I feel so fortunate I saw the course preview and pre-ran the course before tackling this race!! Man, it is a tough one and so I’m thankful I knew what to expect! Congratulations to all the runners who showed up “with some guts, because cross country is not for the weak of heart!!” (excerpt from Millennium pre-race email)
This 5k course (2 miles for the HS races) runs the traditional Cross Country Course for NH High School state meets and it is challenging. Ski lift = hills!
“Thowback” X-C singlet. We voted on design!
Arriving at 2:00 p.m., I watched the high school waves before my wave at 3:00. It was a hoot to warm-up cheering for the students… then race my wave… then warm-down supporting the last wave. It was cautionary, hearing the hard breathing on the uphill start, plus accentuated the focus and effort we all put in and the relief and ebullience when done.
This was my 10th Millennium race in 2015 and even in this venue, Millennium provided their fantastically outstanding details and race organization. For a fun twist, we got to vote on the race shirts a few weeks ago! They were a bright version of a throwback x-c singlet (first 400 5K registrants) and my choice won! My women’s medium felt wonderful and dry to change into post-race!
Derryfield with Uncanoonuc Mountains. Start is at the very bottom
It’s a wide starting line and grass uphill start which “gets you gassed” (pre-race announcements from John Mortimer). I made sure I did a little uphill in warm-up getting ready and got a “hi” from TV 9 sports director Jamie Staton announcing near the start.
The second mile is trail and a tough climb with loose rocks and I exchanged a hello with Gloucester All Terrain runner, Freddi Pare. We emerged from the woods to McIntyre ski area at 1.5 miles and as I looked up, I had been chasing none other than 2011 World Mt Running Champion Kasie Enman who was preparing for her wave!! Seeing her just ahead on the steepest part of the climb felt like a honor 🙂
McIntyre ski lift. Ski lift = hills!
We “face a 95 foot climb over the next .4 to the top of Tower Hill at 1.9 miles,” then flew downhill, described as… “the last mile starts with a big drop, from the top of Tower Hill to the bottom of Reservoir Ave you lose 190 feet in 7/10ths of a mile.” Kasie peeled off-course and kindly alerted me so I didn’t inadvertently follow. I yelled back “thanks, you’re a superstar, Kasie!!!!”
I smiled about “running around the door” which stood out there at the corner of the field and mentally prepared for the grassy uphill again and around the tree before the final boomerang shot to the finish line!! I crossed, hitting my watch and was immediately greeted by friends. I grabbed a water and Millennium also offered Powerade, Portland Pie Pizza, Stonyfield Yogurt and fruit, but I instinctively headed to the results which are broadcast on 2 big screens. Freddi and I were psyched to see we were 1st & 3rd female masters in our wave!!!! YAY!! We were very excited and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment!
Finish line, NH XC Festival
For warm down, I ran to my car a few times (d’oh, brains are mush post-race… talk to people… Freddi and I try to figure out if we’re supposed to wait for awards… put on dry singlet… ) and back to 3-4 spots on the course to cheer on the competitive wave, USATF-NE All Terrain Series/Cross Country Grand Prix.
Afterwards, the post race celebration was at Shaskeen on Elm Street to hang with friends.
Race Results are posted here. 24:24, 5th female in my wave of 263 runners! Perry pointed out that he saw my name on the “leaderboard” … monumental!
Millennium Points Chase standings were updated last night and holy cow I moved up to 3rd female overall after this race!! I just hoped to hold on as 1st Female Master. I got very lucky and I feel very appreciative and surprised, but won’t get used to it with 7 races remaining.
I read that from the proceeds of this NH X-C Festival, Millennium Running is underwriting the cost of the NHIAA High School Cross Country Championships in October and the State XC Banquet in December.