By Chris O'Donnell
---- — For Alanna Poretta and Patrick Fullerton, two of the brightest young runners in the area who just won one of the biggest summer road races in New England, their reactions were anything but jubilant.
For these ultra-competitive kids – Poretta will be a senior at Boston College, and Fullerton just graduated from Stonehill – it was all about time.
Poretta, a Groveland native, won the women’s 5K in 18:— 1:36 ahead of Newburyport’s Jana Schulson (20:01); while Fullerton, from Bradford, cruised to the men’s 5K title in 15:21 — 38 seconds ahead of Methuen’s Lucas Parsons (15:59), a sophomore-to-be at UMass Lowell.
Both were happy to have won. But neither could hide their disappointment.
“I really wanted to break 18:00,” said Poretta, whose personal best in the 5K is 17:15, achieved last spring. “It wasn’t about winning it, it was about time. It was cool to hear that I was the first woman, but it was just more for time. I’m still training a lot right now.”
The folks at Boston College will be happy to know that Poretta is sticking to her summer program. Tuesday night’s 5K was a part of a 16-mile day. She ran five miles at 5:45 a.m. and another four in the early afternoon. She cruised through the 5K and planned to cool down with another four miles afterward.
“I’ll probably go pretty easy (cooling down),” she said. “I’ve been training this summer with a lot of mileage. My real races are coming up later this season, so that is what I’m training for.”
Poretta last ran the 5K two years ago, finishing third in 18:43. Except for the first quarter mile of the race, she couldn’t recall trailing. “There were a couple of little girls who went out in front,” she said. “I think for the most part I was in the lead.”
In general, runners were happy to escape the heat and humidity that seems to blanket the Yankee Homecoming 5K and 10-mile races.
“Conditions were wonderful,” Poretta said. “I was a little bit worried because I usually train at 5:45 in the morning because I work every day, so I’m not really used to the heat. But it was a really nice day out.”
Fullerton, who admits to having naturally tight hamstrings, would’ve welcomed the heat and humidity. But his hamstrings were the least of his worries Tuesday night.
Fullerton was targeting a time of 14:15 (the 5K record of 14:56 was set by the late Travis Landreth) and he ran the first mile in 4:20, but later felt a pop in his Achilles tendon.
“I got to the 1.5-mile mark, and my half mile after that was 2:38,” he explained. “I could feel my body just not cooperating, so I shut it down.
“I’m happy I won, but I’m still frustrated,” he added.
Still, approaching Oakland Street, the roughly 400-meter climb, he was tempted to pursue his target time.
“I kind of picked it up on Oakland Street, but I looked at my watch and I would’ve had to run the last 800 meters in 2:00. I would’ve had to pull something ridiculous.”
Nevertheless, it has been a stellar summer for the Bradford native, having won the Newburyport Flag Day 5K on June 14 (14:55.1), which followed a third-place finish the day before at the Hollis (N.H.) Fast 5K (13.59.2). He also ran the Manchester Mile in 3:48.28, a downhill course, on July 3.
If he pronounces himself fit, Fullerton will go for the Clipper City trifecta Sunday in the High Street Mile.
Yankee Homecoming 5K results
Place, name Hometown Time
1. Pat Fullerton Bradford 15:21
2. Lucas Parsons Methuen 15:59
3. Stephen Robertston Wakefield 16:11
4. Connor Habib Hampton, N.H. 16:17
5. Joe Santo Newburyport 16:23
6. Jefferson Welch Haverhill 16:35
7. Steve Dowsett Newburyport 16:41
8. Dylan Parry Albany, N.Y. 16:48
9. Seamus Cullinane Hampton, N.H. 16:49
10. Matthew Orlando Newburyport 16:58
1. Alanna Poretta Groveland 18:25
2. Jana Schulson Newburyport 20:01
3. Rebecca Morse West Newbury 20:05
4. Hannah McCormick Newburyport 20:06
5. Kelly Bradbury Newburyport 20:25
6. Alex Giese Franklin 20:34
7. Anna Willig Phoenixville, Pa. 20:58
8. Chelsea Savage Pembroke 20:58
9. Georgia McGaughey Winchester 20:05
10. Liz Mooney-Arcieri Newmarket, N.H. 21:21