily as her margin over Taunton's Deirdre Ginley was over two
minutes. Neither Ginley nor third place finisher Jacquie
Cavallaro of North Attleboro were ever in contention. "Towards
the loop where you turn around, I saw her then," said Ginley a
Taunton High School sophomore, who at that point she was twenty
to thirty yards in arrears. After a 5:58 first mile, "I slowed
down after that." Cavallaro had a brief glimpse of Johnson. "In
the beginning yes until 100 yards out," she said. "Then I said,
'You got it girl!' She's too strong, she's good. I ran my best
and my best wasn't good enough."

Johnson is coming off some injuries, trying to restore her
conditioning and waiting for a better day. "I just wanted to see
where I am," she said. She'll be focusing on "indoor stuff on
the track and hopefully in the spring do a 10K." As far as
marathons, her intentions are to "take a break from that

For Johnson, her day's work wasn't completed when she crossed
the finish line. In order to put herself back into optimum
physical shape, more training is required. So shortly after the
race, she headed east to run the seven miles back to her North
Attleboro home.



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