NORTH ANDOVER — If it weren’t for the sun, the heat and the hills, Thursday’s North Andover 4th of July Road Race might have been a breeze.
But, for Eric Narcisi, it felt like something else.
“Like death,” he said.
Still, the North Andover resident pushed on, separating from his Borderline Running Club (based in North Andover) teammate Michael Watson and powering to a victory in the 41st installment of the holiday road race.
“The course itself was fine,” Narcisi said. “Mike was right with me until maybe two miles and I thought he was going to take it. I got separation and was able to hold it.”
Narcisi, 39, finished in 16:20. Watson came in at 16:50, and Thomas Faucher of North Andover took third at 17:12.
Along with Narcisi and Watson, several members of the Borderline Running Club ran the race. Several crossed the finish line early, as Narcisi estimates about 50 club members ran on Thursday.
“I missed the group photo so I’m not totally sure,” Narcisi joked.
“The fact that it supports the North Andover Booster Club and is local, I love it. I try to get out to as many of the local races as I can. No commute!”
NO ONE CLOSE TO PELLEGRINI
Cayla Pellegrini, of Derry, may have been running the holiday race for the first time, but it was far from her introduction to the course.
The Merrimack College assistant track coach has run around the area many times, although she hadn’t for at least a few months ahead of Thursday’s race.
That played no factor whatsoever, as Pellegrini finished sixth overall and topped the women’s field by a large margin.
Not that she was aware at all.
“I don’t know if anyone was close to me,” Pellegrini said. “I just looked straight ahead the whole time.”
The 27-year-old Pellegrini’s time of 17:33 was well ahead of the remainder of the women’s field.
The next best female finisher was Sara Stevens in 34th at 20:37, more than three minutes behind Pellegrini.
ALLIETTE IN THE MIX
It’s never a surprise to see Methuen High boys track head coach Kevin Alliette among the top finishers at a local road race. And there he was again on Thursday.
Alliette (17:39) took eighth place overall on Thursday. The 38-year-old Methuen High Hall of Famer was fifth in the 30-39 age group.
How about those teenage runners?
Two of the top five finishers on Thursday have yet to hit 20-years-old, showcasing that young legs can get the job done against some more seasoned veterans.
Faucher, a 2019 North Andover High graduate, finished third (17:12) and recently-graduated Methuen High standout Sam Flint (17:19) took fifth. Both are 18, and both didn’t look a bit out of place among the experienced group.
There were eight total teenagers in the top 20, with 13-year-old TJ Lynch coming in as the youngest of the group, placing 17th (18:37).
4th of July Road Race
TOP 15 FINISHERS
1. Eric Narcisi, 16:20; 2. Michael Watson, 16:50; 3. Thomas Faucher, 17:12; 4. Matthew Collar, 17:17; 5. Sam Flint, 17:19; 6. Cayla Pellegrini, 17:33; 7. Danilo Cordeiro, 17:34; 8. Kevin Alliette, 17:39; 9. Xavier Metivier, 17:45; 10. Matthew Morabito, 17:54; 11. Mark Larosa, 18:00; 12. Christopher Brady, 18:04; 13. Jack Determan, 18:09; 14. Jett Stad, 18:13; 15. Mark Schruender, 18:31
TOP 3 FEMALE FINISHERS
1. Cayla Pellegrini, 17:33; 2. Sara Stevens, 20:37; 3. Lauren O’Connell, 22:00
Under-13 — TJ Lynch, 18:37; 14-19 — Thomas Faucher, 17:12; 20-29 — Matthew Morabito, 17:54; 30-39 — Eric Narcisi, 16:20; 40-49 — Mark Larosa, 18:00; 50-59 — Dan Lionetta, 22:57; 60-69 — Bob Strout, 20:28
Under-13 — Rose Gordon, 24:02; 14-19 — Summer Gordon, 23:56; 20-29 — Cayla Pellegrini, 17:33; 30-39 — Stefanie Salini, 24:18; 40-49 — Heather Rochette, 23:17; 50-59 — Nadine Johnson, 23:37; 60-69 — Elizabeth Marshall, 26:29