Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fyffe Takes Todd's Trot

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Monika O'Clair photo Jacy Christiansen of New Ipswich wins the women's portion of the Todd's Trot 5K road race in Durham, Saturday.

DURHAM — Justin Fyffe made a "spur of the moment" decision Friday night to run Todd's Trot. It didn't take him much longer to cover the 5K course Saturday morning.
He made the two and a half hour trip from East Dummerston, Vt., worthwhile by winning the seventh annual road race in record time. Fyffe finished in 15 minutes, 9 seconds, which was 12 seconds faster than the previous mark set by Ben Schmeckpeper in 2007.
Fyffe, who was running Todd's Trot for the first time, won easily despite a stiff headwind that probably prevented him from breaking 15 minutes.
"My goal timewise was 14:50," said Fyffe, 29, who has been running competitively for the past three years and is training for the Vermont City Marathon on May 30. "That obviously didn't happen. But I'm still happy. It's all relative to the course. I think I could run that fast on a flatter (surface), less windy of a day. This course was awesome. It was fun."
Matt Russell of Ogdensburg, N.Y., finished a distant second in 15:49 with Manchester's Peter Mallet third in 15:53, Durham's Scott McGrath fourth in 15:58, and Concord's Mackenzie Kilpatrick — the 2006 winner — fifth in 16:03.
They were the only runners to break 17 minutes.
"I'm ramping up my miles so I felt strong," said Fyffe, who plans to defend his title next year. "I had a good workout this past Wednesday so I felt I had some good leg speed. I wanted to get into a 5K and I felt like I had some wheels.
"I'm used to running longer distances so this felt like a sprint," Fyffe added.
Schmeckpeper, the three-time defending champion, did not run Saturday's race. Edmund Dantes of Verseilles was sixth with Rye's Stephen Hennigan seventh, Dover's Cullen Fergus eighth, Durham's Andrew Clemence ninth, and Colin Chapman of West Point, N.Y., 10th.
The race is held in honor of Peter "Todd" Heuchling, a standout athlete at Oyster River High School who collapsed and died during a training run for the U.S. Military Academy. As is customary, several cadets made the trip from West Point to run in the race.
"I wanted to win and I wanted to set a course record and I accomplished both of those things," Fyffe said. "You never know. There's a lot of fast runners out there and you never know who's going to be here. There's plenty of quality runners in New England. Today was my lucky day I guess."
The women's race was much closer with Jacy Christiansen of New Ipswich outlasting former Dover High School and University of New Hampshire runner Lesley Hocking. The 16-year-old Christiansen crossed the finish line in 18:05, nine seconds ahead of Hocking.
"I did the course for my warmup and I felt like absolute crap," Hocking said. "So I was just happy to be able to run my half-marathon pace. I've been feeling kind of down this week so this is a good step toward being healthy again. Second place is all I wanted today."
Christiansen and Hocking were the only two females to finish under 19 minutes.
"I wanted to win," Christiansen said, "but I wasn't sure who would be here. I just decided to go out and do my best and not worry about who was here."
Heidi Westerling, who did not run Saturday, had won two of the last three races, including last year's record-setting run.
"Without Heidi Westerling showing up I thought there was potential (to win)," Hocking said. "I was just glad to get a good race in. I wasn't disappointed with second."
Christiansen, who finished third at Todd's Trot in 2008 and second last year, didn't come close to Westerling's 2009 time (16:54).
"It went pretty well," said Christiansen, who attends Mascenic Regional High School. "I felt very smooth through the first mile. And then the second mile was kind of tough and I felt a little bit like I was running through glue. Fortunately the second woman (Hocking) came up next to me and we were battling it out and she really pushed me through the last mile.
"I pulled away from her near the end because I knew what I wanted," Christiansen said. "I wanted to beat her."
Manchester's Mary Garrity was third in the women's race with Lee's Lydia Travis fourth, Durham's Meredith Mistretta fifth, Stratham's Emily Block sixth, Melissa Hurley of Ashaway, R.I., seventh, Kristina Smith of Poland, Maine, eighth, Dover's Sara West ninth, and Durham's Hannah Herzs-Kahn 10th.
Overall, there were 508 finishers.
"It was a good race," said Hocking, who is training for a fall marathon. "When I got to the top of Bagdad hill I caught up to her and she surged. I caught up to her again and she surged. We passed each other probably three times before she surged on Dennison Road I guess it was."
While Christiansen and Hocking swapped the lead several times, Fyffe led virtually from start to finish and was never pushed.
"It was mostly a solo effort," said Fyffe, who won the Vermont high school Division I state title in the 2-mile run in 1997. "There were a couple youngsters ahead of me the first couple yards but they always run out fast. That didn't last more than about 50 meters. Then after that it was pretty much a solo effort. I did do the course as a warmup so I knew what to expect. I knew where to surge and I knew where the hills were going to be. I knew where I had to conserve energy and where I had to spend energy."
Monika O'Clair photo Vermont's Justin Fyffe set a course record in winning the seventh annual Todd's Trot 5K road race in Durham on Saturday.


  1. Time to update the 5k PR on the right... :)

  2. Nice job Justin. That is a tough 5K course. I'd put it on par with a 14:50 on a flat course.

  3. Solid run on a solo effort! It was nice meeting you and I'll see you at Mount Washington. Keep up those miles and stay healthy!