Eliot Festival Day 5kThe Eliot Festival Day 5k was this morning in Eliot, Maine. The field was not quite as deep this year, but still saw a record setting winning time of 14:16. Pat Tarpy of Providence (formerly of Yarmouth) beat the field by almost a minute. Casey Moulton and Ethan Hemphill came through in 15:12 and 15:18 to round out the top 3. Rehima Kedir and Reba Naser of Ethiopa won the women’s race, coming in right behind me in the low-mid 16:40s. Kristen Barry was third in 17:14.

There was no team award this year, but Dirigo would have won it had there been one. Everybody that came down on both the men’s and women’s side went home with cash or hardware. Josh Zolla missed breaking 16 minutes by 6 seconds. Bill Mariski and Tom Ryan were the first masters runners in 16:19 and 16:20. I was a short ways behind them in 16:38, failing to catch PR Racing’s TJ Hesler.

The course has a short uphill start followed by a long, perfectly graded downhill mile that leads to really fast starting times. The pack that I was running in came through in about 5:07, and we were about 15 or 20 seconds behind the leaders. The second mile is mostly flat, continuing through the early part of the third mile, which is uphill. The hill crests a little less than a half mile from the finish, which is very fast and very downhill. There is a net drop of probably 5 to 7 feet or so for the whole course.

The weather was perfect for running. It was in the low 40s, sunny, and there was no wind outside the first mile where almost everybody was able to tuck in behind the tall guys. At least, that’s what I did.

The food after the race was better than average, but nowhere near the spread that I had heard stories about in years past. There were plenty of bagels, chowder and deserts, but there were no grilled ribs or chicken.

The team awards were cancelled for some reason this year, which may have led to a decline in how competitive the race was. There Maine Marathon tomorrow and the 10 mile Apple Harvest Ramble in Harvard in the USATF NE Grand Prix also contributed to the lack of people travelling to the race. The reasons I was told for there being no team award was that they had not set up a field for team name on Active.com, where they accepted online registration.

Other than that, though, the race was well organized and I plan on running it again next year. It is a very fast course.

(Full ResultsRace Photos)