McIsaac's Late Decision to Run Fete 10k Rewarded as He Cruises to Solid Victory
By Bill Alden
Glenn McIsaac almost skipped the Princeton Fete 10k road race last Saturday.
The Princeton resident, who specializes in one-mile and two-mile races on the track, feared that the 6.2 mile distance of the Fete didn't really fit into his training regimen.
But McIsaac, who won the Fete 5k last year before the event was discontinued, opted at the 11th hour to give the longer race a go and his decision was rewarded as he won the event in a time of 33:58.
McIsaac beat runner-up Daniel Feder of Princeton by 30 seconds in finishing first of the more than 400 runners who took part in the 27th running of the event.
Afterward, the 45-year-old McIsaac acknowledged he was pleasantly surprised by how things turned out.
"I was really debating with this one," recalled McIsaac, a corporate banker with Bernstein Investment Management in New York City.
"I just registered a couple of days ago for the reason that it doesn't fit well with my summer training. Normally I like to have a 5,000-meter race at this time of the year to get into the track season. I was looking at this as a hard training run. I'm very pleased."
McIsaac, who ran track in college at Florida and has competed with the Mercer-Bucks running club, admitted that his "training run" turned into quite a battle with second-place finisher Feder.
"We were dueling, he [Feder] was tough," explained McIsaac, who has been running around 35-40 miles a week as he tunes up for his racing season.
"We were both surging a bit. I pulled away with around a half-mile to go. It was a good race. It was great to have someone to run with like that, especially in a long race."
McIsaac particularly enjoyed the race organizers' decision to change the race finish to Princeton University's Weaver Track and Field Stadium from the Washington Road fields.
"For a track guy like me, it was great running into the stadium," added a smiling McIsaac, who said he would like the Fete to reinstitute the 5k race. "It's a really nice way to end a race plus the surface is great."
The top women's finisher, Natalie Jones of Titusville, also felt right at home winding up the race at the track.
Jones, a rising junior at Cornell who runs in the Big Red's cross country and track programs, finished the race in 41:34, beating Princeton High track star Meaghan Lynch by 1:11.
Like McIsaac, the 19-year-old Jones came into the race viewing it as a training session. "I just felt like a faster-paced run," said Jones, a star at Hopewell Valley in her high school days. "I'm just doing mileage this summer and throwing in some tempo runs. I'm looking to get up to about 55-60 miles a week."
Coming into the race with that mindset, Jones hadn't expected to be the top woman finisher. "I was surprised," said Jones with a laugh. "I thought someone was going to come up from behind me the whole time. I was just trying to keep up with the guys running around me."
Jones is hoping Saturday's win will help put her on the right track after a tough spring. "I've been injured a lot," said Jones, noting that her knee and hip ailed her this spring. "This was nice. Hopefully this year I'm going to shine. It was a great race, I¹ll definitely be back."
Second-place finisher Lynch, who raced at 1,600 and 3,200 distances this spring with PHS, enjoyed branching out to the longer distance.
"I had no idea what I was doing," said Lynch with a laugh. "We [Lynch and PHS teammate Eleonora Spinazzi] went out in our 5k pace. I thought the first two miles were really hard. Once I turned around, I felt like I was coming back and I felt a lot better. This is my first year running this, I loved it."
Judging by the throng of smiling runners congregating at Weaver Stadium after the race, Lynch certainly wasn't alone in those sentiments last Saturday.