Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The 2nd Annual Dan Scharfman Memorial Run

Race: Dan Scharfman Memorial 5K
Location: Belmont, MA
Date: 10/5/2014

Distance: 5K
Goal Time:  17:59
Actual Time: 17:55
Place: 5 / 371 OA, 2 / 19 AG

If there is one race that I truly need to represent at, it is the Dan Scharfman Memorial Run.  Dan was my neighbor, school committee member, and fellow ultra runner before his untimely passing in January of 2013.  The inaugural Dan Scharfman Memorial 5K to benefit the Belmont Education and Innovation fund took place last November.

At this race I needed to represent in multiple ways; as someone known as runner, as a resident of Belmont, a neighbor to the Sharfman family, and a friend of Dan's.  Last year when I ran the race, I ran it hard in remembrance of Dan.  This year, I ran it harder in celebration of Dan's life and his passions (including but not limited to running and education).

The Report
The race started and ended on the Belmont track.  I wandered down around 9am and was greeted by Jacob's (Dan's son) practice run of the National Anthem.  Following this, I jogged a mile on the track to get the blood moving.  After the official anthem and a speech by Rachel (Dan's daughter), we lined up.  I felt ready to do battle.

Neil running -- Belmontian.
I took the pole position as this was my race.  Up at the front with me was Keith, one other guy (the eventual winner), and a group of runners from the Belmont High XC team.  As the race started, we all shot off at top speed.  A quarter mile in we were holding 5:25 pace, but that quickly changed as we hit our first hill.

The first mile and a half of race climbs roughly 150 feet before descending back down to Concord Ave. The final mile consisted of a loop around Clay Pit pond and a track finish.  I just assumed the hills represented the masochistic mind set of an ultra runner, but was later informed that it was a way to incorporate passing by 4 of Belmont's 6 schools (One of Dan's passions).  My plan for the race was to try and hold 5:50 pace for the first two miles and then drop to 5:40 on the third, which should get me in right under 18 minutes.  

By the time I passed the reservoir around mile 1.5 I had dispatched all but one of the XC team members.  I had clocked the first mile in 5:48, but was holding 6:25 pace for the second.  Luckily, gravity works in my favor and I bombed down Goden street and was able to finish the second mile at 5:50 (aka holding 5:15 for the 2nd half of the mile).

The finish - Racewire
Feeling reinvigorated, I attacked my third mile head on.  I held 5:30 pace for the first third of the mile before I started to falter.  I kept telling myself to shift into 5th gear, but it just wasn't happening.  After I finished my loop around the pond, my watch beeped again -- 5:42.  As I made my turn onto the track, all I could think was, "This is going to be close" and I skipped over 5th gear and went straight to 6th.  I crossed the tape in 17:55, good enough for 5th overall, just under 30 seconds off the leader and 21 seconds faster then last year.

This year the mood at the race was different.  Last year it was somber as we mourned the loss of Dan.  This year was a celebration of Dan.  Special credit to the race directors coining the phrase "I ran the Dan."

As I close this post, Amy and I celebrate finishing our second Dan Scharfman Memorial run with my final bottle of Dan's homemade hard cider.

We ran "The Dan"
Cheers,

- Scot

Shout outs
- Jacob for running his first 5K
- Merle for completing the couch to 5K plan
- Rachel agreeing to run an ultra marathon
- Sara for taking 2nd Female OA
- Amy for sprinting it in
- Ben for taking on his 2nd 5k (and 2nd Scharfman 5k)


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