Last week I counted 64 runners leaving Brueggers heading out for their wandering half route through Melrose or their jaunt to Breakheart. That was easily a record for SLR participation. As the day started with a record it also ended with a flurry of records broken in an initially irritating but ultimately thrilling Super Bowl in which the local team brought home another trophy! This week there won’t be any trophies but I’ll tell you what there will be… SNOW! A blizzard dropped a foot of snow in the area, and Saturday morning we awake to even more. There will be snow Sunday too, but I think it won’t start until after we finish so we’ll be sticking to the route as planned.
The route starts up Main Street, past Ell Pond, past Whole Foods, to Franklin Street where you’ll take a left. Follow Franklin all the way into Stoneham, past Stoneham High School and Dunkin Donuts until you hit a traffic light at the intersection of Summer Street, turn left there. Follow Summer Street, staying single file through this curvy, narrow stretch of road, as it turns into Marble Street. Cross Main Street in Stoneham keeping on Marble Street until it becomes Forest Street as you cross over I93 into Winchester. There you will find a water stop on your left on Eugene Drive where it meets Forest Street.
If you’re running the half route you’ll turn around here, heading back along Forest Street turning right at your first set of lights onto Park Street. This will take you past the on ramp to I93, back past Friendly’s, crossing Main Street to continue over to the Stone Zoo and the front side of Spot Pond. Turn left on Pond Street to Grimsby’s where you’ll turn left onto the LynnFells Parkway. The parkway will take you to Melrose High School after which you’ll turn right on Melrose Street and right on Main Street to finish up at Brueggers with a total of 8.2 having past under your feet.
Running long? You’ll leave the water stop on Forest Street into Winchester. Turn left on Highland Ave where you’ll see a blue sign with a white H on it pointing you towards Winchester Hospital. When you’re approaching the hospital (sorry about that hill) turn left onto Reservoir Road, my favorite road in all of the SLR routes. Take a gander at the beautiful houses, the Fells woods, the Winchester Reservoir, the gas lamp lights along the street. Such a nice view you may not even mind the next hill. Reservoir Road will loop you back to Highland Ave. Turn left and continue along Highland. You’ll come to a 5 way intersection that you’ll run straight across. Straight! Keeping on Highland where two more hills will take you to the next water stop at the end of Highland.
After this stop you’ll go right onto Main Street, Rte 38, in maybe Medford, maybe Winchester. This will take you to a rotary. Follow the rotary as if you are a car, going counterclockwise, passing a little spur of a street, then exiting right to stay on Main Street. You’ll see this sign for the Symmes Farm where you’re supposed to turn. Oh, by the way, Zachariah Symmes is my 9th Great Grandfather. Anyway, keep running along Main Street until you get to a fork where you’ll stay to the right onto Washington Street. You” come to another 5-way intersection there, you’ll cross the Mystic Valley Parkway and bear right to stay on Washington Street. If you run past Winchester High School you went the wrong way. Stay on Washington Street and until you get to the Gingerbread Construction Company. This is the intersection of Washington and Forest, turn right on Forest and head back uphill to the water stop at Eugene Street.
After this stop you’ll head over I93 and take a right at the lights on Park Street. This will wind you over to Friendly’s where the route turns right at Main Street in Stoneham. This will take you around the back side of Spot Pond. Turn left on Elm Street and at the end of Elm you’ll find the rotary at Woodland Ave/Highland Ave. At this rotary you want to turn left onto Woodland, continuing around Spot Pond. There will likely be one more water stop at the Flynn Hockey Rink as you come around that corner.
Woodland will take you along the front side of Spot Pond where you’ll turn right on Pond Street. You’ll go straight past Grimsby’s onto West Wyoming Avenue. Follow this to the next set of lights at Main Street in Melrose, turning left to finish up at Brueggers with 16.2 miles under your snowy feet.
Short cuts. If you’re looking for distances in between there are a few short cuts in the route. Please let the water stop helpers know if you’re taking a short cut so we’ll know not to wait for you at the next stop.
Speaking of water stops. Its going to be cold! Hank and Tom Gorman will be helping out at water stops while I sit in my car as much as I can.
Safety. Just a reminder, single file, sidewalks where you can. If the sun is behind you that means its in the eyes of the driver coming your way. Snow can be blindingly bright, don’t assume you’re seen. When running past a road with snowbanks assume the driver taking a right isn’t going to look to his right, run behind the first car waiting to exit a road. Stay safe, long runs are easier that way.
That’s it for this week. Who’s in? Roll Call!