This was the third Melody Miles race and one would think that by the third year they would have most of the kinks worked out. I can not imagine what the first one was like. This race was a fundraiser for the local High School music department. Musicians would be playing along the course to encourage us runners. It was run through scenic Hamilton Massachusetts. Before the race started, there were some things that irked me. The race distances were 5 miles and 3.2 miles. I had planned on the 5K (3.1 miles) I asked if it was a 5K and they said no, it is a 3.2 mile race. I have never heard of any other race being that distance. The start and finish were about a half mile apart. There was some confusion on where/how to register. When we got to the start, they decided to have the wheel chair group go first (there were about 10 wheel chair participants which was great), then almost immediately they started the 5 mile group. Right away we, the 3.2 group were sent off. The race started on a very long gradual uphill. Nothing too steep, but it definitely slowed down many runners. Although I started in the front of my group (about 30 runners, one of the smallest races I’ve run), I soon had to pick my way through walkers, wheel chair races, and slower 5 mile runners. Almost from the start I decided to follow a faster 3.2 miler. My thought was to allow him to pick the best route through the slow pokes and just stay on his tail till it cleared out.
After about a half mile, I was still right behind this runner, feeling like I was holding back. The 5 mile runners split off to the right as the 3.2ers kept on straight. I looked ahead, and saw no one, except the one runner I was directly behind. After another minute, I looked back and saw no one. I was surely on the right course, as there was a high school students doing jazz improve on a solo saxophone. The runner I was following was actually running slower than I would have liked to be going. I picked up the pace and ran along side him. I said something about how we were in the lead and way out in front. I asked him what his best 5K time was. He told me some time that was significantly slower than what I knew I could run. I told him my PR, then I picked up the pace and started running solo, in first place!! Although it seemed amazing, indications were that I could actually win this race.
I made the turn and was heading back down the hill, slowly building up space between me and number 2. I was still holding back. It was an unreal experience, this is not supposed to happen. Near the corner of the road and state route 1A, where the park and finish line was set up, a high school rock band was playing All Along The Watchtower. I yelled to them that they sounded great. Number two was at 30 feet behind me and no one else was in sight.
I made the turn onto 1A. A straight flat shot to Patton Park and the finish line. I was running fast, but saving something for the end. If number two was able to catch up I was definitely going to be able to speed up. I can’t believe that I might actually win this race. When should I really put on a sprint? Where is the finish line? Had they said something about the 3.2 and 5 mile races having different finish locations? There were two high school aged kids sitting on the curb, there was some kind of wooden board there too. I slowed down and asked, where is the finish line!!?? “3.2 ends here, 5 miler is down in the park”. I stopped. That was it!!?? The race was over and I never got to make a big finish? Two kids saw my one and only victory??!! Number two finished, shook my hand and congratulated me.
The fun continued: I handed my number tag to the kids. Some 5 mile racers went by, others stopped thinking that was then end of the 5 mile race. Many 3.2 milers kept going, not realizing that this was their finish line. There was no clock, no official timing, no mile markers on the course. I was still in disbelief that I had won.
Time for prizes and recognition. The organizers had acquired a number of nice gift certificates to give as awards. They decided to award the 5 mile race first and allow each winner for each age group to come up and pick a gift certificate off the table. I started getting angry when the aged 70 and over winner (there was only one person in this category) got to go up there and take a nice prize before me. I did finally get my turn and got a $20 gift certificate to a local restaurant, so I should not complain.
1st place of 30