Andover Runners Impress In New Hampshire Marathon

By Brian Reynolds, for the Beacon

The New Hampshire Marathon is held annually in Bristol on the last Saturday of September. This year marked the 20th edition of this challenging marathon around Newfound Lake. In recent years, to grow the event and showcase the beautiful area, a 10K (6.2 mile) race and a half marathon (13.1 mile) have been added.

The marathoners and 10K runners start together at 9 AM. The half-marathoners start 13.1 miles away in Hebron at the same time, basically running the second half of the marathon course down the west side of Newfound Lake.

The marathoners and 10K runners start running along the east side of the lake. After 5K (3.1 miles) the 10K runners turn around and return to the school athletic fields and the finish line. The marathoners continue the 26.2 miles to Hebron and around Newfound Lake.

Athletes come from around New England and around the country to run this event, to notch another marathon in a new state, or to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon in April.

This year, Saturday, September 29, was cool, damp, and drizzly. It was not a beautiful day for leaf peeping or much anything else, but it was great weather for a run.

As the three races started, Andover was well represented in all three events. In the 10K, Matthew and David Reynolds (both age 11) were excited and a little anxious about the weather. David “wanted to run faster than last time,” referring to his 58-minute performance from two years ago. Matthew wasn’t sure how he would do, but wanted to keep up with Dave.

This year, David finished in 48:55 – 14th place overall, and third in the 19 and under age group. Matthew was close behind, in 16th place overall, stopping the clock at 51:24.

In the half marathon, the Andover contingent was led by Amy Makechnie. Amy wasn’t sure what to expect after working through some foot problems during the summer. Afterwards, Amy commented: “Race conditions were perfect; cool with light rain and a net downhill. You never really know exactly how you’ll respond in a race, but I was feeling strong and beat my personal best by five minutes – a shocking and rewarding surprise!” Amy’s time of 1:48:38 was good for 27th place.

Sarah Lester agreed the weather and course were great, and they enabled her to cruise to a succesful 1:54:41. Sarah was also pleasantly surprised by her run after battling several injuries of the past few months.

Robin Burroughs Davis was the final member of the team, also coming back from foot problems this summer, to clock 2:24.

In the marathon (26.2 miles) Andover’s Maryn Barrett ran a fantastic 3:24:01. Maryn was the third place woman, and first in her age group. The race was a pleasant surprise given the long, steep hills on the course and gives Maryn a qualifying time for both the 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathon some 20 minutes below the new, tougher standards.

As she was finishing and the race announcer said she was from East Andover, he commented that Andover had a great showing.