Sanca Runs Away Old-Fashioned Style

By Michael J. Atwood –

Author’s Note: This is part of an original report done for Level Renner, a Boston-based running magazine. Reprinted with editorial permission. Please check out Level Renner here:


Foxboro, MA / March 8, 2015 – After three consecutive years of record-setting blizzards, cancellations, shortened courses, rescheduled dates, and headaches for race director, Jim Morris and Sandy Sheehy, President of the Wampanoag Road Runners, the Wamps were happy to finally be able to present the “20th Annual Old Fashioned Ten Miler (OFTM) Sponsored by Ashworth Awards” on Sunday, 3/8/15, after having to postpone from the original date of 2/15/15 due to yet another snowstorm that hit the area in the snowiest February on record in Boston. It was because of cooperation with the town of Foxboro, residents, volunteers and runners that this run was able to happen when so many other races had to be cancelled this year. Weather and road conditions were better than in February, but still not ideal for course records. In the fast field up front, and throughout the race pack, the sentiment was the same: it was good to be out on the road racing after this long winter.

In the men’s race, a buzz began early in the week that Olympian Ruben Sanca was going to try to break the Cape Verdean National 10-mile record with Boston Marathon training partner, Nate Jenkins. Sanca won the race in 50:23 in 2011, so all seemed viable. Even the course record of 49:34 held by Roland Lavallee was on the table. To add to things, Providence’s Pat Moulton, 2009 and 2014 champion, appeared to make things interesting. These 3 fast racers, with claims to 2:14, 2:15, and 2:18 marathon times amongst them, set the bar high for the competition.

At the gun, skirting around some snow and ice, Sanca and Jenkins took it out hard hitting the first mile split at 5:05 around the Foxboro Rotary and then accelerated into a downhill on South to Water Street, hitting mile two at around 9:53, ahead of record pace as they entered the Foxboro State Forest. Over the next mile of rolling paved hills, the training partners stuck together and up to mile 4 it looked like Jenkins was going to keep the pace with Sanca.

“The third and 4th miles were lightly rolling uphill and we continued on running well,” said Jenkins after the race. “ During the fourth mile my coordination problem began to creep back in. Not sure if it is because of the banged up foot, same leg, or something else. At this point Ruben started to pull away.”

Sanca hit the half-way point ahead of pace but a set of three major hills loomed ahead on Beach Street, which covers miles 6 through 8 of the course. Jenkins hit mile 5 at 25:22, and Moulton followed a few clicks behind.

“I’ve done easy running since the new year so knew it would be a tough one out there,” said two-time OFTM Champion, Moulton. “With Reuben and Nate there I knew I’d be running solo so just tried to run the best I could.”

However, it was Sanca’s turn to reclaim the title. “I was just trying to get into a good rhythm which I was able to do for the remainder of the race but couldn’t get going any faster,” Sanca remarked. “Overall, it was a good effort in touching paces faster than marathon.”

Despite a great training block and a lean, hungry look, Jenkins was struggling with a nagging leg injury. “By mile 5, I was pretty much done.” Due to a coordination problem, which leads to little control and a leg that keeps buckling, “the last 4 miles were pretty much at 5:30 pace, walking in my current fitness….If I get the foot cleared up in a couple of days and that is what caused the set back in coordination today than this has just been a big hurdle. If not than I’m probably out for a spring marathon.”

Both Sanca and Jenkins are preparing for the 119th Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015. Moulton’s next race goal is a 50 miler in May, Cayuga Trails in NY.

Mike is the author of HiStory of Santa Monica: Stories, founder of and a freelance blogger from the Boston, Massachusetts area. He ran Division 1 Track and Cross-Country for Boston College earned his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and now teaches and coaches at Middleboro High School in Massachusetts. He can be contacted at or by phone at (508) 243-2591 for comments and blog ideas. His recent blog on Autistic high school miler has had almost 10,000 views in the last week.


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