Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Ups and Downs of the Bucksport 5k

The Bucksport 5k has a net elevation gain of 0 feet. Glancing at that statement you might believe the course is flat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Early morning rain greeted the almost 200 runners stirring in beds, in living rooms or cups of coffee. Breaking by quarter past six, humidity settled in after the hint of rain disappeared into a muggy fog. High spirits and welcoming faces greeted the runners at this small scenic town’s race. John Peckenham was on hand, delivering numbers and registration with a few stalwart sub 5 volunteers, including Peter Lodge who went on to run an 18:40!

At 7:55 the five minute to race call was made. Excited people from walking enthusiasts, beginning runners, pr chasers and wily veterans like Chris Almy all milled over the next two minutes into a sort of pecking order of expectations at the start line. Mr. Peckenham was on hand for some last minute directions and a quick thanks to the volunteers notably local timer Ryan King. With a drop of a hand and a loud "GO" off the runners went.

The course is an out and back. The first few hundred meters involve a couple of ninety degree turns. The next kilometer is a climb towards the one mile mark with a couple more sharp turns. After the mile mark there is a small, but noticeable, gradual downhill. This flattens out leading to a mark in the road and a waterstop. Here runners circle, arms swimming through gravity, a full 180 degrees on the spot! And back they go.

That gradual downhill greets you as a very noticeable gradual uphill. However, once the two mile mark is hit, it is pretty much all downhill except for one more slight gradual uphill. This downhill begrudgingly helps you, with a couple of hard turns that take wind out of your sail. The last four hundred meters involves navigating the same flat terrain marked with two ninety degree turns. At the finish line volunteers like Margaret Capehart greet you with cheers and Mr. King is busy timing and announcing runners.

Afterwards, h2o and bananas consumed, awards ceremonies commence. Jennifer Dagan wins the women’s race in an 18:12 and Caleb Lander wins the Men’s race in 16:26. In the charm running (yup I punned that) with this rustic New England 5k they win small metal figurines, about the size of match cars, of early 20th century items; almost giant Monopoly pieces. While they might not be gift certificates to Epic Sports they are redeemable reminders of the rise and run of something slightly higher in the value of its’ nature; an accomplishment.

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