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MONADNOCK HALF MARATHON

13.1-mile race quickly becoming premier event

Herr becomes first repeat winner in event’s third year in Jaffrey

  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 3rd annual Monadnock Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run were held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

When Chris Bernier started the Monadnock Half Marathon three summers ago, he had a vision.

Bernier, an avid runner himself, wanted it to become one of the premier events in New England. Something distance runners looked forward to each year.

And while it started out a little slower than he expected, Saturday’s event proved that it is moving toward realizing Bernier’s goal.

“I think we’re finally established as a great race and you can start to see it turning into a real community event,” said Bernier. “And we couldn’t have asked for better weather.”

A record 235 runners, many from outside of New England, embarked on the 13.1-mile course that stretched from Jaffrey to Rindge and back again, while testing the endurance and abilities of each entrant.

“I’d say 30 percent of our people were from outside of New England,” said Bernier. “Word is spreading. For the first time this year, we ran out of t-shirts.”

And for the second time in three years, David Herr of Canaan, Vt. came out with the win. Herr finished the course in one hour, 19 minutes and 22 seconds and over two full minutes ahead of Jon Van Dyke of Rindge — the top local finisher.

“I saw a ton of familiar faces,” said Bernier.

Herr averaged 6:04 per mile and separated himself from the field by the midway point of the race. Herr won the inaugural event in 2011, bettering the field of 200, with a time of 1:17:42.

“Anybody who can keep a six-minute pace or right around there on this course, you’re a force to be reckoned with,” said Bernier of Herr.

Last year, when the course was changed to its current format, Herr placed runner-up to Sean Duncan.

Van Dyke, who runs cross-country at Cedarville University in Ohio, used Saturday’s half marathon as one of his final training runs before leaving for school. While his time of 1:21:54 is impressive, Bernier said Van Dyke was not trying to win the race. Instead, he was using it as a tempo run and just happened to be fast enough to take runner-up.

More than three minutes went by before Tristan Amarel of Durham crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 1:25:18 and another one prior to Philip McCormack of Nashua finishing fourth in 1:26:19.

Keith Schmitt finished fifth in 1:26:41. Former Mascenic star Chris Blais placed sixth overall in 1:28:06 and Peter Guza was seventh. Sean Radcliffe of Temple was the first participant to finish over the age of 50 and did so in 1:30:31, doing so with a pace of 6:55 per mile.

Brandon Bohl took ninth and Steven Vargo rounded out the top 10.

Brandy White of Springfield, Vt. earned top female honors by finishing 14th overall in 1:35:12. White, who was just one spot ahead of ConVal cross-country runner Andrew Hunt, was more than three minutes in front of the next female finisher, Rachel Provost of Keene.

Rindge’s Tamara Aho was the top local female to finish, taking 34th overall in 1:44:51.

“We have all levels of runners,” said Bernier. “People just want to come out and run it.”

When Bernier decided to start this event, he wanted it to be a challenge. There are plenty of flat half marathon courses in New England, but Bernier knew the beauty of the area would be an attraction and had a desire to use the difficult hills, like Dragg Hill, and rolling landscape to create a one of a kind course.

“I don’t hide the fact that it’s hard,” said Bernier. “If I tried to make it a flat course, it would take away from the ambiance. People don’t come here for a flat course. That’s why they come to the Monadnock region.”

While the slower times may keep some runners away, Bernier is more than happy with what the event has become.

In addition to the 235 to run the half marathon, another 69 competed in the 5K trail run — won by Christopher Barr of Stratham.

With more than 300 runners total, Bernier sees a bright future for the event and he can’t wait to see what happens next year.

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