Former 2:24 marathoner hoping to parlay a life overhaul at age 45 into competitive ├ęclat • Magazine writer, book editor and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gaughan shatters N.H. 3200m record; crickets cheer enthusiastically

I've been a consistent follower of New Hampshire track and field and cross-country since graduating from Concord High School in 1988. This has clearly become easier over the years with the creation and expansion of the World Wide Web, with two of my go-to running sites among the countless in my bookmarks being Lancer Timing and the MileSplit network.

Last Friday, a junior from Exeter High School named Jacqueline Gaughan went into the 3,200-meter run at the Loucks Games in White Plains, N.Y. already holding the outdoor state record in the event; last June, her second-place 10:24.27 at the New England Championship earned her that distinction. Also, in March, she ran 10:24.32 for two full miles to place seventh at the New Balance National Indoor Championships in New York City, a time equivalent to about 10:20.7 for the metric distance.

Whatever Gaughan's "true" fastest 3,200-meter time was going into the Loucks Games, she obliterated it, running 10:05.71 to place second to sophomore Kelsey Chmiel of perennial national powerhouse Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Chmiel's 9:59.62 and Gaughan's time were good for 3rd and 5th in the nation this spring.

At the same meet, in the boys' 3,200m, Oyster River High School's Patrick O'Brien -- whose mother Cathy is no stranger to high-school and professional success, having run a 2:34:24 marathon at age 16, still an American junior record, and later appearing in two Olympics at the distance -- grabbed fourth place with a 9:02.29. Only three New Hampshire kids have ever run faster: Eli Moskowitz (8:44.79 at the 2014 Loucks Games), Aaron Watanabe of Hanover (8:59.43 at the 2010 New Englands) and Cory Thorne of Portsmouth (9:03.75 for a full two-mile in 2004 in Hartford, Conn,, worth about 9:00.5 for 3,200 meters).

That local newspapers and other media outlets fail to take much notice of track and field, and in particular distance running, is a lament so familiar that it would be fair to apply some derivative of Godwin's law to it: Once you start whining that runners aren't adequately recognized for their efforts, you might as well have just stamped "I ONLY SPEAK DOUCHEBAG!" on your forehead.

Still, a new state record with such undeniable oomph, run by a junior, and at a mid-season meet at that, ought to trigger someone in a newsroom to take notice, right? Well, that depends on your definition of notice. Foster's Daily Democrat in Dover, next door to Durham (home of Oyster River H.S. and the University of New Hampshire) and up the road about 20 miles from Exeter, featured this blurb the day after Gaughan's and O'Brien's races -- and so far is, according to Google News, alone among media outlets in even writing about them:

Exeter High School junior Jackie Gaughan was second in the women’s 3,200-meter run Friday night at the 50th annual Glenn D, Loucks Games at White Plains High School, while Oyster River senior Patrick O’Brien was fourth in the men’s 3,200.

Gaughan ran a time of 10 minutes, 5.71 seconds to finish behind Kelsey Chmiel of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (9:59.2).

O’Brien’s fourth-place time was 9:02.29.

All of this is accurate, which itself is a relief, although I am tempted to fix the comma in "Glenn D, Loucks." But I would have expected someone to point out that Gaughan in effect broke her own New Hampshire record by the same percentile margin as someone carving two seconds off the 400m mark would have, never mind O'Brien's sterling effort.

To be honest, I think that New Hampshire sportswriters in the state's seacoast area have become spoiled by these two lately, and are thereby almost inured to their increasingly impressive achievements. O'Brien recently won the New England indoor title in the two-mile and set a state record in the 3,000 meters shortly before that, while last fall Gaughan was the New England Champion, second at the Foot Locker Northeast Region Championship and 11th at Foot Locker Nationals.

If Gaughan Girl doesn't break 10:00 this season, she almost certainly will in the future, and a sub-9:00 seems almost inevitable this year for O'Brien, who ran his last 400 at Loucks in about 61 but was gapped by the ludicr

12 comments:

  1. Most baffling of all is that none of the major news outlets are carrying any sort of blurb about the 15th Annual Merrimack County Savings Bank Rock n Race 5k in Concord last night which is either the 1st or 2nd largest race in NH (dueling w/ Cigna). Epic weather conditions and a master taking the overall 'W'. Crazy. Not even one of the nation's premiere source of fair and balanced news (Union Leader) mentioned it... only in passing on WMUR... please do the needful investigation.

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    1. More troubling still is that the Christa McAuliffe School in Honor of Michael Richert club once again failed to field a full scoring team. Where have they all been hiding?

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    2. What needs to be investigated is how just a tiny bit over one percent of the field broke 20:00. Yeah, a lot of people in these big midweek corporate events are walkers, but strike the bottom half of finishers and you still have 23/1,001.

      In my first 5K road race in the spring in 1985, in Concord, I ran 19:27 and was about 1/4 of the way back in the field. I'm not sure how many total finishers there were but I want to say I was about 75th of 300.

      A couple of months earlier I ran my first-ever road race of any sort, managing 32:28 for five flat, fair-weather miles on the Concord Heights. I was 28th out of 71 finishers. This means a performance comparable to the 5K I just mentioned put me even further back in the field -- well over half of the runners averaged under 7:00 pace.

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    3. it was 98 degrees at race time. That had something to do with it. Record temps yesterday across NH but especially in Concord.

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    4. Trump has his own weather channel now too?

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    5. Not sure. But 98 degrees on the bank clock/ thermo right at the statehouse. 96 on my car thermo. So I'll call it 97. wunderground and WMUR both had 95 as their official high at about 5pm.

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  2. I put 'CMS' and they didn't assign me a team (as usual). I should have put 'Central Mass Striders' maybe...as Sam Wood shows up as that in the results. But then again maybe he signed up early....

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    1. I don't want to say too much, and you certainly didn't hear this from me, but I wouldn't hold your breath for too many of your future efforts to associate yourself with CMS to be successful. There are a lot of disgruntled people out there. Don't read too much into this, but try to hear what I'm saying.

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    2. I'm one of those CMS'ers who's immune to the actual club drama as I'm nowhere near central mass and the chaos that exists there.

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  3. Well, all these young runners around here are fast and sometimes develop the ability to occasionally steal a win in a meet on the world stage due to pure speed but when it comes to the marathon it just ain't happening. Once those Kenyan and Ethiopian kids start working all day at the age of 5 all day in the fields it solidifies the muscular endurance needed as the kid advances into running and the marathon. The U.S. hasn't done shit since Atari came around and phones. Kids used to play outside and run around all day. We can't compete against a foreign kid who's working like a man at the age of 7.

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  4. Oh 1 more thing and I'm out. The new thing among most female runners in the country as a whole I noticed is that they are actually running away from having children. I mean there are so many, many female runners getting up in age that don't have any kids. They get totally addicted to the sport and when they take 2 seconds off there 10k time it's a celebration of life to them. When there 60 and their legs are totally fried from the circuit they are going to become some of the most bitter and cold people you will ever meet. It's really a sad thing because it's can be very challenging life especially for a women not to have children. I want to go on these blogs and say something but they would get all offensive which I can understand. But,I think a lot of these female runners could have great regret. Many, many couples too are skipping out which is even more perplexing to me! Which is really totally sad because let's face it endorphin is a drug and they can take a woman for a very long ride or run in this case. Take care Kev. Hope you are living well.

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  5. Mark my words Kevin. Our generation is going to be the first to actually have old ladies with the ability to not only scold neighborhood children but to actually have the endurance to chase them down.

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