While competing at North Reading nearly a decade ago, Brandon Carter didn’t consider himself a very good runner.
“The first time I broke five minutes in the mile, I was a junior in high school,” said the 2016 grad. “I ran 4:31 the last race of my senior year. I didn’t break 4:20 in the mile until my fifth year of college.”
These days, things are a little different for Carter, who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business management at Assumption College. Fast forward eight years later, the self-trained and self-coached runner is not only a very good, but after Sunday’s mile race at the inaugural Marathon Sports Winter Classic, he’s also a champion.
The North Reading alum utilized a perfect race plan to earn gold at the finish with an impressive clocking of 4 minutes, 23.28 seconds on the banked oval of the TRACK at New Balance. Carter hung behind leader Rigoberto Alfonso for much of the race before taking control in the late stages to post a nearly two-second gap on his rival at the finish.
Carter pressed for the lead the last 400m and took it for good with 150m remaining. He ran his final 200m in 29.04
“Today was really good,” he said. “The pack went out really quick. I just went right to the rail and kind of measured myself. I waited for the inside lane to open up and just made smart moves towards the front and just ripped it for home.”
The 25-year-old Carter, a Senior B2B Fulfillment Analyst for BJ’s Wholesale Club, plans to compete frequently this winter. Next up is another mile race at the Suffolk Ice Breaker on Saturday.
“I also plan to find Mile/3K races every weekend through at least February at both New Balance and BU (Boston University),” he said.
As for the not-so-distance future, Carter has a lofty goal.
“It’s sounds crazy today after running (4:23), but I want to get close to four minutes,” he said. “I don’t think it’s that far out in a little bit of time from now.”
Sam Laverdiere, who captured the 5K (15:32.25) at the conclusion of the meet, was third overall in the mile at 4:27.70.
James McCarron III, a senior at St. George’s in Middletown, R.I., finished fourth in 4:29.18. He was followed by Groton Dunstable freshmen Greyson Duane of New England Elite, who was timed in 4:29.43 for fifth. Also among the top 10 were Marshfield’s Matthew McCabe (sixth, 4:30.56). Natick’s Nicholas Bianchi (seventh, 4:30.81) and Steven Alessandro (eighth, 4:30.91) and Norton’s Andrew McConnell (ninth, 4:31.16).
For McCabe. his effort was a 15-second best.
“I’ve taken all the steps from last year to this year to really help my performance and step up to this level,” he said. “I believed in myself that I could go close to 4:30, maybe sub 4:30 on a good day. Today was a really good day.”
The five-plus hour meet, which was open to runners of all abilities and age categories, featured a number of local high-schoolers.
In the women’s/girls’ mile, Wellesley’s Lily Jin of Emerging Elite was the individual titlist wit a time of 5:03.75 Jin finished just ahead of fellow EE teammate Dana Lehr, who crossed the line at 5:04.53 Kata Clark of New England Elite was third in 5:09.23.
JIn was hoping to run a time close to her PR of 4:54.30, but was still content with the win.
It wasn’t my best race in terms of execution,” she said. “I think I got a delayed start and then in the middle I was switching leads with Dana, my teammate, and Kata. We could have gone faster splits in the middle, but I had a lot left at the end. Overall, I think, it was a good effort.”
Clark came back and won the 800m in 2:16.90. Newmarket (NH) senior Alanna Hagen was second at 2:17.31.
Medford’s JT Mastrocola was second in the 200m dash with a time of 22.70. Jillian Strynar of Norton won her heat to finish third overall in the women’s/girls’ 200m (25.60). She was alsp second in the 60m (7.74).