Keeping Score: A border crossing to Greenfield

Friday, April 06, 2018

Good morning!

To borrow the title from a country music song, Shelburne native Beth Davenport has run everywhere, man. The 57-year-old Santa Fe resident is into her fifth tour of running a marathon in every state and last week she emailed that she had signed up for this summer’s New England Green River Marathon.

“I’m in a small circle of folks who are trying to run an inaugural marathon in every state,” said Davenport, who graduated from GHS Class of ‘79. “This one’s a bit unique as it could count for either Vermont or Massachusetts.”

That’s terrific, but wait — the Green River what? “I was looking on some race calendar online and found it. Being from Greenfield, ‘Green River’ caught my eye and I just about fell out of my chair. I never thought Greenfield would have a marathon.”

The best little marathon nobody’s heard of is Aug. 26, when a capped field of 350 entrants will follow country roads from Marlboro (Vt.) College along the Green River to Greenfield Community College.

The Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club and the Connecticut River Conservancy are sponsoring the race, which was the brainchild of SMAC members Tom and Laure (Van den Broeck) Raffensperger, who live in Greenfield.

“The start and finishes fell into place naturally,” said Raffensperger. “We began with the idea of having it along the Green River and when we looked at the map, the colleges jumped right out with their beautiful settings and ample space.”

Referencing Marlboro’s Kevin Quigley and GCC’s Bob Pura, Raffensperger said, “The two presidents have both been great. They’re excited to be part of the project.”

The race course dips down into Guilford, goes over the covered bridge and left onto Green River Road and up Colrain Road to the finish. Runners will descend nearly a mile from start to finish, making it karma’s answer to the grueling Mount Washington Road Race on June 16.

The $105 registration fee includes a souvenir shirt, commemorative medal and transportation from the GCC parking lot to the starting line.

“We’ve registered 104 runners so far, so there’s still room,” said Raffensperger. “We’re capping it at 350 to keep it a small, community race. We’re conscious of the impact on residents and we’re striving to make it a no-trace race by cleaning up after we’re done.”

Davenport will use the race as an opportunity to visit friends and family. Her biggest decision, she said, was choosing which state to check off her list. “I’ll use it as my Massachusetts marathon,” she decided.

The race course will be an easy qualifier for the 2019 Boston Marathon, but with a scenic course like Green River, who needs Boston?

Sports radio rules the Boston airwaves, which might be the reason for the recent spate of name-calling and angry crosstalk between stations. Recently WEEI’s Kirk Minihane took the SportsHub’s Michael Felger to task for characterizing addicts as “soft.”

“That’s the whole point, that’s why you’re an addict,” said Felger, discussing whether the Patriots should take a flyer on miscreant Johnny Manziel as the backup quarterback.

The Boston Globe reported that “Felger & Mazz” (with Tony Massarotti) scored a 12.1 share in the winter ratings for afternoon drive on 98.5, and Kirk & Callahan (with Dennis Callahan) had an 11.3 share of the morning audience on flagship 850 AM (together with its affiliate stations). Both numbers are good for the all-important men’s 24-56 age demographic.

Minihane zeroed in on Felger in his opening monologue on March 29: “There are alcoholics who choose not to drink because they want to raise a family and do a job and have their kids be proud of them,” he said. “In Michael Felger’s mind, that guy or woman is soft. So if that guy or woman, instead of going to a (recovery) meeting takes that exit and has a drink, they’re not soft anymore. That’s how he operates.”

In an age of finger-pointing and rants, that’s good radio. It evokes a listener response and stimulates online conversation. In the Big Apple, Howard Stern stomped on 77-year-old Don Imus after he announced his retirement on March 29. Imus once vowed he’d eat dog poop if Stern ever beat him in the ratings. “Tasted like chicken,” said the I-man.

Lastly, Chris Russo teamed up for a day with former longtime sidekick Mike Francesca. “We can make fun of WFAN all day,” he joked to Francesa on Sirius-XM’s MLB Channel.

The next day, according to the New York Daily News, WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason called Russo’s comment “classless” and afternoon co-host Gregg Giannotti uttered, “That’s wrong man.”

Stay tuned for the next episode of “As the Dial Turns.”

Charlie Weis to SXM’s Ross Tucker on this year’s quarterback crop: “The only guy truly ready to play is Baker Mayfield. (Sam) Darnold throws a bunch of interceptions and gets strip sack fumbles, (Josh) Rosen doesn’t even have the support of his ex head coach, obviously he’s a problem off the field, (Josh) Allen’s raw, completed 56 percent of his passes …”

Weis told Tucker that Louisville’s Lamar Jackson shouldn’t be discounted because his agent is his mother. “There are teams that are delighted because he might drop lower and they’ll have a better shot at getting him. The guy won the Heisman Trophy for slinging the ball up and down the field, throwing a zillion touchdown passes and any time there was pressure, pulling it down and no one could catch him.”

Postcard from Tony Worden in Gainesville: “My daughter Amelia and I were at that Arkansas/Florida game that ended 17-2. We’re doing college visits and it was amazing the crowd they draw. They leave the football stadium open and people run the stairs. It’s massive. The whole setup shows how seriously they take sports.”

The Golf Channel’s Frank Nobilo on Tiger Woods at the Masters: “Tiger’s advantage is his love of Augusta. If he was to win, it’s the greatest comeback in sport. I’ve dug through the record books and I can’t find a sport — Ali-Foreman, Agassi coming back, Tommy John surgery. … Tiger was done, but he has such good history here …”

Kudos to New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick for mentioning Florida State’s four-point loss to Michigan in the Elite Eight. The Seminoles trailed 58-54 with 13 seconds left. Michigan is ranked 321st in free throw percentage yet coach Leonard Hamilton told his defense not to foul. Michigan won, 58-54, but Florida State covered as a 4½-point underdog.

Investopedia reported that March Madness raked in $900 million last year. One dirty team would kill the golden goose, so why mess with mother goose?

SQUIBBERS: Here’s wishing Carol Smith a speedy recovery from shoulder surgery. During her first trip to Fenway Park, Smith thought the retired numbers on the right field roof were lottery numbers, and misheard the Pesky Pole as the Penske Pole. Makes sense, it’s yellow.

Three races on today’s stakes calendar — the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, and the Santa Anita Derby in California — will help determine the 20 horses that will go into the Kentucky Derby starting gate four weeks hence. … Last week Gronkowski qualified for the Run for the Roses with his fourth straight win in Great Britain. “He’s built much the same (as the player),” Gronkowski’s owner Kerri Radcliffe told The Racing Post.

After UConn’s second tournament loss at the buzzer in as many years, women’s coach Geno Auriemma told the media: “It’s a great learning tool, but I’m a pretty smart guy. I don’t need to learn this (expletive) two years in a row.” … Artie Ackerman’s looking to reprise his popular wiffle ball tourney — three to a team, man, woman or child, whoever can hit the wiffle curve. The Fairgrounds is among the options being considered. … This talk of exit velocity and launch angle, all it does is remind me of Al Schell’s geometry class. … Bob Lemon, from A-Z Quotes: “The two most important things in life are good friends and a strong bullpen.”

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached by email at sports@recorder.com.