GLOUCESTER— Hill after hill after hill.
That's how Layce Alves described the course of yesterday's Magnolia 5K.
The race course, which navigates Magnolia's roads and shore line, is notorious for its difficulty as there are several steep climbs that runners have to navigate.
In the end, it was Manchester's A.J. Rossi, a 17-year-old senior cross country runner at St. John's Prep, and Alves, a 29-year-old Rockport resident, who came out on top beating out 300 fellow competitors.
Rossi beat out Maynard's Mark Mayall by seven seconds while Alves bested Rowley's Laura Hagley by 16 seconds.
"This is such a challenging race course," Alves said.
"There are so many hills and there were a lot of quick runners in the field. I was hoping to finish under 19 minutes but on this race course I'll take 19:03 any day."
Rossi echoed her sentiment.
"I love this race course," said Rossi, who was competing in the race for the third time.
"It's challenging and the field was strong. I felt pretty good the entire race and I was happy to come away in first place."
Rossi was pushed by both Mayall and Payne the entire way. According to the 17-year-old cross country runner the three were nip and tuck the entire race until Rossi made his move on the last hill, which is just before the final straight away down Lexington Avenue.
"(Mayall) was right with me the whole time," Rossi said. "At one point I wasn't sure if I could stay with him but I pushed myself up those hills. I felt pretty strong at the finish."
Alves, on the other hand, had a slightly easier time besting the female field. The Rockport resident led the race from wire to wire and admittedly felt good following the race.