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Brockett captures Green River Marathon

  • Meg Brockett of Hampton, N.H. runs to the finish line of the inaugural New England Green River Marathon Sunday morning at Greenfield Community College, where she took first overall in 2:46:37. Staff photo/melina Bourdeau

  • Stephen Plouffe of Andover finished 14th overall during the New England Green River Marathon Sunday. staff photo/melina bourdeau

  • Meg Brockett of Hampton, N.H. runs to the finish line of the inaugural New England Green River Marathon Sunday morning at Greenfield Community College where she finished first overall in 2:46:37. Staff photo/melina Bourdeau

  • Coley Carden of Winchester finished second overall and won the men’s division of the inaugural New England Green River Marathon Sunday morning. staff photo/melina bourdeau

  • Above, Matt Fernandes of Norton pushes through to the finish line during Sunday’s inaugural New England Green River Marathon where he finished ninth overall. Below, Stephen Plouffe of Andover appears suspended in air en route to his 14th-place finish. staff photo/melina bourdeau



Special to the Recorder
Sunday, August 26, 2018

GREENFIELD — After Meg Brockett enrolled at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., she went to cross country coach Jesse Baumann and said she wanted to run in the nationals. “I was mediocre at best,” she said. “My goals maybe weren’t realistic.”

Baumann instilled the basics — “race smart, train smart, sleep well, eat well … ” and during Brockett’s senior year in 2016, she made up 30 spots in the final 1,800 meters to finish 35th among 280 runners in the NCAA championships in Louisville. “He believed in me, and I was a Division III All-American,” she said.

On Sunday morning, Brockett again proved her long-distance prowess, chasing down leader Coley Carden to win the inaugural New England Green River Marathon. The 23-year-old New Hampshire native crossed the finish line at Greenfield Community College in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 37 seconds.

That’s a pretty fair showing for a first-time marathoner.

Runner-up Carden, of Winchester, and third-place finisher Vikram Daesety, a BU student from Andover, were also running their first marathons. They finished in 2:51:11 and 2:51:37, respectively.

Both said they were to “race the clock” in Daesety’s words, finishing fast enough to qualify for the Boston marathon.

“I just turned 42 and this is my midlife crisis,” said Carden. “Running a marathon is a lot cheaper than buying a Porsche. I told my friends I was going to run a marathon and they said, ‘Okay, we’ll see you in the ER.’”

Greenfield’s Marcy Cabanas (3:20:47) and Kristen Sweeney (3:21:12) of Tallahassee, Fla. were the second- and third-place women’s finishers. The first Franklin County runner to finish was Greenfield’s Ben Whitbeck who crossed in 2:55:42, fifth overall.

The event was sponsored by the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club and the Connecticut River Conservancy, and was the inspiration of SMAC members Tom Raffensperger and Laure Van den Broeck.

A chalkboard message in the yard of a Guilford home said, “Without river navigation, there is no love,” written by Colombian author and Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Karovez, but love for the river was navigated on land and that took some doing. The field of 363 runners arrived at GCC at 5:30 a.m. and were bussed to the starting line at Marlboro (Vt.) College near the Green River’s headwaters in Halifax.

Members of the Franklin County Amateur Radio Club were stationed along the course, including Justin Norman at Ten Mile Bridge in Leyden and Karen Bierwert who sat in the back of Raffensperger’s vehicle while he monitored the runners’ progress. “This race was especially imperative since there wasn’t cell reception,” said Richard Stewart, who manned the club’s tent near the finish line.

The race began at 7 a.m. and runners descended down Moss Hollow Road to Green River Road where farmers were hauling sweet corn to market. “I found myself looking at waterfalls and the river,” said Brockett, who was raised in Manchester, N.H., and lives near the ocean in Hampton. “It was quiet and nice. I started taking maple syrup shots at mile 18, and at mile 23 my hip started getting to me.”

Brockett trailed Carden by nearly 90 seconds at the Mile 16 marker, but caught up and passed him near where the dirt turns to pavement. “Good job, keep going,” she said she told him, adding, “I try to be a good sport.” 

The last few miles on pavement proved to be a version of Heartbreak Hill. “I was enjoying myself until we hit the pavement and direct sunlight,” said Daesety.

The race attracted runners from Canada, Mexico, Brazil and 25 states, including Mark and Amy Wise of Wilmington, Del. After dropping her off at the start, Mark returned to GCC and got on his bike and met his wife about halfway up the course. 

Afterward, she sat in the shade of a tree while Mark pushed her foot back to help relieve leg cramps. “The course was beautiful, but harder than I thought when hearing it was a net downhill,” said Wise, who finished 166th in 4:16:29. “Some of the uphills, and actually some of the big downhills, really took a toll on my quads.”

“It was incredibly well supported and organized,” she added. “The aid stations and volunteers were great.”

It was 1:30 p.m. when the last runner was officially recorded by John Frey of Velocity Results. Henry Reuden of De Pere, Wisconsin finished 265th in 6:30:51. The last two Franklin County runners to have their names and times recorded were Nancy Mead of Wendell and Michelle Desrosiers of Orange.

Whether it was their first marathon or not, give them a medal for perseverance.