October 23, 2005 - A soggy start and an even wetter finish were the sub-stories for the 16th Annual Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Races at Boston’s Franklin Park on Sunday, but New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith’s impressive victory over the 5-kilometers was just reward for those who braved the elements to watch the championship races on the historic cross country course.
With a race time temperature of 45-degrees and rain-soaked turf, the normally fast course on this day resembled a cow-path in many places but Smith posted a wire-to-wire win (16:35) in her first professional cross country race at Franklin Park, where she last competed in her final year at Providence College in winning the Big East Championships. She went on to win the 2004 NCAA championships.
The 23-year old Smith was a late entrant, having done 85 miles of training this week, but Coach Ray Treacy recommended the race as more of a workout than a competition and Smith obliged. As it turned out, Smith’s only competition was herself as she won comfortably and 21 seconds ahead of training partner and current Providence College standout Mary Cullen, of Ireland (16:56).
Smith’s current training is geared toward the Manchester (Conn.) Thanksgiving Day Road Race, after which time she will prepare for next year’s Commonwealth Games and the World Cross Country Championships.
In the men’s 8-kilometer championship race, the Boston Athletic Association’s Jarrod Shoemaker, 23, shadowed Westchester Track Club’s Daniel Zegeye for the first 5-kilometeters. Zegeye, who placed sixth at the 2000 Olympic Games (Sydney) is a citizen of Ethiopia and resident of New York, but his background on the track was not enough to survive the day’s wet conditions. Shoemaker, a professional triathlete and the current 23-years and under World Champion (September 2005 in Japan), was supposed to run the lower-profile Franklin Park 5k in preparation for a scheduled international triathlon in Cancun, Mexico next weekend. However, Hurricane Wilma had Cancun in its path and Shoemaker’s plans needed to change. Shoemaker ended up winning the race in 24:23, beating runner-up Kyle King of ZAP Fitness (Blowing Rock, North Carolina) by five seconds. Shoemaker was an All-Scholastic for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Lincoln-Sudbury High School) and is ranked #50 in the world at the Olympic ITU distance. He continues to reside in Sudbury, Mass.
Of his race, Shoemaker said: “I could tell which guys were having trouble running though the mud. I had an eye on the track runners around me, and I knew that the longer the race went, the better off I’d be. This is cross country the way every course should be!”
B.A.A. won the men’s team competition (50 to 51), narrowly beating Westchester Track Club. Westchester returned the favor by edging the B.A.A. in the women’s team standings (44-45).
Steve Czupryna, 18, of Chicopee, Mass., won the Franklin Park 5k men’s race. Katherine Chwasciak, 15, of Webster, New Hampshire and who represents the club Five Star, won the Franklin Park 5k women’s race. Phillip Galebach, 14, of Haverhill, Mass. and representing Lynx Elite Athletic Club, won the boys’ 1.1 mile race; Meghan Krueger, 14, of Hopkinton, Mass. and representing the Needham Track Club won the 1.1 mile girls’ race in 6:39.
Vinny Mulvey, 27, of Ireland, who placed eighth at the B.A.A. Half Marathon two weeks ago (October 9), finished third in the men’s 8K. Mulvey, an Iona College graduate, is running the New York City Marathon in two weeks.
Sintayehu Taye, 16, of Ethiopia, was 21st in 25:39. Taye, a sophomore at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass. won a 2.75-mile dual meet yesterday (Saturday, Oct. 22) against Tabor Academy. Sterling Ince, Taye’s coach, wanted Taye to become exposed to stiffer competition, hence the back-to-back cross country races. Last year, Taye established a national record for freshmen with his winning time of 9:16.55 in the 3,200-meter run. He has also run 4:09.69 for 1600 meters, bettering the Maine state record by nearly five seconds. He is a resident of Portland, Maine and has been living in the US for three years. “I was going to drop out after three laps, just to get my 5K time,” said Taye. “But, I decided to keep going because I wanted to see how I would end up against big competition. We [he and his brother Ayalew, also a student at Cushing Academy but with a sore knee at the moment] are getting ready for the Footlocker Northeast Regional [in late November].” In 2004, Taye was 24th in the region.
17-year old Nicole Blood was 18th place in 18:14 and 15-year old Caitlin Lane was 23rd in 18:27. Blood and Lane both run for Fast Lane Track Club, coached by Bob Lane (father of Caitlin). Both Blood and Lane live in Gansevoort, New York and are preparing for the Footlocker Regional and National races. Said Blood: “I’m very happy with how I ran today; I felt very strong and the course was fun. We’re trying to find tune-up races to get ready.” Blood won the Footlocker Northeast Regionals in 2004 and 2003, and she was runner-up in 2002. Blood also said she that after making four college visits to Oregon, Providence College, University of North Carolina and Villanova, she will choose Oregon. In the more immediate future, she hopes to improve upon her best finish at the Footlocker nationals (7th place two years ago).
Kyle King, who placed fifth at the 2004 Mayor’s Cup, was runner-up this year. King is a member of ZAP Fitness, of North Carolina, a US Distance Center. King’s team – who was here for the USA Distance Running Summit hosted by the B.A.A. throughout the weekend – finished fourth overall. Other clubs in attendance at this weekend’s Summit were: Big Sur Distance Project; Team Running USA (Mammouth Lakes, Calif.); Indiana Invaders; Boulder Performance Training Group; Team USA – Minnesota; and Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.
The partnership between the Boston Athletic Association and adidas has helped develop the event into a premier competition for the City of Boston. Since 1997 when the B.A.A. and adidas became involved, the Mayor’s Cup has been a mainstay on the national calendar among open cross country events. Regarded as one of the most competitive cross country races in the eastern United States, several clubs once again will use the Mayor’s Cup to prepare for the USA Fall National Cross Country Championship [this year held in Rochester, New York on November 19].
The Mayor’s Cup Cross Country races are sponsored by adidas and the Boston Athletic Association, and directed by USA Track & Field – New England with cooperation from the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, the Boston Parks & Recreation Department and the City of Boston Park Rangers. Proceeds from the event are directed toward the improvement, preservation and maintenance of the Franklin Park cross country courses.