Monthly Archives: May 2011

Murphy’s Match

I’m sure you’ve all had painful experience with Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong–and at the worst possible time.

Well, I’ve got good news. Murphy met his match on Sunday, at the Redhook 5K in Portsmouth, NH. Bested by a guy named Andy Shachat.

If you’re a runner in Eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Maine, you know Andy. He’s the race announcer at many beloved races such as the Mt. Washington Road Race. You probably don’t think about him when you hear his voice over the Public Address system.

But what if you didn’t hear his voice over that PA?

On Sunday Murphy did his best to stop that voice, but he couldn’t stop Andy.

Here’s what happened:

Nearly 2,000 runners were packed together at the starting line, jogging in place… checking and rechecking our watches and Garmins…waiting for the race to start. I’d arrived an hour earlier and had heard Andy frequently over the PA: relating some history of the race, cautioning us not to remove the timing chip from the back of our bib numbers, letting us know where to find the Porta Potties…all the essential information we runners need to know. And of course every few minutes he gave us an update:

“10 minutes until the start of the race. You should make your way now to the start line.”

“5 minutes to the start of the race. You should be at the start line NOW…!”

Important reminders.

Now we were all at the start line, and I saw Andy lift a microphone to his mouth and say something. It was working fine a moment earlier.  But now I could barely hear him.

The PA was dead!

Unperturbed, Andy flicked a switch on the microphone or shook it. Then he raised it again and spoke.

I could hear him saying something about the national anthem…but that’s just because I was near the front of the pack–close enough to hear his voice.  The loudspeakers were silent.  Most of the runners couldn’t hear a word he said.

I looked at my watch. The race should be starting now.

It was hot and there were nearly 2,000 of us, packed together like commuters on a Green Line trolley. We were all sweating…and we hadn’t even started running yet!

But I didn’t see Andy sweat.

He just handed the mike to someone (not a runner) and said, “This mike is dead. I’ll be right back.”

And he took off at a pace I’d be proud of in any 5K.

A minute or two later he sprinted back, carrying a new mike and perhaps a hundred yards of cable. If he looped that cable into a lariat he could have roped a steer. But he just plugged it into an amplifer and lifted the mike to his lips.

“TESTING. TESTING. ONE. TWO. THREE.”

They could hear him clearly at the back of the pack. They could probably hear him in the parking lot, a quarter of a mile away.

“Tomorrow is Memorial Day,” Andy continued. “Before we start the race let’s all take a moment to listen to the national anthem, and to think about those who gave their lives for our country.”

He handed the mike to a fellow who sang the national anthem. The words rang out clear and true through the air. Then Andy told us to run and we ran.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Ken Skier.  All rights reserved.

Wachusett Mountain Race

The Wachusett Mountain Race is a challenging mountain/trail race.  This year the course starts with a long steep climb up a road and then winds through a variety of trails, including steep, wet, technical singletrack.

It is the second race in the USATFNE Mountain/Trail Circuit, fondly known as the Mountain Goat Series.

Come! Run with me now…

(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)








That was just a few snapshots, to give a you a taste. Now, come experience the entire race!

There are two ways to do this:

1) you can peruse a photo gallery on Facebook (tagging yourself and your friends)…

or…

2) you can immerse yourself in a full-screen HD video!

Photo Gallery on Facebook

You can view the entire race in a photo gallery on Facebook. (To tag yourself or your friends in these photos, first press “LIKE” on the the Run with Ken Facebook page. Then, as a fan of “Run with Ken,” you can tag yourself or your friends in these photos!)

Click on the image below to see the photo gallery:

P1340299--now_480v--wmarked.jpg

HD video

Want to experience this race at its best, in full-screen high-def?

Go ahead! Click the PLAY button below. (Just be sure to elect 720p HD video…and watch it in full-screen.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2011 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Northfield Mountain Race

The Northfield Mountain Race is the first in the USATFNE Mountain/Trail Circuit, also known as The Mountain Goat Series. It draws mountain runners from throughout New England.

This morning is the first in many days with no rain…but the air is thicker than a steambath. Not that we mind. We came to run, and as long as the mountain is here we’ll run to the top and back down.

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)








That was just a few snapshots, to give a you a taste. Now, come experience the entire race!

There are two ways to do this:

1) you can peruse a photo gallery on Facebook (tagging yourself and your friends)…

or…

2) you can immerse yourself in a full-screen HD video!

Photo Gallery on Facebook

You can view the entire race in a photo gallery on Facebook. (To tag yourself or your friends in these photos, first press “LIKE” on the the Run with Ken Facebook page. Then, as a fan of “Run with Ken,” you can tag yourself or your friends in these photos!)

Click on the image below to see the photo gallery:

P1330883--now_480v--wmarked.jpg

HD video

Want to experience this race at its best, in full-screen high-def?

Go ahead! Click the PLAY button below. (Just be sure to elect 720p HD video…and watch it in full-screen.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2011 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.