Today was the latest running, the latest version of the Queens 50K, held in Alley Pond Park. The weather was good for running, although a bit chilly with temps in the low 40's, and an overcast sky. A little spotty light rain came after about the 4-hour mark as well. But I do like chilly weather for running, and was probably the only person there in just shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.
We ran exactly 8 loops of a course of approximately 3.88 rolling/hilly miles. It started at the same location as the second-day course of the Pioneer Memorial 3-day race last year, and started by heading up the same hill. But at the top it takes a right turn instead of a left and follows a path that eventually leads to the old Vanderbilt Motorway. This was an early private roadway built by the Vanderbilt family in the early 20th century, and was even the site of some of the first automobile races, with speeds reportedly reaching up to 50 mph! Today it's a bike/running/walking path. Our course used a little of over a mile of the roadway as an out-and-back. It's quite a rolling terrain, with a particularly noticeable uphill coming back after the turnaround. After retracing our steps we resumed the Pioneer course around the clearing and back to the start/finish.
There was a good turnout, not huge in numbers, about 35-40 people, but were huge in spirit. A lot of the regulars were there, and it was good to see them again (too many to mention here), and some newcomers ran strong as well, at least new to BUS races. In fact, even though I had a lead early on, one of those newcomers was right on my tail the first 3 laps, then ahead of me, and kept extremely close through the first 6 laps before he slowed down, allowing me to take the win in 3:33:56. This newcomer, Dennis Ball, finished second. He had run the North Face 50 in Washington last year, and is signed up for Leadville this year, so he's one to watch. Third place was Tim Henderson, finishing under four hours, with Brennan Wysong not far behind him. On the women's side, Alicja Barahona finished first, one week after returning from her win in a mountain race in Africa. Susan Warren took second and Amanda Goddard third.
Richie put on another excellent race, and was supported by the best volunteers, so thanks to all of them. And thanks to Julie and Lydia for the ride, to Tim for the Badwater pictures, and to all for their spirit and encouragement. I hope to see most of this group again at the awards brunch on April 11!