2023 New Bedford Half Marathon’s Tsunami of PRs for Team Nark

by Ryan Cooper

On March 19th nine members from Nark Racing took to the starting line to run the New Bedford Half Marathon. This scenic race took the team and 1,300 other runners through the charming streets of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and along the beautiful coastline. The day started out like many other races, except for the gun going off at 11:00 a.m. Coach Mat, Julianne, Damian and I decided that, because of the late start, we would make the three hour and fifteen-minute drive that morning. This approach seemed to work out just fine, as we arrived with plenty of time to get changed and warmed up. It also provided me with plenty of time to make some videos for the NRS FB Page documenting the journey. Episode 2: Truth or Dare was probably my favorite, and the masses agreed.

Julianne and Mat en route

On the way to New Bedford, Mat was constantly checking the weather forecast while watching Chris Thompson burn out at the NYC United Airlines Half Marathon. The two lessons we learned were: One - It is going to be windy the first 5k, which was uphill, and Two - Don't go out too fast.

It was almost go time as everyone piled into the gates and fought for a spot in the sun to stay warm while the National Anthem was playing in the background. The gun went off, and the slight downhill for the first half mile was a red herring as we quickly met one hundred feet of elevation followed by seventy-five feet of decline only to go up about another hundred feet, all during the first 5k.  Now this doesn’t seem too awful, but Mat Kovachick Nark correctly predicted that we would be running uphill into a 15 MPH wind, which really wasn’t ideal. I was able to find a larger runner and drafted off of him (sorry), until he ran out of gas, and then I found myself being drafted off of. The race plan called for this portion to be slower, and it worked, as I had plenty of gas in the tank with next six miles being downhill, leading to the flat area by the ocean.

As the parade looped around the peninsula and our time at the beach was coming to an end, there was one last mountain to climb. I can picture in my mind the race planners all sitting around a table laughing when they said, “Let’s make these fools run up Country Street at the end of the race, that sounds nice, doesn't it?” I was in a pack of probably ten or so, and as we rounded the corner from Cove to Country Street. I could hear the expletives being uttered over my music. It was at this moment we all saw what looked like an urban Mt. Everest ahead. I swear I couldn’t see the top, as it was in the clouds. But once at the top we were all blessed with a fast downhill stretch and a crowd that sounded like the student section at a D1 football game.

                                                                              PRs Galore!

For those not familiar with it, the New Bedford Half Marathon is more than just a race, it's an experience. Since the majority of the race is in town, the course is lined with cheering spectators, encouraging runners to push themselves to their limits. Several people even would read the runner’s name on their bib, and shout, for example, “Go, Ryan!”  If they only knew I was a huge Buffalo Bills fan they probably would have thrown rocks at me, being that close to Foxborough and all.

Ryan “the Mayor” Cooper and Damian “the Doc” Compa with fresh PRs!

If you're looking for a memorable racing experience with Dollar General quality medals, mark your calendar for next year's New Bedford Half Marathon. For team NRS it sure was memorable, as eight of the nine team members, despite the terrain and wind, came out with PR’s with time drops ranging from 16 seconds to 5:45! Personally, I was able to drop 2:35 off my PR time to ring the bell at 1:34:04.

Up next for Nark Racing is the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon where we will rain PR’s!

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Stronger. Faster. Further.




Ryan Cooper is the VP of Business Development for IEA Infrastructure Services as well as
“The Mayor” of Nark Racing and a devoted runner.

Click here for all articles about and by Ryan.

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