I know, it’s been days since the races, but I was there and have some commentary and pictures to share.
The races? The Newburyport Yankee Homecoming 5K and 10 mile.
Those races started ten minutes apart on Tuesday night.
I think I have given coverage five times. I did not do last year’s
My strategy is to set myself up at the one-mile mark (Cushing Museum) and get a good look at both races there. I have learned that the leaders lead early and late-run surges don’t happen. The good runners have a fast pace that they maintain for the whole race.
So, I see both races into one mile of their race. Then I get to Newburyport High School to catch the end of the 10-mile race. Can’t get back fast enough for the end of the 5K but I’m quite sure that within my pictures from the one-mile location I will have most of the top finishers in the 5K.
Speaking of pictures, I was happy with the ones at the one-mile mark but those at the finish were disappointing. The sun at NHS was right in my face so I tried to adjust the speed and ended up way too slow. Runners and slow camera speed are a bad combo.
If I were titling this story I might try: “While the Pat’s away the mice will play.” I thought it would apply nicely to the 5K race.
Why? “Pat” Fullerton has won that race four straight years with impressive times. No sign of him this year so the race wasn’t for second place this time around. Somebody different would get the win.
Pentucket graduate Sam Coppola took advantage of the situation. Sam finished a distant 8th in 2016 but this time he chopped forty-six seconds off his time. With all of those ahead of him in the 2016 race missing, Sam got himself a nice win.
Abu Kebede Diriba, like Sam, was the only returnee from the top eight in the 10-mile race. Abu wasted little time taking this race over. He had a 20-yard lead at the one-mile mark and gave back some of that spread by race’s end but he could well have been coasting in the late stages. Abu (connected to the West Side Running Club in NYC) was second in 2016. He was over a minute slower this time around but the competition probably had a play in it.
The best closing race was for second among the 10-mile women. Salome Kosgei held off Liz Ryan but just barely.
Speaking of “barely,” you couldn’t help but notice the footwear of 10-mile winner April Sabadosa……it didn’t exist. The 33-year old from Westfield (MA) ran the race WITHOUT footwear! She claimed, according to the Newburyport Daily News, that running shoeless feels comfortable and natural. Maybe on the beach but ten miles? However, it worked for Apryl as she finished 25th overall.
Jaclyn Solimine killed the women’s field in the 5K winning that relatively short race by 1:25. Jaclyn is from Haverhill and recently graduated from UMass Lowell. Jaclyn was 15th overall in the 5K.
Jason Ayr was 2nd in the 10-mile and Eric Ashe 3rd. Jason is a UMass grad who finished 29th in the last Boston Marathon. Eric is a BU graduate.
Ryan Place was 4th in the 10-mile. He graduated from Allegheny College and was an All-American there. He was 26th in the 2017 Boston Marathon.
AJ Ernst (5th in 10-mile) is the North Shore running phenom from Marblehead (MA) who just finished his sophomore year at Virginia. He led the Magicians to state track titles his senior year.
The next three ten-mile finishers (Robert Espinoza, Dan Smith, Nicolai Naranjo) all run for the Western Mass Distance Project. WMDP placed five in the top ten finishers. Jason Ayr (2nd) and Kevin Quadrozzi (10th) are part of the same organization.
Alexander Arslan (9th) is a Running Brand specialist at Mizuno USA in Syracuse.
The 2nd place finisher in the women’s 5K was Salome Kosgei. Salome came to the US from Kenya in 2004 thanks to a scholarship from Iona College in New York.
Liz Ryan who finished 3rd for the second straight year graduated from Brown in 2013. She trained for six months in Panama.
Newburyporter Sam Acquaviva got second in the 5K. The Clipper senior-to-be can easily be expected to dominate the 2017-18 Cape Ann League in cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track.
I hope I have this right: The 3rd place 5K finisher was Will Coogan of Exeter. Will was on the Phillips Exeter JV squad this year. The 15-year-old may have had the race of his young life.
Bekah Broe was second to Apryl Sabadosa in the 10-mile. Bekah, from Newton (MA), is an assistant product manager with New Balance.
Sarah Hjelmstad of Wilmington (MA) followed Bekah. Sarah runs with the Wilmington Sole Sisters.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)