by Paul Thompson
After a training stint the previous weekend in Boulder, Colorado with teammate Carlo Agostinetto and Dr. Stuart Weitzman working his magic on the IT band I had high expectations for this year’s Scotland Run. My target was 32 and change, even if the change was 59 seconds. As I ran down the west side of the park as part of my 4 mile warm-up, Shamala having dropped me off at Marcus Garvey Park in South Harlem, I saw rival Hector Rivera. Hector and I ran the exact same race in 2005 and this time the same few seconds would separate us at the finish.
My NYRR race results history reveals I’ve done this race almost every year since I started competing in NYRR races in early 2005. I ran it for the first time in April 2005, my third ever race in the city, barely 6 months after Sham and I moved here from South East Asia in October 2004. Being British I feel connected with it, more than any other NYRR race. The bagpiping boosts the adrenalin. Just before the start they piped ‘Flower of Scotland’, the national anthem.
I was back in the front corral, after a several months long hiatus, sporting a two digit race tag, 52 (more on that later). I was barely ten seconds behind the leaders at the mile mark. The clock showed 4:57. Either I’d gone out too fast – I needed to average 5:19 minutes per mile to get under 33 minutes – or NYRR had misplaced the mile markers. At mile 2 the clock showed 10:30 suggesting no irrational exuberance on my part.
The northern hills and buffeting winds, coming at you from all directions, took their toll. I passed the 3 mile marker in 15:40 and 5K in around 16:15, faster than my finish time at the Washington Heights 5K. I was trading places with Bobby Asher, Hector Rivera and Matthew Lacey. The clock at 4 miles showed 21:20 – NYRR’s mile markers appeared back on track – and at 5 miles 26:20. 32 something was on the cards.
In the closing mile or so Hector, Bobby and Matthew started to pull away from me. And then Oz Pearlman glided by. As the finish line came into view I could see 32:4.. But as I stepped onto the finishers mat I could see 33:0.. So near yet so far. Yet I was happy with that. My 33:02 was 3 seconds faster than my 2014 result. It secured me 22nd overall, 1st M45-49, 2nd masters overall to Hector and top male age grade with 92.23%. It was deja vu for Hector and I – he was the same 10 seconds or so ahead of me as he was in 2005 though age had slowed us both.
Overall the Warren Street team did well. At the time of initially posting this story the website results excluded someone with my no. 52 tag appearing in the live tracking. Now that NYRR have corrected the results the team are showing 4th and 1st respectively in the open and masters mens divisions. Sam Lynch led the team home in 4th in 31:05, Max Hyams (M1-19) and Danny Tateo (M50-54) won their respective divisions, and Carlo bagged a PR of 34:15. More race pictures are here thanks to Steven Waldon.