Monday, March 16, 2015

Tuireann and St Patick: Craicfest (3/15/15)

No green beer (thankfully); but green beer socks!

Race: Craicfest 5k
Location: Cambridge, MA
Goal Time: 19:00
Actual Time: 18:58 (Masters' PR and 2nd Place, Masters)

My favorite story about St Patrick has nothing to do with snakes.  On the night of Beltane - the feast of fires - the High King of Ireland lights the first fire atop the hill of Tara; and then, in a Promethean construct, each other fire is lit with fires from the King's.  In rejection of the Irish gods, Patrick lit his own "Easter Fire" before the king had lit the one atop Tara.

The King - who may or may not have been an Ui Neill - was none too pleased with this rival fire coming from a rival religion to the Irish-Celtic religion.  And he sent his charioteers down to extinguish Patrick's Fire.

Even though I am coordinator of the SRR Grand Prix, I chose not to run the New Bedford Half Marathon. I didn't have that fire I needed for a Half - especially 5 weeks before Boston. Instead, I decided to to a shorter St Patrick's Day themed race - closer to my house.  I chose Craicfest from the Cambridge 5k. After a quick jog over to East Cambridge and settling my geara quick chat with Eddy, I made it to the start line.

The First Mile wound through East Cambridge and Kendall Square.  I bounced between running too fast and easing up too much.  The runner who usually wins the Masters at Cambridge 5k races - Thor Kirleis - was right ahead of me and in my sights.  Just at the corner of Binney and Cardinal Medieros was the mile one marker.  At right under 6 minutes, I felt good and I didn't feel spent.  We took the right onto Broadway...

I drink from the Pint Glass of Glory!

The High King's charioteers made it down to Patrick's fire.  And in what can bee seen as a ceremonial attack, circled the fire counter to the sun's path.  And there upon came and attacked Patrick's "Easter Fire" with the goal of putting it out before the High King would light the Tara Fire.

Throughout the Celtic world in the Bronze and Iron Age, the chariot wheel and the sun's travel were connected with the god Taranis.  Caesar even went as far as to liken him to Jupiter.  If not actually as powerful as Caesar claims (Lucan and Strabo both place him of lesser importance), he was also known as the god of thunder.  He enters Irish as Tuireann, the ruler of tórnach (thunder).  These charioteers may have been attacking such a way to invoke Tuireann.  So it was Patrick against the thunder god.

As we made the right onto Broadway, I could still see my own thunder god rival - Thor - right ahead of me.  Unfortunately the entire way up into Inman Square, he not only stayed three or four people ahead of me, but he kept making that gap larger.

I kept up my pace and effort into Inman Square.  I kept trying to run in the bike lane but it kept being all rock salt and dirt.  At Inman we took the sharp right onto Cambridge Street for the run back down to East Cambridge.  In front of S&S I made my move past one guy and hit the two mile mark ... 6:04.

When the charioteers reach Patrick's fire, they are incapable of extinguishing it.  In a moment oddly reminiscent of Elijah in 1st Kings, the pagan fires are not as strong as the Judeo-Christian ones. Despite the obvious superiority of Patrick's fire to the Druidic fire from Tara, Patrick was not able to convert everyone in one fell swoop.

While, I did not give up on catching Thor in the third mile, I definitely decided to go one thing at a time.  Running down Cambridge through East Cambridge to 6th Street, I slowly pulled back the gap with the next person.  There is a hill on Cambridge (the only significant one of the course) that runs from 6th upto the Courthouse on 3rd.  Recently I had watched a video where Ryan Hall explains that he doesn't kill himself on the hill but waits until it near the crest.  I decided to take that advice.  And as we passed the East Cambridge Savings bank, I started my attack over the crest.

I hit 3rd Street within 20 yards of the next person.  I decided to bring him back in all the way down to 1st street.  Then I would gauge the finish as start a sprint.  We made the right on 1st and I was right behind him.  We were right in front of Amie and Ryan's house as a tried to go by him.  Then he threw in a gear I didn't have...  Thor had long since finished and I decided to run hard in but not try to catch this guy.

Patrick would move onto converting Ireland to Christianity.  (Although probably not "Roman Catholicism" as we think of it today.)  And he would express the Trinity with the Shamrock... (but that's another story...)

I finished in 17th overall; 2nd Masters with my second fastest 5k ever.

Second Masters' Man and Dana, Second Masters' Woman

Shoutouts -

- Dana Second Masters woman and PR

Deb Downs won the Asheville Marathon

- PRs at New Bedford for Allison Lackey, Melissa Glockenspiel, Emma Kosciak and Aharon Wright

- Greg S. won the Spring Thaw 6 Hour

Tino Pai,



  1. Congratulations Jesse! Thanks for the shoutout!

    1. Thanks.

      You're welcome. Running 6 hours through that variety of conditions deserves it!