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XTERRA Merrimack River Trail Race - 17th Ann.

Andover, MA, April 12, 2008

17th Rivah race!

by double-d

James Pawlicki powering to the finish line
James Pawlicki powering to the finish line
The 17th annual XTERRA Merrimack River Trail Run was deemed a success by race director Stephen Peterson as "no one got SERIOUSLY hurt and everyone stayed on course". The rains stopped just in time for registration and the lucky 183 runners who ignored the earlier gloomy weather were treated to a beautiful day. Some runners took minor spills and a couple took spectacular spills on the slick bridges that crossed some of the bigger streams. Kevin Tilton was not slowed by the knee deep water at 2.5 miles as he sped to 11th fastest time ever run. Only four other runners have ever traversed the hilly, muddy, scenic and sometimes very fast 10 miles along the banks (and high above the banks) of the mighty Merrimack River. Tilton's margin of victory of 4:02 over teammate James Pawlicki (Central Mass. Striders) was the second largest gap recorded in the races history. Sarah Thompson was the women's winner, beating Team Gloucester's Jenn Brooks by 2:45.

Master's record holder Dan Verrington (CMS( was again the 40+ victory, taking the measure of teammate and training partner Dave Dunham (CMS). Verrington who was recovering from a recent lung infection hung back in the early going. He took the lead just before the 7 mile mark and stormed by four runners to take fourth place overall. His time ranks fourth fastest ever for a 40+ runner. Long-time Rivah runner Matthew Curran (Team Gloucester) scored the only record of the day. He knocked nearly 2 minutes off the 50+ record with his fine 1:07:15. Phillip Dunn (Team Gloucester) was the 60+ champion, running the 6th fastest for his age category. Richard Busa (WMAC) was top 70+ and for the first time had company as Paul McDermott (NMC) became only the second 70+ to finish the race.

On the ladies side, Dawn Heinrich (WMM) took the victory. She finished 1:17 ahead of Meghan Lytton (Lincoln, MA) in the 40+ category. Lisa Doucett running in her 8th Rivah, took the 50+ title with the 5th fastest time ever.

The Central Mass. Striders dominated the team category with a perfect 6 points. The CMS men placed 11 runners in the top 16 including the first five places overall.

Although the numbers were slightly down this year (48 fewer than in 2007) the hardiest of hardy were on hand. Tom Sepidel ran his 17th consecutive Rivah, the only runner to have competed in every race. Scott Spence finished his 15th. Rick Ciolino, Dave Dunham, Ben Nephew, and Rob Smith all joined the "100 mile club" finishing their 10th Rivah.

Thanks to sponsors of the event and all of the volunteers who make the race happen!

Video of the start:

More video and pictures to follow. Check below for updated stuff....

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