McMullen Mile: Roadkill Men, Women & Children Take to the Track

McMullen Mile has been my favorite race of the year since moving to Rochester in 2008, and this year it became even more my favorite because the Perks family has a new miler.

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Most years after the McMullen Mile I give a long break down of my race. This year I’d rather talk about my family and friends who did the race, starting with my daughter Hazel. Hazel has done several races over the years, including 2 different mile races. Normally during the mile runs she takes lots of breaks and likes to look around a bit. The track however, really seemed to suit her, she didn’t stop once. As some of the other young kids bowed out after 2 or 3 laps she insisted on doing all 4. She may have finished last, but she was undeterred. She told her teachers on Monday “I didn’t win, but I’m getting faster.” Her tiny little legs managed to run each lap in under 3 minutes for a time of 11:49!

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The next Roadkill Racer up was Drew in the men’s under 8 minute heat (actually there were several heats of this but Drew’s was the fastest under 8 heat.)

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Drew ran a solid race with even pacing, showing his marathon running strength. He led for much of the race doing all the hard work before a few sand-baggers threw down a sub 70 second last lap. We are going to get Drew on the track for some rep work, and those guys will be in for a nasty surprise next year. I’m predicting we can take his 5:16 down to sub 5.

Erin M. and Lisa ran in the women’s sub-elite race. Before the race Lisa was writing out her goal splits and I thought she was being a bit too conservative. Luckily she figured that out for herself shortly into the race and took the early lead.

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2 laps in, the Roadkill Ladies had blow their heat open taking a commanding lead. You can see them above hitting the half way mark with no one else on the straightaway.  They would hold their positions through the finish with Lisa running 6:16 and Erin 6:22. I fully expect both of them to be ready to move up to the elite women’s sub 6 field by next summer.

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I don’t know why, but Joe always seems to end up with blurry race photos. He’s like Woody Allen in Deconstructing Harry. Blurriness aside, Joe ran a a great race in the Master’s Elite heat. I don’t know the last time Joe raced a mile, but he ran this one like an old pro, putting down a 5:24 good for 6th out of 18 elite masters.

The men’s elite heat was the last race of the night. Despite my constant pestering, year in and year out we once again only had 2 runners from Roadkill in the heat. This year I was joined by new member Mark Streb, who like me is a miler at heart (the big difference is he is a miler at legs too owning a 3:52 1500m PR). Mark showed his speed and closed with a 65 in the thick of 5 runners who finished between 4:22-4:27.

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I’ve run the McMullen mile 6 times (every year I’ve lived in Rochester) and this was my worst finish to-date but not near my worst time. Not only was it my worst finish at McMullen, it was the only time I can remember finishing last in a race. I’d like to think that is a testament to how fast the field was this year and not an indictment of my 4:38.

Race Results Here

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This is the last year I’ll be running the McMullen Mile Elite race. Next year I get to run against runners my own age in the masters race. I can’t wait to go up against some other old men and let these kids have their own fun. That of course means that some other Roadkill Racers are going to have to step up and run the elite race… I’m looking at you George-Dave-Rob-Kenny-Brett-Drew-et al.

And yes I did just call Matthew Roberts “George.” Now that we have another Matt on the team we have to join the rest of the world in calling him George.

And here is a bonus picture of Joe and Roo playing catch.

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Medved Trail Madness (The Muddy Everything Else)

Combine a colder than normal winter, later than normal arrival of spring weather (is 45 spring weather?) and a few weeks of daily rain and you get one soggy race.  Sunday was the Medved Trail Madness 15 miler, and while it was pancake flat compared to the Muddy Sneaker 20k it had more than enough water and mud to make up for the lack of mountains.


The race consists of 3 loops around Mendon Pond Park.  Each loop present its own challenge, most of which had to do with getting wet but some involved hurdling trees.

The first loop toured the NE section of the park and featured the only significant climb, about 200 feet over a mile.  It also involved many a hurdle especially through the pine grove pictured below.


You know it is a bit breezy when there are white caps on 100 Acre Pond!

lakeAt the end of the first lap the course designers setup a shoe washing station, which was perfect for clearing off our mud caked shoes and legs and also helped cool us off on this balmy 40 degree morning.


Lap 2 was the least soggy lap, which looped around the NW portion of the park.  It also featured lots of little ups and downs making it hard to get into any kind of a rhythm.1402836898

The final lap was basically run through a swamp.  It featured a loop around Quaker Pond in the South section of the park.  This is actually the area I’m most familiar with, but I have never seen it so under water.  The distance and mud started taking their toll and my hip flexors were screaming with ever little uphill.  I was leading the race but had no idea by how much.  I was afraid that after leading for over 90 minutes someone was going to blow by me in the last few miles as I tried unsuccessfully to keep under 7 minute pace.


The final blow by the race course was a 3rd trip up cardiac hill (I think every high school cross country course has a cardiac hill) in the last .5 miles of the race.  Once I reached the top of that hill I was done racing, my legs were shot which was actually perfect timing, it was a mere few hundred meters to the finish all down hill.  I crossed the line in first place with a time of 1:41:04 which was 6:44 pace.  I have no idea if that is good or bad for this course, in large part because the course is a bit different every year, and on a dry year times would be much faster.  I’m sure guys like Jeff Beck or Neal Holtschulte have blazed it much faster than I ever could, but on Sunday my best effort was good enough to win and I can’t ask for more than that.

awardsI’m taking a break from trail racing for a bit but I’ll be back at it late June and again in July.  next up is the Corporate Challenge where I hope to split my 5k PR during the 3.5 mile race and then it’s the McMullen Mile, my favorite race of the year!  Maybe some of these trail runners will do what I did and cross over to try something different, get on the track and run your guts out for 4 laps (plus 9 meters).  I promise you, us track guys like beer as much as any trail runner and we get to start drinking it so much sooner.

I huge thanks to Michael Lesher for the taking the photos.  He is selling prints from the race and high res digital downloads.

hazelhugMedved Trail Madness 2014 Results


Kenny’s Gettysburg North-South Marathon Report

Get ready.  This might be a long one.

After a harsh training winter, it was finally time for the Gettysburg North-South Marathon on April 27.  The race was fairly small; there were 465 finishers this year.  Over a hilly course, each runner chooses a “side” to be on (North versus South).  The top male and female times for each side are added, and each member of the winning side gets a mug (spoiler alert: the North won).

I had done the best that I could with my training this winter, and I felt that this race would be my first legit shot at a sub-2:30 marathon. Fitness-wise, I felt that I was there.  However, the nature of the course would definitely present a challenge.  Here is a link to the map.   The course generally ascends early in the race, reaches its highest point soon after 7 miles, ascends once more before mile 11, then descends for the majority of the second half of the race.

I always try to have a few goals going into a big race.  My top goal for this one, if everything went perfectly, was to run under 2:30.  This would be a stretch, so my next goal was at least to PR, which meant running faster than 2:35:30.  I felt that this would definitely be doable, but in case something went horribly wrong on the course, my final goal was to be faster than 2:40.  This would at least convince me that my time under 2:40 from last year was not a fluke.

Read the rest at

Hazel’s first trail race


Hazel has raced on the track, on roads and around a grass field but Sunday was her first trail race.  After seeing me finish the Medved Trail Madness 15 miler (my own race report to follow shortly) she was very excited to get covered in mud just like daddy.  I often wondered how old Hazel would be before she really understood competition.  Now I know the answer.


No one was going to box her in at the start, she is already working on her cross country elbows.


The race was a half mile loop partly on fields and partly on trail, much of which was very muddy.


There was no scoring for the kids race but Hazel insisted she needed a number, so she got to use mine.


No going up and around the mud for Hazel.


Lisa braided the daffodil into her hair, the thing stayed in until bath time!


The girl in pink was about to pass her 100 meters before the finish.




As soon as she finished the race, it was time for lap 2.  She wanted to go for a 3rd lap but I had to get some lunch.  Next up is the Wally Waddle 1 mile.

Bonus picture.