By John R. Johnson
Posted Mar 20, 2011 @ 07:42 PM
Last update Mar 21, 2011 @ 04:51 AM
Hassan Haydar rolled out of bed Sunday morning, put on his running gear and took a light jog over to Quincy High School, where he toed the line for the second annual Half of Quincy half marathon. The veteran marathoner and Quincy resident then clocked a time of 1:29:35, winning the masters division in a tune-up for next month’s Boston Marathon.
“I love it. I live right at mile 12, so I ran from my house to the start and now I’ll run home,” said Haydar, who turned 60 last May. “It’s great. I think Quincy is fortunate to have a race like this here and hopefully they will build it up and it will become a major half marathon prior to running Boston.”
Haydar was one of 834 runners who participated in Sunday’s 13.1-mile race, which drew 500 more runners than last year. Liam Revell, a faculty member at UMass-Boston, was the overall winner with a time of 1:13:01. Revell bested last year’s winning time by over three minutes, which emphasizes the increased quality of the field this year.
A native of Ontario, Canada, and a former miler for Boston University, the South Boston resident is hoping to run as part of the BAA team in the future.
“It was a great course,” said Revell, who recorded splits of 5:34 . “The area through Squantum was particularly nice, especially since we considered living there when we moved back from Canada. It was also nice to turn away from the wind. I’m pretty happy with the time.”
Haydar, who ran impressive splits of 6:51, finished just three seconds off his time from 2010. He is preparing for the Boston Marathon and hopes to place among the top 10 for the masters division, especially in his first year competing in that category. He has gained notoriety in the past for running the Boston Marathon course twice every Patriots Day, but this year will focus his efforts only on the 26.2 mile route.
Quincy’s Bob Hanna was second in the masters division with a time of 1:39:49. A trio of local runners took the top three spots in the women’s master category. Quincy’s Debbie Buccheri was first in 2:02:30, followed by Rockland’s Sue Simmons (2:05:34) and Plymouth’s Mary Houbolt (2:06:20).
Duxbury’s Anna Stauss was the winner in the women’s master division, as well as being the first overall woman to finish in 1:25:31. A veteran triathlete, Stauss finished a full two minutes ahead of her closest competitors, Watertown’s Diona Fulton and Weymouth’s Jill Stathdee.
The Half of Quincy half marathon was formed by JJ Larner as an option for local runners training for the Boston Marathon. Most training programs call for completing a half marathon in mid March. Until now, the closest option was New Bedford, which usually draws a field of 2,000 or more runners.
“We got lot of positive feedback so it was a great day,” Larner said as he dropped excess food off at Father Bill’s Place in Quincy. “We had a lot of good runners today and a lot of entries from the Colonial Road Runners and L St. Running Club. This isn’t going to become an international half marathon, but New Bedford draws almost 2,500 runners, and I think in two or three years we have the potential to be that big.”