Confident Young Runners Capture Cape Cod Marathon Championships
By: Rich Maclone
Most athletes believe that without confidence in oneself failure is more likely than success. Two runners who came to Cape Cod bursting with belief in themselves left town with proof of the power of positive thinking. Eric Ashe, 24, and Kate Pallardy, 27, each said that they toed the starting line of Sunday’s Cape Cod Marathon with their eyes on the prize, and both crossed the finish line later in the morning as champions.
Ashe ran through the finish in 2:26:12. Pallardy, a new mom who is also a former professional triathlete, was first in the women’s competition in 2:52:29.
“I had done a couple of good, long runs in preparation for the (Boston Half Marathon) so I was like, you know what, I’m going to go out and have fun at Cape Cod...I was confident that I could run a good time, and maybe win,” Ashe said after crossing the stripe at the Falmouth Village Green looking more like he’d just finished a 10K.
Ashe, who hails from Allston, ran hard through all 26.2 miles of the Falmouth-based course, and was side-by-side with his top competitor through two-thirds of the race. He and Brandon Newbould, of Nottingham, New Hampshire, pushed one another through the bulk of the course, but Newbould said that his body betrayed him at crunch time, calling his late race performance a “blow up.”
“My calves were spazzing a little bit...things were going okay, things were looking fine. I really thought I was going to be the one making the moves after 20,” Newbould said. “It turned into a struggle. I still thought I might be able to pull it back together, but it really fell apart around 21 or so.”
At the Boston Half Marathon, Ashe ran extremely well, taking sixth overall. He said that his performance at that race made him believe that he could handle the best at Cape Cod and challenge for the title. Once Newbould began to fall back, he said that he knew that he was in the clear, which was good for him because the headwind late in the race became his biggest foe.
“I was kind of trying to maintain the pace on the uphills, and he was kind of pushing the pace on the downhills. I can’t remember when I felt like I was clear, probably around 17 miles. I just didn’t let the pace slow down. I wasn’t trying too hard to worry about the pace, just maintain,” he said. “I knew the last part of the course from the Falmouth Road Race...it was brutal. It wasn’t hot, but I almost would have preferred to have it be hot than have that wind. I felt like I was walking at times.”
His experiences at the Falmouth Road Race began as a top-shelf high school runner about six or seven years ago. Ashe said that back then his top goal was to hang with the elite women’s field, and that at first doing that was a challenge that he wasn’t quite up to. Now he runs ahead of them at the FRR, and looks forward to his trips to the Cape each summer for that race. Now he’s added another reason to regularly return a few months later.
Newbould, who finished in 2:28:18, also came to the Cape with high expectations and left a bit despondent. He said that he knew at the start line that Ashe would be one of the runners that he would be fighting with for the crown, and that had his body not had issues that he very well would could have won.
“Everything was looking real good, and I think I was capable of something a lot faster than that,” Newbould said. “I was very confident. I have a lot of respect for Eric. He’s just plain faster than me at anything shorter than a marathon, but I still had a lot of confidence to give him a good race. “
On the women’s side, it was never close. Pallardy bested Helen Dinan of Bellingham by nearly seven minutes as Dinan came in at 2:5:14.
The affable young mom, who held her toddler Anders at the finish line, said that she went out hard with a group of men and stayed with them for more than half of the race.
“I led from the beginning, and I found a real good group of guys and hung around until mile 14, and then I stayed with one guy until the end, my guy, it was nice,” she said.
Like Ashe, Pallardy said that her goal from the start was to be the race champion. She had a plan, raced it, and it worked.
“I was going to come here to try to win. At the half-marathon point, I felt, ‘all right, you got this.’ The guy I was running with was real nice, he just kind of broke the wind for me, and I had a nice cushion,” she said.
The conditions were challenging, she said, but a far cry from some of the more difficult races that she’s participated in. Pallardy said that her first-ever competitive race was a 50-mile ultra marathon, which she did as a challenge to herself as a 20-year old. She met her husband at that race, and he told her that her talents were better suited for triathlons, which she focused on professionally for several years until she became pregnant.
Now she lives and trains in New York City. She said that running in Central Park prepared her well for the terrain of the Cape Cod Marathon. With a big lead, she said she held a little something back over the second half of the race that she hopes she’ll be able to unleash at the Sacramento Marathon in California in four weeks.
In the Marathon Relay, the QD Racing Team of Falmouth ran the fastest time. The men’s team ran a combined time of 2:32:25 to beat Margaret’s Fishermen of Dorchester by nearly a minute. The Fishermen ran 2:36:20 combined. The Falmouth High School cross country team put in an entry into the relay and finished seventh overall with a time of 2:53:52.
On Saturday, in the Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Half Marathon, 42-year old Joseph Ekoum, of Kingston, New York, was crowned the champion with a decisive victory. He ran a time of 1:15.12 to cross the line ahead of everyone.
Running second was the women’s champion, Brielle Chabot, of Brighton. She finished the race in 1:18:55.
Elizabeth Lawton of East Falmouth was the top local finisher. She placed 12th overall, and was the fifth female finisher. She ran a time of 1:27:56.
In the Chowdah Challenge, Barry Lass, 48, of Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, was the men's winner with a combined time of 4:28.23 for both races. Paula Healey, 31, of Pocasset, took women's honors in 5:15.54.
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