|The beginning of the end of my|
Run to Fall
[Photo courtesy of GSTS]
Northwood, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Two races in a row right in my backyard (sort of) makes up for the 2 hour trips to race all corners of New England. For the past several years the Dunn's have made the short 30 minute drive to Coe Brown Northwood Academy for the annual Run To Fall 5k XC race. I enjoy the relaxed low key atmosphere, seeing local aR teammates, and racing a sport (XC) that I don't get a chance to race much. The course is a reverse figure 8 that repeats sections but never in the same direction. Last year was the first year of this new modified course. But it might as well have been the first time because I really didn't remember it too well. What I did remember was that we'd be running the backstretch of the course on the first and last lap but in opposite directions. One hundred sixty eager runners lined up on the 100 meter wide starting line and with a starters pistol we were sent sprinting across the baseball outfield to a 15 meter wide opening to the double-track gravel trails. I typically get off the line pretty well and by the entrance to the trail network was well within the Top 5. The first mile is a net descent and can be deceptively fast. My 5:49 seemed exactly where I wanted to be and my Top 10 position after the first mile was also spot on. The lead pack separated quite quickly and I was left to race with a handful of other folks. After the first 'trail loop' we were back on the track for the backstretch before heading back into the trail network. As I approached the backstretch turn I noticed cones marking a cut through on the grass field to the exit of the track. My nearest competitor was roughly 20 meters ahead and continued on the track and the backstretch turn. For some odd reason my brain reasoned (in a millisecond) that he must have missed this cut across and was running off course. I stepped off the track into the grass infield and cut off the backstretch turn (probably 10-15 seconds of running). When my competitor and I reached the exit of the track he was directly in front of me. In the time that it took for me to run that 50 meters or so I surmised that I was in fact the one who had run off course and had cut the turn. Assuring him I knew my mistake I told him to stay in front of me because I was going to DQ myself at the end. Knowing that I had screwed up but not wanting to waste the effort I continued to race. My junior competitor fell back a bit in this last mile and I raced back and forth with another 40+ runner only to have him run away from me with less than a 1/4 mile to go. I crossed the finish line in 19:08 (6:10's), 7th overall, and 3rd 40+. But all was for not as I reported my error and DQ'd myself to my teammate and RD Tim Cox. Despite my boneheaded mistake I did win a $20 state inspection in the raffle. I love this race.
NEXT UP: Reach The Beach Relay