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.
Last Thursday was the 41st installment of the famous holiday road race. The event was put together by the North Andover Booster Club for the second straight year.