Jim Flint's Runners Roundup, Sports

Noonan Conquers NYC Marathon

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photo courtesy of Race Wire
Maxfield English, from Wolcott, placed fourth of 506 finishers Sunday in the Vermont Ten Miler race, in Stowe. English is the technical education teacher at Hazen Union High School and coach of the OSSU Nordic Ski Team.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Tim Noonan, from Montpelier, took on Sunday’s 52nd annual New York City Marathon. Noonan, 67, covered the point-to-point 26.2-mile course in four hours, 14 minutes, and nine seconds. He placed 19,158th of 51,297 finishers.

Noonan has run marathons for 47 years. He participated in the inaugural Vermont City Marathon in 1989, finishing with a personal best time of two hours and 55 minutes. During the spring of this year, he ran the Boston Marathon in 4:03:22 and the Vermont City Marathon in 3:58:23. On October 1, the former Montpelier High School cross country coach conquered the Maine Marathon in 3:54:48.

Weather conditions in New York were similar to the Maine Marathon, with near ideal conditions at the start of the race. Noonan’s corral set off from Staten Island, at 10:20 a.m., to cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn. The temperature was close to 50 degrees with a calm wind and low humidity. Feeling good, he paced the first 10 kilometers comfortably at 8:29 per mile, about 30 seconds faster than his average pace at the Maine Marathon.

photo by Jim Flint
Tim Noonan, from Montpelier, ran down a tree-lined section of Lafayette Avenue, in Brooklyn, during Sunday’s New York City Marathon. Noonan, 67, completed the 26.2-mile run through New York’s five boroughs in 4:14:09.

“One thing that surprised me was the ease of running freely at the beginning,” said Noonan. “I thought the first two miles on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge would be wall to wall runners, but it was not like that. Once we were two minutes into the race, I could run freely. Running the downhill second mile on the bridge with great views was my best mile of the race.”

As the sun rose higher over Brooklyn, the temperature steadily increased to the mid-50s F. After the eight-mile mark near the Barclay Center, the streets narrowed. Noonan found that it became necessary to weave in and out between runners. His pace slowed to 8:32 per mile at 15k, then to 8:36 per mile at 20k. Just before crossing the Pulaski Bridge into Queens, he reached the half marathon mark, at 1:52:55.

Noonan was buoyed by the enthusiastic crowds lining the streets. “One thing that really stuck out for me was the bands on the course. I really enjoyed the music!” he said.

photo courtesy of Race Wire
Willa Mantius, 11, from Danville ran the Vermont Ten Miler with her dad, Peter Mantius. Willa completed the hilly course in 1:22:50, two seconds ahead of Peter.

Crossing the Queensborough Bridge into Manhattan, Noonan emerged onto First Avenue at 59th Street. The largest crowds form a pulsating “wall of sound” on both sides of the road. Running due north for 65 blocks, Noonan’s pace slowed further as temperatures warmed into the 60s. By the 20-mile mark his pace was 8:51 per mile.

Marathoners know that there are two races to run: the first 20 miles, then the last 10k. After crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Bronx, New York City marathoners commonly hit “the wall” due to increasing fatigue and decreasing fuel. Looping back into Manhattan, Noonan made the long uphill climb on Fifth Avenue, before entering Central Park at Mile 24. His pace slowed to 9:37 per mile for the last few miles of the race.

“I bonked badly,” he said after the race. “I may be getting too old to do two hard marathons six weeks apart. My sense is I just lacked the reserves to call on that are needed in the later stages of a marathon.”

Noonan made the sweeping loop through Central Park to the finish, crossing the line in 4:14:09. His time placed 92nd of 574 runners in the M65-69 age group and within the top 50% of male finishers. He was the most senior athlete among the 44 Vermonters who completed the marathon.

“It was a great experience,” Noonan reflected. “The organization of the race was superb, the crowds were numerous and supportive, and it was fun to cover all five boroughs and experience the diversity of New York. I had never been to Staten Island and Brooklyn before. I went into the race thinking this would be a one and done marathon. After experiencing this year’s marathon, I don’t feel that way anymore. I would do it again if I qualify . . . maybe when I am in my 70s!”

Local Runners Take on Ten Miler

STOWE–Four athletes from the Gazette’s circulation area were among 506 finishers in the third annual Vermont Ten Miler. The November 5 race started and ended at Mayo Farm. The first seven miles were on local roads before turning onto the Stowe Bike Path for the final three miles. The challenging course had a total elevation gain of 700 feet. After climbing hills in the first half of the race, runners were rewarded with scenic vistas and long cruising downhills.

Maxfield English, 47, from Wolcott, continued his six-week streak of top tier results. The Hazen Union technical education teacher battled his way to a fourth-place finish, in 59:53, behind Tim Richard (59:01), Daniel Moncada (59:03), and Brandyn Naro (59:04). Jimmy Gobeil placed fifth in 1:01:04. English, who also coaches the OSSU Nordic ski team, topped the M45-49 age group.

“The course was challenging, with the first climb starting less than a kilometer in,” said English. “I paced conservatively behind the four lead runners. After the first climb, I started to reel in Moncada and Gobeil, but the two front leaders kept a solid gap. I caught Moncada and Gobeil on the second climb at 5k and put in a surge to get some distance between us.

It worked well until we started descending Edson Hill. Moncada flew by, and I watched him catch the two front-runners by the time we hit Route 108; his descending was amazing to witness. Those three duked it out on the recreation path, while I kept the distance between me and Gobeil steady until the finish.”

Mike Levangie, 58, from Walden, finished in 1:18:45. The head cross country coach for Craftsbury Academy placed 49th overall and first in the M55-59 age group.

“I don’t get to run much during the xc season so I just went to enjoy the morning with some other humans,” said Levangie. “Beautiful course and great to see the Stowe and Lamoille xc teams running the aid stations.”

George Kominos, 67, from Wolcott, finished 55th, in 1:19:32. Kominos easily won the M65-69 age group. Sara Hatch, 53, from Wolcott, rounded out the local finishers. She placed 229th in 1:40:40.

Willa Mantius, 11, from Danville, was perhaps the most noteworthy finisher. Mantius won the F1-19 age group in 1:22:50. She ran the race with her dad, Peter Mantius, who finished two seconds back. Sunday’s race was Willa’s third year completing the Vermont Ten Miler. She has steadily improved her time. The sixth grader won four cross country middle school cross country meets this fall and placed 22nd in the Vermont girls middle school state championship race.

Fallen Leaves 5k Series Kicks Off

MONTPELIER – The annual low key Fallen Leaves Race Series returned Saturday morning to Montpelier High School. A field of 29 runners lined up at 9 a.m. to start the 5k out-and-back race on the bike path. Six athletes hailed from the 10 towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette.

Peter Maurais, 35, from Barre, edged out Andy Frakes, 30, from Marshfield to win the race. Their respective times were 19:54 and 20:00. Ultramarathoner Dylan Broderick, 33, from Middlesex, was the fastest female finisher in 21:21. Lauren Purcell, 37, from Williston was the runner-up in 21:55.

Brian Burns, 47, from Calais, placed third in 20:55 and first in the M40-49 age group. The 5k event was Burns’ first race since recovering from hip replacement surgery. Michael Giammusso, 51, from Adamant, won the M50-59 age group in 22:20. Mack Gardner-Morse, 62, from Calais, topped the M60-69 age group in 23:10.

Marshfield sisters Bess Powers, 62, and Cathy DuPont, 58, placed second in the F60-69 and F50-59 age groups. Their respective times were 25:36 and 25:44. DuPont coaches cross country at Twinfield Union High School.

The Fallen Leaves Race Series continues on November 11 and November 18. The race entry fee is $5. Day of Race registration is from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. Start time is 9 a.m. For more information, visit cvrunners.org.

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