And the USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix Winners Are…
The USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix series came to a close in New Hampshire at the City of Manchester Marathon on November
2. When the points were tallied at the culmination of the seven race series – which included a 10 miler, half marathon, 5 miler, 5k, 15k, 10k and marathon – it was Millennium Running’s Denise Sandahl and Whirlaway’s Ruben Sanca who came out on the top as the overall open winners.
The first-time series winners both competed in five of the seven races – Sandahl coming in 16 points ahead of teammate Jennifer Mortimer and Sanca, beating out second place runner Dan Vassallo of CMS by 18 points. To learn more about their journeys to success and future racing plans, we chatted with the Grand Prix champions.
Today, we’ll hear from the women’s champion. Stay tuned for our interview with the men’s champion tomorrow.
Flashing back to the beginning of the year, Sandahl didn’t think she had a chance to be competitive in the Grand Prix series. It wasn’t until after winning the Ribfest 5 miler that she realized capturing the individual title might be a possibility. And she was right.
While illness and a scheduling conflict prevented her from competing in the entire series, Sandahl says of her five Grand Prix performances, the Ribfest 5 miler was her favorite – where her team took all three podium spots. With Millennial Running managing the event, it was a good feeling for Sandahl and her team to win at home.
Not only did she take the overall series title from an individual perspective, but her team accomplished its goal of winning the open team championship as well. Millennium managed to field teams for six of the seven races, despite being a small team, beating out Whirlaway by nine points. A major contributing factor to their team success, Sandahl says is that many of the women train together regularly and worked with each other during the races.
Sandahl added that it was her own teammates who tended to give her the most competition throughout the series – perhaps leading to their success this year. Looking ahead to 2015, Sandahl says she and her team plan to compete in the Grand Prix series again, looking for the same success.
She also plans to race the Boston Marathon next April. “In my wildest dream, I hope to qualify for the trials,” she said. “A marathon PR is a more realistic goal. As for team goals, In hope to contribute to our continued success.”
Lastly, Sandahl noted, “I’d like to add how grateful I am to my family (especially my husband, Adam, and sons, Caleb and Ian), team and friends for all the support they provide.”
* We’d like to thank Denise for taking the time to share her story with us, and we wish her and Millennium Running the best of luck in future races.