Despite the step up in distance, Week 4’s run to Woburn and back was a welcome relief from the previous 3 weeks due in large part to the weather. About 25 runners met at Brueggers to kick of the run, and with a “Does everyone know where they’re going” and a “GO!” from Barry we were off to W Wyoming Ave. It was obvious in the first few steps that this week would be different than the last, with temperatures in the 70s and no humidity to hamper us the group took off at a brisk pace. Tom Gorman took off like a shot leading the way. Mary, Joe and others pulled ahead while I settled in with my small pack for the day, Billy and Kristen. As we passed Grimsby’s and headed up the short but very steep hill that brings us to Spot Pond SueW came running against our traffic to join the crowd. We questioned her logic, why run down this hill to join us only to have to run back up it, we all confessed we would have just stood at the top and waited to joinÂ in there. Now 26 runners strong, we meandered to water stop 1 where Barry rehydrated the crew.
The next leg took us down Forest St into Winchester, and across Cross St to Woburn. Here we passed MaryAnn and AudreyH’s crew ofÂ “scenic routers”Â who started at the water stop to run the more interesting parts of the run. Once in Woburn a few quick turns and we were at Horn Pond and water stop 2… well most of us anyway. The “Wrong Way Corrigan” award of the Fall 2010 Sunday Long Run goes to Tom Gorman who did run to a pond off of Rte 38, just not the pond we were running to. Barry’s initial concern was that Tom had run so fast that he beat Barry to the water stop but instead Tom was quickly standing at Wedge Pond in Winchester Center.
The rest of us circled Horn Pond, not finding any of the usual characters that are often seen there, muscle guy, the waver, and Jimmy the bartender. The swans, heron, steep hill, and planet markers were there though, and my pack experienced all of them before heading back across Cross St. This section of the run ended with the climb up Forest St to water stop 3 (the same as water stop 1).Â At the base of the hilly climb I reminded the runners that there are at least 3 distinctive climbs in this run and not to attack the first 2 because the third is the longest and hardest. Conversation ended, Kristen took the lead, Billy tucked in behind and we marched up the long mile plus ascent to the water stop. As if the hills weren’t bad enough we also endured the first fresh road kill of the 2010 Fall season, a little chipmunk who was the only thing in worse shape than us at that time. Then we endured a barking dog who picked Billy out as the person to lunge at. In the end we all made it to the top. Another drink and a little snackÂ and we were on our way.
The last stretch took us through Stoneham. Since we had finished the big hill we settled into a reasonable pace and further introduced ourselves to each other. One of the benefits of a long run is the hours you spend learning about other people. Franklin Street took us in to Melrose where Kristen announced she had just run further than she had ever run before. Congrats Kristen, and I hope that remains a recurring event over the next 10 weeks!
Back at Brueggers we settled in for coffee and bagels, recounting our tales from the road, and checking off another successful long run.