Kevin Johnson Takes Care of Business, Twice. Men 1st, Women 6th

“I like this.  I like the way this feels.” – P Diddy (Formerly Puff Daddy)

Amherst, MA – IDEAL conditions prevailed as the USATF New England Association began the 2013 Grand Prix Road Race Series in the Running Mecca of Amherst, Massachusetts with the series’ first installment; The DH Jones 10-Miler.

Up front the Baby Blue got to work early, making sure to be accommodating hosts and give the rest of New England a proper tour of their training grounds.  Up to the hospitable task was Kevin Johnson and Sean Duncan as they lead the field convincingly through 3-miles before deciding their tour guide duties were through, dropping the rest of the bunch for a more intimate visit of their old college stomping grounds.  

“I just pictured myself hammering an easy run with Jeff Hill” says Duncan as he wipes the drool from his face at the finish line, “One, two! Yeee!”

One, two indeed.  Kevin, despite some minor plumbing issues, would go on to capture his second consecutive Jones 10-mile win with a time of 51:48, the only runner in the field to dip under 52 minutes.  Kevin was followed shortly by Duncan in 52:02.

Johnson’s win was under attack by some stomach issues as he was inspired by a LetsRun thread about Hicham El Guerrouj to eat copious amounts of Moroccan food the night before the race, causing The People’s Champion to take a pit stop at 5.5 miles and again at 7 miles.  His 7th mile conference call with nature was observed by all harriers within 3 minutes, which was initially perceived as taunting.

The Men in Blue would go on to seal the deal with Jason Ayr (4th – 52:42), Kevin Quadrozzi (10th – 53:34), and John Messer (11th – 53:44).  The Wolfpack managed an 8 minute and 13 second win over second place Greater Boston Track Club.
On the ladies side, Sarah Romain was on Homeland Security detail, fighting her way into a top ten position in 1:05:53.  

“Having the first Grand Prix Race in my backyard was awesome as I knew what was ahead waiting for me”, says Romain of her race strategy.  ”I was able to focus on racing strong in the second 5-miles and held off 11th place for a top ten finish, which isn’t something to be disappointed about, but I do have my eyes set on that podium at future Grand Prix events”.

Romain set the tone for the Lady Wolves who were able to get all three scorers into top 25 positions with Kelsey Allen (22nd – 1:09:18) and Elaina Mertens (23rd – 1:09:21).  The scoring trio’s efforts were good for 6th in a field of 17 at the New England Championship.

The first chapter of the 2013 Grand Prix has been written and it reads nicely.  This chapter, much like the many that lie ahead, is by no means an end.  This chapter is just part of The Process.  And you know what to do with that…
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