Ruben Sanca and Amanda Nurse win 10-mile Yankee Homecoming race

Amanda Nurse female champion

Ruben Sanca male champion

(Newburyport MA) Ruben Sanca and Amanda Nurse captured titles in the 59th Yankee Homecoming 10-mile race on Tuesday night.

Both titlists won by over a minute under warm but breezy conditions.  The race starts and ends at Newburyport High School.

The 10-mile race was interesting to watch in the early going because a 5K race with 1631 entrants started on the same route ten minutes earlier.

Despite the ten-minute head start, one mile into the race the best of the 10-milers started to overtake 5K stragglers.

I annually position myself one mile into the race on High Street near the Cushing Museum.  Trying to get an unobstructed picture of the leading 10-milers is always a challenge with runners from both races intermingling.

Dan O’Flynn leads at one mile and will win the 5K event

I did get a good look, however, at the leaders of the 5K race. Actually, I should say leader because Dan O’Flynn of Ipswich had a nice lead at one mile.

Ruben Sanca (1967) follows the motorcycle.

Amanda Nurse at the Cushing Museum

Winners in either the 5K or the 10-mile race are ALWAYS in/near the front after a mile.  That held true today for Dan O’Flynn, Ruben Sanca, and Amanda Nurse.

After I see the runners from both races at one mile, I walk back to Newburyport High School to catch the top runners in the 10K.

Two things I noticed about the ten mile race; one before the race and the other later when I checked the results.  First, the gap between finishers was large.  Ruben Sanca won by over a minute.  The gap between 3rd and 4th was 2 ½ minutes!  I can recall a race, that finished in the back, where three runners were all within sight battling for the win in the last fifteen yards.

Second was that there wasn’t a single top-ten repeater from last year in this year’s race.  How does that happen?  We’re talking a complete turnover in a race that pays money!

I hoped to chat with the men’s winner afterwards, but he had left.  At 6’2” I think I would have spotted him if he was anywhere nearby.

After seeing my one-mile pictures, I might have asked if he had brought a runner along to help him set a fast pace in the early going.  My picture of Ruben at one mile has a runner with him who never finished.  Maybe the other runner went out too fast?  Maybe he was a pace setter?

Amanda Nurse

I did track down Amanda Nurse, who was the women’s winner.  This was Amanda’s first time in the race.  She had been to Newburyport before but only to visit the waterfront.  She was treating the race as a training event as she prepares to run the Berlin Marathon in Europe in September.  I asked her how she won the race (27th overall): “I started out with one other woman and then I just found a pack of men that I was able to stay with.  I averaged something like 5:55 for the first half.  I started to feel a little tired when I hit that first hill (up from the Chain Bridge rotary).  I just stuck with it and started to separate from some people.  I ran on my own for the last three miles.”

I mentioned the turnover of runners in the 10-mile race.  One of the runners, Justin Freeman, who finished 7th, was the winner in the 2011 YH 10-miler that I covered.

There were 1631 starters in the 5K and it seems to draw a good collection of local runners.  I found three schools (Amesbury, Triton, Pentucket) with runners (Brian Abel, Colin Brennan, Peter Lopata, Will Coppola) near the front.

I did homework on some of the top finishers.

Ruben Sanca – from Cape Verde and is training for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, put into the UMass Lowell Hall of Fame in 2017, runs for Whirlaway.

Dan Vassallo – business consultant at Gravoc in Peabody, runs for Central Mass Striders.

Garrett Kenyon – ran at Creighton University.

Jason Reilly – from Rhode Island, 114th in Boston Marathon.

Jerry Lanning – went to Colorado State, runs for the Greater Boston Track Club.

Mark Hegarty – went to Springfield Cathedral and UMass Lowell, runs for Whirlaway.

Eric Mendoza – history teacher in Boston, went to Gonzaga, runs for the Greater Boston Track Club.

Jackie Solimine – 2nd woman in 10-mile, named UMass Lowell’s scholar/athlete of the year in 2017, finished with 3.88 GPA majoring in mechanical engineering, runs for Whirlaway.

McGrath Bissaillon – went to Providence, father coaches Amesbury track (?).

Chris Mahoney – went to UMass Amherst, is a biopharmaceutical scientist, runs for the Central Mass Striders.

Race Results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Amanda Nurse nears the finish line

Ruben Sanca heads for the finish

Justin Freeman leads the way over several top-ten finishers at one mile in the 10-mile race

Jackie Solimine – 2nd female, 10 mile race

Caroline Turner – 3rd female 10 mile race

Brian Abel (2), Colin Brennan (224), Peter Lopata (1310), Will Coppola (2651)

Joe Rand, Steve Dowsett, Eric Salvo 5K runners

Dan O’Flynn

Heather Page finishes the 5K



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