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Mark Donahue returns to New England racing with a splash

by Dan Miller

eric morse
Eric Morse approaching the finish line
photo Don Drewniak

Bedford, NH - - From 1989 through early 1991, no one in New England was running better than was Mark Donahue (Middletown, RI). Then came the Gulf War and Donahue, an officer in the US Navy, was sent to the Gulf and spent seven months onboard ship. When that assignment ended, he found himself alternately stationed in San Diego and on shipboard duty.

He returned from sea to Newport, RI this past February. According to Donahue, "I was 20 pounds overweight when I started running again. Since then I've lost 15 pounds and built up to 70 miles a week." In the process, he turned 40 and began focusing on competing as a master. Donahue won two local races in Rhode Island a couple of weeks ago and felt he was ready to test himself in a Grand Prix race. It proved to be quite a debut as a master. Donahue easily won the master's division and placed 12th overall. Three of his CMS teammates - Jim Garcia, Wayne Jacob and Geary Daniels - placed 2-3-4 in the masters division.

mimi corcoran
Mimi Corcoran relaxing after the race
photo Don Drewniak

At the Mt. Kearsarge 8.5M Hill Run held in Warner, NH two weeks earlier, Dave Dunham (Bradford, MA) pulled away from long-time CMS teammate Eric Morse (Montpelier, VT) in the late stages of the race. Dunham went on to finish 22 seconds ahead of Morse and, in so doing, took the early lead in the 1999 USATF-NE Mountain Running Circuit.

The two met again at the Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K which served this year's USATF-NE Grand Prix 12K Championship. This time Morse turned the tables. Running with a pack of six or seven, Morse made a move at 3.5-miles and only Dunham elected to go with him. By the four-mile mark, the pair had "put some space" between themselves and the pack. From then on Morse gradually opened his lead over Dunham and went on to a 10 second win. GLRR's Chris Teague outkicked Byrne Decker of CMS to take third-place.

Running in her first Grand Prix race since 1997, yet another CMS runner, Mimi Corcoran (Mendon, MA) assumed control from the outset and went on to set a women's course record of 43:56. Jill Gaitenby of the Merrimack Valley Striders and Whirlaway's Maggi Murray finished seond and third.

The final steps
photo Don Drewniak

Finishing 5th overall in the women's competition, CMS's Mary Lammi (Spencer, MA) outdistanced teammate Rebecca Stockdale-Woolley to win the women's masters' title. Peg Donovan placed third.

Other divisional winners included Patty Foltz (female senior), Larry Olsen (male senior), Barbara Robinson (female veteran) and Bill Riley (male veteran).

Teamwise, it was a big day for CMS which took four of the seven division titles: men's open; women's open; men's masters and women's masters. The men's open win gave CMS a two-point lead over the BAA. CMS is attempting to win the men's open division for an incredible 15th consecutive year, having finished first in the Grand Prix men's open competition every year since 1985. The North Medford Club placed first in the men's senior's division for the third straight time in this year's Grand Prix and, in the process, has opened up substantial lead in that division. Similarly, the Cambridge Sports Union captured its third consecutive women's seniors Grand Prix victory, while the BAA took the men's veteran's honors.

Set in a rural section of Bedford, New Hampshire, the race was run predominantly on back country roads and was exceptional well-organized by race directors Bill Gere and Brian Moyer. About the only complaints to be heard were about two factors that neither race director could do much about: (1) despite a 9:00AM start the temperature had risen into the 70's with moderate humidity; and (2) being May, being New Hampshire and being the country, it was black-fly time.

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