Saturday marked the 10th or 11th running of the Don’t Run Boston 50K held anually in the Blue Hills Reservation South of Boston. The Blue Hills Reservation is a federal reserve which contains quite a network of intermingled trails. Every time I have gone to the Blue Hills I have run the same route, The Skyline Traverse. What a pleasant thought it was to be able to explore the park a little more.
Just 6 days after surrendering at 100 Miles at McNaughton park, my plan was to head to the Blue Hills to say hello to many old friends, put some more faces to names and just enjoy the day at New Englands first of the year Ultra-Marathon. By no means did I plan on running the entire race as running here at all was an added treat to my current recovery. I showed up at the Houghton’s Pond parking lot and saw many of the runners all ready there! I pulled in and immediately gave my good friend Paul Kearney (RunLongVT) a welcome hug and a Long Trail Blackberry Wheat. I then saw Ryan Prentiss who I hadn’t seen since Stonecat and offered him the same type of frosty brew for when they completed the day.
The runners all started coming over and contributing their additions to the community aid station pile. All of your typical aid stations foods were present. I contributed water and gummy bears, the small price of admission. As we huddled around for the pre-race meeting, Steve Pero pointed out to us all that I had run 100 Miles the weekend before to which I added that if anyone found me on the trail to just drag me aside so no one trips on me.
As the race started I tried to hang with Paul at a leisurely pace. It was pretty evident early on that Paul was running MUCH faster than I. So I yielded to his desires and let him head out on his way. Thank god I did because in the end, Paul finished the race in 2nd place with a time of 6:21! WAY TO GO PAUL! I hung back with Chris Martin, Craig Wilson, Damon Lease and Jamie Mialkowski. We were all running a comfortable laid back pace and this is all I really wanted to do.
The Blue HIlls trail network is home to some nasty gnarly trails. Rocks, roots, briars taking over the trails and many many short steep ups and downs. It was like reliving last weekends nightmare all over again except for the missing mud. Though, I admit.. I did not miss it! The reason I wanted to follow Paul was because he had a map. Once he took off, it was pretty evident that I had no idea where to go, and thankfully the group of runners I was with were veteran to this race. RD Howie even ran some with us. I really enjoyed the company.
As the sun continued to rise over the horizon, the heat really got crankin out on the trails. A light breeze blew across the tops of the baren knobs, and in the woods the heat continued to get rise. On the overly rocky sections, the heat coming off of the rocks was intense! Temps rose into the mid 60’s by mid race with much hotter temps on the rocks. I loved it, as heat (and humidity when available) are my favorite conditions to run in. It was nice to get dirty, dusty and down right sweaty. These are the conditions I long for!
After cresting out onto the Skyline Trail, I knew the course to the 13 Mile mark by heart. Chris and I ran together as I really took it to the rocky downhills, as I continue to prepare for Massanutten Mountain. I Love rocks, they don’t scare or intimidate me one bit and this was pretty evident through the ease of which I coasted across them. As we reached the 13 mile Aid station, I let Howie know that I had had enough fun and would be heading home. Chris had run 3 miles earlier and was dorpping at 16. Craig and Jamie went ahead with Damon as they dropped out later. Damon went on to finish.
While standing at the Aid Station, we noticed Bob Mathes come in with Chris Haley. Chris had fallen somewhere on Blue Hill and broke his pinky. The bone had actually pierced through the skin. Bob (a Doctor) moved the pinky back into a more normal position, cleaned it up and taped Chris up for his trip to the hospital. I certainly hope he is well as well as his little finger. He didn’t even appear to be in any pain.. quit a tough dude. Way to go Chris!
So.. 13.5 miles total in just over 3 hours. Probably about 2,800′ of elevation gain in the short distance. Some great training on rugged terrain, I got to hang with some great folks and see some people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Just a great race all around. Next time I hope to show up rested and run a little further in this classic New England, Grass Roots, bare bones ultra.
Un Official Race Results
Times truncated to the minute
1. Bob Mathes, NH 6:04
2. Paul Kearney, VT 6:21
3. Jeff List, MA 6:26
4. Garry Harrington, NH 6:35
5. Chris Shanley, MA 6:44
6. Steve Pero, NH 6:45
7. Ryan Prentiss, MA 6:57
7. Thomas Mikkelsen, MA 6:57
9. Damon Lease, VT 8:54