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Week 6 – Winchester Highlands

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

Last Week – I sent you all off to run to Saugus, where the half runners turned around and came back and the long runners headed for the Wakefield entrance to Breakheart. I’m not sure what happened when they got there, as a little snow and freezing temperatures made for some slippery steps. Whatever they did, they all came back to Melrose eventually, settling in for an afternoon of Super Bowl watching where the local team pulled off another championship.

This Week – We’ll head out to Winchester for one of my favorite routes.

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Start – Heading north on Main Street, we’ll leave Melrose by taking a left on Franklin Street. Following this up a hill into Stoneham, we’ll run past their high school, past a Dunkin Donuts, to a set of lights where we’ll turn left on to Summer Street. Summer will wind over to Main Street in Stoneham, where you’ll cross over onto Marble Street. Marble takes you to an overpass of I-93 into Winchester where the road turns in to Forest Street. On your left you’ll find the water stop on the corner of Eugene Drive.

Half Finish – The half route runners will turn back over I-93 to a set of lights on the corner of Park Street. There they’ll turn right which will take them over to Friendly’s in Stoneham. Cross Main Street and continue straight to Pond Street, past the Stone Zoo and turning left to stay on Pond Street down to Grimsby’s. To get your 8.2 miles in you’ll turn left at Grimsby’s onto the Lynn Fells Parkway, running past Melrose High School, and turning right on Melrose Street, and another quick right onto Main Street to finish up at Brueggers.

Full 2 – After leaving the water stop to continue on Forest Street, runners will turn left on Highland Ave towards Winchester Hospital. As you approach the hospital, turn left onto Reservoir Road. This will bring you up to the edge of the Middlesex Fells, with a view of Winchester’s North Reservoir. As the road becomes Hillcrest Parkway, enjoy the views as this will be the prettiest street you run on a MRC Sunday Run. The road will eventually bring you back to Highland Ave where you’ll turn left. You’ll reach a 5-way intersection where you’ll continue straight across to stay on Highland Ave. At the end of Highland you’ll find a water stop.

Full 3 – Leaving the water stop, turn right on to Main Street in Winchester. You’ll run up to a rotary, as you circle it counterclockwise you’ll pass a little spur street and then turn on the second street to stay on Main Street. There is a sign for Symmes Farm Historical Site as a landmark to tell you you’re on the right road. Stay to the right side of the street, as you’ll come to a fork where Main goes left, you want to stay right to run on to Washington Street. Washington will take you to another 5 way intersection. Cross Mt Vernon Street and stay to the right to keep on Washington Street. If you run past Winchester High School you went the wrong way. Washington will eventually take you to Forest Street, the Gingerbread Construction Company will be the landmark to note that its time to turn. Go right on Forest and climb up a series of hills to get back to the water stop at Eugene.

Full 4 – Leaving the water stop you’ll go over I-93 and turn right at the lights on to Park. Run to Friendly’s and turn right on to Main Street/Fellsway West. This will take you over I-93, past the Sheepfold, under I-93 to Elm Street where you turn left. Elm will take you up to a rotary where you go left and find Flynn Rink. The final water stop will be in the skating rink parking lot.

Full Finish – To finish up the long run continue on Woodland Road to Pond Street, where you turn right to make your way down to Grimsby’s. Continue straight onto West Wyoming and run to Main Street in Melrose. Turn left and finish up at Brueggers.

AltHalf Finish – The alternate half route runners should have followed the Full 2 and Full 3 sections. After that you still have a few miles more before finishing. Go with the full route runners onto Forest to the set of lights where you turn right onto Park. When you get to Friendly’s turn left on Main Street. Main will take you to the intersection with Marble Street where you turn left. Marble will take you back over I-93 to Eugene Drive where you can carpool back.

Water Stops – Hank, Tom, and I can handle this, but if anyone wants to help us out, let me know.

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 5 – We’re Still Here

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Last Week – Many of our longer route runners went off to Lynn to run the Stew Chase. Back in Melrose a majority of the runners ran the half route, while only 4 stopped by Hank at Straw Ppint.

This Week – Many of our runners will be off to Cambridge to run in the Super Sunday 5k. Our run is on Super Bowl Sunday and much to the dismay of most of the country, the local team is once again proving they’re doing something right because their right back in it for the third time in a row. That’s something only the Dolphins in the 70s (3x) and Bills in the 90s (4x) have accomplished. It will be their 11th Super Bowl appearance, three more than the next most successful franchises: Steelers, Cowboys, and Broncos. In the spirit of successes, let’s have a successful Sunday Long Run.

The Route – I’ve thought about the route quite a bit this week. Frankly there are no completely clear spots to run. There is a light layer of snow and ice everywhere. I’ve decided to stick with the original route, running through Breakheart, but runners should run the flatter side of Breakheart out and back. The hills are likely too slippery so anyone daring enough to run those is… daring. For those running short you have the option of starting the run at the corner of the Lynn Fells and Main Street in Saugus for a run up to Breakheart and back.

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Start – The run this week begins up Main Street merging right onto Green Street at the lights at Ell Pond. At the next lights, turn right onto the Lynn Fells Parkway. Take that to the first set of lights where you’ll turn left onto Main Street in Saugus. For those running short, look for a water stop near the corner of Howard Street. For those running long continue straight up Main Street as it becomes Farm Street and turn in to the Wakefield High School Parking Lot for a water stop. If you’re running the alternate short route, jump in at the half route water stop and follow the long runners to Wakefield High School.

Half Finish – The half route turns onto Howard and follows that back to Green Street where runners will veer left on to Green and merge back onto Main Street. Finish up at Brueggers and get ready for some football.

Full 2 – The full route and the alternate half route runners will leave Wakefield High School, running up past the Voc and entering Breakheart. Turn left for the flatter side of Breakheart and carefully make your way to the little beach at the pond. Stay to your left to make your way along the outer loop to the Headquarters. Turn around and come back that way and pop out of Breakheart at the Voc. Make your way back down the hill to the Wakefield High School water stop.

Full Finish – From here you leave the water stop going right on Farm Street up to the end. Turn left onto Water Street and follow that to Main Street in Wakefield Center. A left of Main Street will head you back in the direction of Melrose and eventually to Brueggers where you too can start getting ready for some football.

Water Stops – Well, instead of catching footballs, I’ve caught a cold. I’ll kick the run off, I assume Hank will be there, and if I can get at least one more volunteer to help with the stops that would be great. I’d like to get back into bed and rest until kickoff.

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 4 – End of January Already

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Last Week – Winter hit in a big way on Sunday, so almost all of you moved your run to Saturday. While I’m usually a stickler for keeping to Sundays, that running in whatever is thrown your way builds character you may need on race day (see Boston 2018), when big storms roll in there are exceptions to that. While Dan entertained a group of 20+ on Saturday I hosted Mike Sikkema on Sunday morning. His run up Main Street was into the wind driven ice pellets shooting from the sky. As he looped Lake Q, I ran a mile around the neighborhood near Nahant Street. I sent him on his way back down Main Street with the wind to his back. Way to persevere Mike!

This Week – Winter takes a slight break this last week of January as the sky should be clear and the temperatures hover around freezing. We’ll be running the old Melrose Law Enforcement Memorial Half Marathon route. We’ll run over to the start of the old race course in front of the Melrose High School, the long route will then follow the course start around Ell Pond, while the half route will take a few short cuts.

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Half Start – The two groups will start together up Main Street, past Ell Pond, turning left on Melrose Street, and a quick left on the Lynn Fells Parkway. There the half route runners will get a head start on the rest of the route, heading straight to Grimsby’s along the parkway. You’re less than 2 miles into your run, but there is a water stop there if you need it.

Full Start – The full route runners will also head up Main Street to the left on Melrose Street and left on LynnFells. They’ll pass the start of the old race and follow its start by looping Ell Pond. Turn left at the first set of lights on to Tremont Street. Then take your first left on Lake Ave, then first left on West Emerson, and then first left back on to Main Street. Retrace your steps along Main Street, left on Melrose Street, and left on the LynnFells Parkway. Now continue on the parkway straight to Grimsby’s for your first water stop.

Section 2 – Both groups will run the same second section of their run, but the half runners are a good mile plus ahead of the full runners. They’ll try to keep that lead as everyone runs onto the Fellsway East, making through the Fells hills over to the traffic circle at Highland Ave. Turning right on Highland they’ll make their way up to the next water stop on the left side of highland before the Highland rotary.

Half Finish – The half group will stay to the right at the Highland rotary onto Woodland Ave. You’ll pass the Boating in Boston launch and the water pumping station and then turn right onto Pond Street. Let gravity take you down past Grimsby’s on to West Wyoming. Turn left on Main Street and finish up at Brueggers.

Full 3 – The full route runners will loop Spot Pond as they did a few weeks ago. Turn left at the Highland rotary onto Elm Street. At the end of Elm turn right on the Fellsway West. Follow those hills under I-93 and over I-93, past an off ramp of I-93 (watch for cars!) and then left into the Straw Point parking lot at Spot Pond. Hank should be waiting there for you with a drink and some classic rock before yuo continue on to Pond Street going right to continue around the pond. Run past the Stone Zoo and continue onto Woodland Road up to the Flynn Rink. Cross through the rotary (watch out for cars!) and back to the Highland Water Stop.

Full Finish – To finish up take a left on to East Border Road and follow it up to a set of lights. Turn left onto the Fellsway East and make your way through the hills back to Grimsbys. Go straight onto the LynnFells Parkway back to Melrose High School. The race ended with a loop of the track at the high school which is no longer there, but you have to continue up to a right on Melrose Street and a right on Main Street to get back to Brueggers.

Water Stops – It looks like I’ll have a lot of help this week with Hank, Tom, and Lois hosting your refreshment stands. That means I’ll probably run with you!

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 3 – Winter Storm Harper Run

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Last Week – Over 30 of us dealt with some cold temperatures as we circled Spot Pond.

This Week – We contend with Winter Storm Harper. While most opted to avoid training in a snow storm, let’s see how many are willing to deal with the slippery conditions on Sunday. As long as there are no parking restrictions (and someone actually posts that they will there) the run will take place.

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Start – We’ll head up Main Street to Wakefield. Stop at the Nick’s Pizza parking lot for a water stop.

Half Finish – Turn around and go back along Main Street to return to Brueggers.

Full 2 – The full route will run along Main Street through Wakefield Center, staying on Main Street up along the east side of Lake Quannapowitt. When you reach Lowell Street, continue around the lake by going left, and another left onto Quannapowitt Way into the Comverse parking lot. Continue through the lot, coming out at North Ave where you turn left. Follow North Ave to Church Street where you turn left. At the church turn right onto Common Street. This will merge back on to Main Street and bring you back to Nick’s for another water stop.

Full Finish – Head back along Main Street to Brueggers.

Water Stop – I’ll handle the water stop.

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Keep safe!

Week 2 – Around Spot Pond

Saturday, January 12th, 2019

Last Week – We got off to a good start. Over 20 people started their training with us on a misty to be a perfect weather day for a Sunday Long Run (on Saturday). The temps were moderate, the rain held off from the last mile of the long run, and the hills set the tone for the next 14 weeks. Later that night it was good to see so many runners at the MRC Winter Party looking no worse for the wear.

This Week – We’ll be back at Brueggers at 8AM to step up the distance and take on Spot Pond. It’ll be pretty cold at the start of the run so layer up. The half run is about 7 miles, the full about 12.5. Generally every other week of the long run will step up 4 miles and then the next will drop down 2 miles as we walk to 22 miles. Meanwhile the short run will step up 2 and then step back 1 headed towards an 11 max before the race.

Week 2 – Breakheart

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Start – Leaving Brueggers we will head south on Main Street (in the direction of Malden), past Dunkin Donuts, and turning right on West Wyoming, like the start of the MRC Summer Route. West Wyoming will take you out to Grimsby’s where you’ll turn left onto the Fellsway East. Two hills will great you on the Fellsway East which you’ll hate, but maybe someday you’ll grow to love. Ignore the incline and enjoy the feel of running through the Melrose section of the Middlesex Fells. Eventually you’ll go through an intersection with a set of lights and come down to a traffic circle in Medford where you’ll turn right on to Highland Ave. Follow Highland up towards Spot Pond, finding a water stop on the left right before a rotary by the Flynn Rink.

Half Finish – After the water stop, the short runners will continue straight through the rotary on to Woodland Road, running past the Flynn Rink. Follow this to Pond Street where you’ll turn right and head down a steep hill to Grimsby’s. Turn left there and follow the Lynn Fells Parkway past Melrose High School, after which you’ll turn right on Melrose Street and then take a quick right onto Main Street to finish up at Brueggers.

Full Route 3 – The long runners will leave the water stop and turn left at the rotary on to Elm Street. Run to the end of Elm Street and turn right onto the Fellsway West. This will bring you through another portion of the Middlesex Fells, up what we’ve named Slackers Hill after that urge you get to walk instead of run up the hill, keep running. You’ll then cross under I-93, past the Sheepfold, and over I-93. Watch on your right as you cross an off ramp from I-93, cars come down there very quickly! After that you’ll want to turn right into the Straw Point parking lot. There will be a water stop there, so grab some water and keep going through the parking lot to Pond Street. Continue right to keep circling Spot Pond, pass the Zoo, continue straight as Pond Street becomes Woodland Rd, up to Flynn Rink, through the rotary and back to the water stop at Highland Ave.

Full Finish – After the final water stop you’ll cross Highland and take your first left on East Border Road. This will bring you up to a set of lights where you turn left to get back on the Fellsway East. Ride those two hills back past Grimsby’s and onto the Lynn Fells Parkway. Run past Melrose High School, turn right on Melrose Street, and right on Main Street which will take you back to Brueggers.

Water Stops – I’ll handle the Highland Ave stop, Hank will be at Straw Point, and Lois may stop by. I may chose to run around Spot Pond. If I do, remember where my car is because you may have to help yourself.

Roll Call! Those are the plans, who’s in?