By Dave Dyer
---- — Kevin Alliette is not in peak shape, but he doesn’t want to miss the return of the North Andover 4th of July Road Race.
A multi-time winner of the 5K, Alliette will once again compete at that distance next week, although with lowered expectations.
“I’m not what I used to be, but I can be in decent shape for that race and I can probably break 17 minutes,” said the 32-year-old former Methuen High and UMass Lowell standout.
Alliette has only run one race in the last few months, the Dan Ford 5K race that he won back in April, as he gradually comes back from surgery last year.
Because of insufficient blood flow to his left foot that ultimately made running impossible, Alliette had surgery in which part of his calf was removed and an artery was replaced in his left leg.
“I had never really had surgery, so it was a little scary,” said Alliette.
It also required a lengthy road back to his usual high standards of running. His performance at the Dan Ford race was encouraging, but he suffered a personal setback earlier in the month when his father, Steven, passed away.
That derailed his training as well as his enthusiasm.
“That was really tough for me,” said Alliette. “He was my biggest fan and we ran a lot of races together. He did a lot for me and we used to talk every day, even when I got older.”
Still a bit down in the dumps over the loss, Alliette is planning a trip to Alaska July 9 with his girlfriend, partly because “it’s a good time to get away.”
But first he’ll have time to run next week in North Andover. A few years ago, in one of the years in which North Andover didn’t hold its race, he competed in the July 4th race at Gillette Stadium, finishing third.
“That was his pretty neat,” he said. “But it’ll be nice to be back home.”
Busy day of races
There will be no shortage of races July 4th this year. In addition to the return of the North Andover races, the inaugural Run for Freedom 5K/10K races will be held at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, starting at 7:30 a.m., and the long-running Jennifer Tinney 5K Race in Boxford begins at 8 a.m.
A little farther away are the 46th annual 4th of July Road Race in Lynnfield and the Friends on the Fourth 5K in Portsmouth.
North Andover 4th of July Race
When: July 4
Time; Kids 2K fun run, 8 a.m.; 5K, 8:30 a.m.; 10K, 8:35 a.m.
Where: Start and finish at Mass. Avenue near Old Town Center and Common
Entry fee: $30 until July 1; $35 on race day (Kids race free)
More information: July4thrace@gmail.com