I’ve had my eye on the James Joyce Ramble 10K for awhile. With a USATF Master’s Championship designation, the words of James Joyce read at each turn of the course, and a mystery angel encouraging me near the finish, this year’s race did not disappoint.
Held in Dedham, Massachusetts with the start/finish at the beautiful Endicott estate, the gently rolling hills of the course takes runners through a small downtown, picturesque neighborhoods and shaded park-like roads before returning us to the finish.
The weather was perfect for a run, low 50’s, low humidity and a slight breeze.
Readers in period dress stood on chairs, fences or tree stumps reading from the text of James Joyce as runners pass. A fellow participant described the race as the right mixture of highly competitive and campy.
This race has a two-wave start, with runners registered for the USATF Masters Championship in the first wave, going off several minutes before the open race. Nearly 200 masters runners participated, most with track club affiliations from across the country. I was one of a handful of non-affiliated runners.
With a time of 53:15, in the USATF standings I placed 5th of 10 in Women AG 65-69. This is an age group with strong runners including first place Edie Stevenson (45:08) who holds at least one age group record in another distance.
And what about that mystery angel? Nearing the 6-mile mark, my quads were burning, still recovering from the Boston Marathon six days earlier. A soft lilting voice was at my side, saying “Come on, finish with me.” I begged off, slowing a bit but staying near her heels. She continued to encourage me and several other runners as we drew near the finish. I believe she noticed my One Run for Boston shirt and said “You are my hero.” She was wearing a Team Hoyt shirt and I replied “And you are my hero.”
I could hear names called over the loudspeaker as we approached the finish. Following the mystery angel across the timing mat, I hear the announcer say “Uta Pippig has finished the race.” I believe he also said she was the official or honorary starter for the race this year. It took me some time after the finish for it to register. That soft, persuasive but insistent voice beside me saying “Come on, finish with me” was the voice of Olympian Uta Pippig and 3-time winner of the Boston Marathon with a number of other marathon wins as well.
How is it that the runners who are the highest achievers and most talented are also the most gracious and encouraging?
Wow! What a great honor to have Uta Pippig cheering you at your side at the finish! Such a great story. And I am seriously impressed at those age group finish times you mentioned. I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself (and old) because I’ve been sick the past three weeks and my comeback marathon this weekend is going to be a slow slog with lots of walking to the finish. Thanks for reminding me it’s temporary and I have many many more fast races in my senior years! Congrats to you on a fast finish.
What a delightful blog post, Mary Lou! A great way to start my day! I trust you will run and blog in good health for many years to come. Thank you, Kate
Sent from my iPad
You’re welcome, Kate. I will be grateful to run & blog for whatever time is given me.
So excited you have a marathon in the near future. Care to share which one? I will be thinking of you and waiting for your report. I had my own slow slog during very warm early hours at the Boston Marathon, still haven’t published a race report still coming to terms with it.
Absolutely powerful exchange and an absolutely delightful post. THANKS! You are impressive–and Utta Pippig knew it!
Congrats Mary Lou!! Always enjoy your posts!
Thanks, Patrick. And what a successful run for you at the Delaware Coastal.
[…] Minneapolis and Albuquerque). I’ve also run in two USATF races, a 5K in Syracuse NY and a 10K in Dedham, Massachusetts. The competition is tougher than local road races. I like that because it shows me what is possible […]
[…] Registration is open for the 1/2 marathon in Syracuse and well as the Atlanta 5K. I’ve already registered for the Syracuse 1/2 and would like to give the James Joyce Ramble 10K a try again. (My race report from 2016 here). […]