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USATF NE Mountain circuit - race #2

Princeton, MA, June 1, 2005

Wachusett Mountain

by Dave Dunham

Don Drewniak wrote an account of the first Wachusett Mountain road race in the Long Distance Log. In Drewniak's account of the June 3, 1978 race, he noted "A field of 41 intrepid runners started and finished what might very well be the most difficult 4-mile race in New England." The race, which had "no entry fee, which promises to become an annual event, was sponsored by the Fitchburg YMCA and organized by Stephen Holt." The race was won by Dave Duval who "surged into a lead at the beginning on "Mile Hill Road" and maintained that advantage throughout." Duval ran 28:30 to win over Randy Hewitt who ran 30:05. A 35-year-old Peter Orni finished in 34:51 to take sixteenth place. Orni is the only finisher from the original race to finish the 2005 version. He ran to 38:09 to take place 83rd place, taking fourth in the 60+ age group (five seconds out of second in the age group).

Kara Haas (GLRR) took her first mountain running victory finishing in 30:24, which is the 8th fastest time ever run. Haas finished 17th place overall. Cathy Pearce (Whirlaway) took second in the women's category finishing 20th overall. She was first in the 40+ age group, running a 31:27, which is the 5th fastest 40+ time ever run. Pearce was followed by Suzy West (CSU) who finished third woman and second in the 40+ age group running a 32:45, which is the 7th fastest 40+ time. Jackie Luchesi was the top 50+ finisher in 47:59, and Barbara Hoffman was top 60+ with a 43:22. Hoffman's time was the 2nd fastest ever run by a woman in the 60+ age group.

Paul Low took the overall victory for the third year in a row. Low finished 26 seconds ahead of CMS teammate Kevin Tilton in 25:29. Tilton became one of only 15 people who have ever broken 26 minutes. Dave Dunham (CMS) won the 40+ title for the second year in a row with a 28:20 finishing 10th place overall. Ron Blenkhorn (CMS) took the 50+ title in 32:30, and Chuck Keating took the 60+ age group with a 35:20. Donald Dayton took he 70+ in 41:02.

The Cambridge Sports Union (CSU) won the women's team competition with 61 points to North Medford Club's (NMC) 119 points. Team scoring was based on the combined places of the top three finishers from each team. The 40+ team category was won by the same CSU team, again topping the NMC.

The Central Mass. Striders (CMS) won the team competition with a perfect score of 6 points. CMS had six finishers in the top 13. The Moose Milers took second place with 29 points. NMC won the 40+ competition with 37 points in a close battle with CMS (42 points). CMS won the 50+ team category with 81 points to NMC's 123 points. CMS also took the 60+ team victory with 121 points.

The Wachusett mountain race was the second in the six-race USATF NE Mountain circuit. After two races forty runners have completed both races. The circuit continues next week with the Pack Monadnock 10 mile. Pack is a challenging point-to-point race from Wilton NH to the summit of Pack Monadnock.

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