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USATF-NE Communications Manager
Posts by Jenny Gardynski
USATF-NE is seeking to fill a new, full-time position of Program Director. The position, which reports to the president, will be responsible for generating new programs and reinforce existing ones in a positive-revenue environment with the intention of increasing association membership, membership in member clubs, attracting program sponsorship, and enhancing the newsworthiness of USATF-NE sanctioned competition. The successful candidate will have a demonstrable history of designing, promoting, and implementing programs for a nonprofit organization. Email CV and salary requirement to USATF-NE President Tom Derderian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for the photographers on-site in Amherst, MA at the first Road Racing Grand Prix event of 2015. Here are a couple of the photo albums we’ve uncovered. If you are aware of any others, please leave the links in the comments section on our Facebook page. Thanks!
By: John Oleski, Vice President, USATF-NE
The USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships came to the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston last weekend. Full results can be found here. We were able to catch up with several athletes, many of them local, post-race. See below for the photos and recaps we caught live at the event.
Christian Blondin, age 41 from Ipswich, MA, finished 5th in the Masters Invitational Men’s 1500 Meter Run with a time of
4:06.34. Chris competes for the Greater Boston Track Club. After the race, he said he did his best to stay with the leaders. With 200 meters left, he was still with the chase pack in 4th place, but said the last 200 was “really rough.” Nonetheless, he was enthused by his experience, saying that it was a great meet and an awesome race.
Former University of Virginia star, Taylor Gilland, now living and working in the Boston area, ran an unusual race in the Men’s Two Mile Run. Through the first few laps, Taylor paced in 11th place of 13 as the leaders went through the half mile in 2:07.6 and the mile in 4:17.4. Taylor worked his way up to 9th place as the field neared the 1.5 mile mark. The pack was slowing and beginning to compress as Taylor made a bold move, surging all the way to the lead. It was not a place or pace he
could hold, and ultimately the pack came back on him as he slowly slipped back to 10th place and an 8:45.43 finish. After the race, he indicated that he just decided to take a shot at it – not knowing whether he would be able to hold on.
2012 Olympic finals. The race itself was tactical, with none of the runners approaching their PR. Dan finished 12th in 4:06.69 and Steve was 13th in 4:07.05. Dan expressed disappointment in his result, but noted that he had placed 6th in the Men’s 2 Mile the day before. Afterwards, both runners were interviewed by a Boston 2024 video team, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of an Olympic Games in Boston.
in 2:48.16. Emily, one of the top middle distance and cross country runners in the history of Villanova, was also interviewed after her race by the Boston 2024 group.
John Trautmann, age 46 from New York City won the Masters Invitational Men’s 1500 in 3:59.47. On Feb. 14 at the B.U. Valentine Invitational, John broke the indoor M45-49 world record in the mile
with a 4:12.33 and, in the masters invitational race, was taking aim at the M45-49 1500m world record of 3:57.91. Trautmann led from the start and ran hard. In the last 400 meters, he broke away from the chase pack. Although he fell short by just over 1.5 seconds in his record attempt, he said that breaking 4 minutes was also a goal. He further stated that it was an honor to run against so many outstanding masters milers and that he hoped “everyone in the race got PRs.” Trautmann ran in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials 5000m in 13:40.30.
Anselm LeBourne, age 55 of Maplewood, NJ, competed in the Master’s Invitational Men’s 1500 and
though he was 7th overall, his time of 4:13.77 destroyed the M55-59 indoor world record of 4:19.80 that he set this January. After the race, he said he had gone out so hard he thought he was done with three laps (600m) to go. He somehow managed to force himself through it and came away with an extraordinary new age group mark. He states that he wants to be the first man over age 55 to go under 2 minutes in the 800 meters.
By: John Oleski, Vice President, USATF-NE
Morgan Uceny of Boston, running for adidas, raced from the front in the Women’s 1 Mile Run at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston. Running slightly to the outside, she shared the lead through the first 6 laps as she clocked 1:12.2 at the quarter mile and 2:26.1 at the half. Over the last 300 meters, Uceny progressively slipped and ultimately dropped to 7th place, finishing in 4:38.13.
Afterwards, she was unhappy with her race. She said she hadn’t necessarily planned to run from the front but she felt the pace was slow. She questioned whether she should have responded more aggressively to Shannon Rowbury’s move to the lead, saying “once you get behind, it’s harder to make it up.” She stated that she is coming out of an injured phase, is finally healthy and is optimistic about the outdoor season.
By: John Oleski, Vice President, USATF-NE
Carly Muscaro, a 19 year-old sophomore at Merrimack College, ran in the first heat of the Women’s 300 Meter Dash at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center earlier today.
Going against professional runners, Natasha Hastings of Under Armour / NYAC and Jernail Hayes of Brooks, Carly ran well. She was out fast, showed good drive throughout the race and finished 3rd in an impressive 39.12. Overall she was 8th as the top 6 made finals.
Carly ran at Ashland H.S. and in the year and a half since high school her improvement has been amazing. At Ashland she barely ran 60 seconds to the 400m, yet last year as a freshman set Merrimack’s 400m outdoor record with a blazing 53.43. She also qualified for both the NCAA Division II indoor and outdoor championships – the first Merrimack athlete ever to qualify for nationals.
She says that every race is nerve-wracking and it is a fight to stay focused and confident, especially as a self-described “baby” on the big stage of a USA national championship.
Nonetheless, she displays strong desire and ambition as she declares that she is going after a win in two weeks at the NCAA DII championships at University of Alabama at Huntsville.
Cancellations: A minimum of 24 hours’ notice must be given to the USATF-NE Office and LDR Chairs:
- If the race director of a scheduled Grand Prix Road Race cancels the race, it will be removed from the series. If the race is postponed and held at another time, it will not be included in the series or scored.
- If any state governor, public safety officer or other designated emergency personnel of a USATF-NE member state closes the roads, bans travel or otherwise prevents people from a wider geographic area to attend a scheduled Grand Prix Road Race, it will be deemed not a Grand Prix event and not scored even if the race location has no emergency status itself and the race is held.
Adjusting start time(s) to accommodate weather/safety situations: A minimum of 36 hours’ notice must be given to the USATF-NE Office and LDR Chairs if time is to be adjusted earlier than originally posted. Delays may be announced on the day of the event.
- A race director may adjust Grand Prix Road Race start time(s) for the race while keeping it on its scheduled date in the interest of safety and/or weather related situations. The race will be scored as a Grand Prix event.
The fourth annual USATF-New England Awards Banquet was held on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at Montvale Plaza in Stoneham MA. The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour and passed appetizers, followed by dinner with guest speakers and awards. USATF-NE President Tom Derderian called up a few of Olympic Trials qualifiers from the association for a fun Q&A. And of course the program featured the much-anticipated awards presentation recognizing the Runners, Road Race, Off Road Race, Club and Race Director of the Year for 2014. Special awards also included acknowledgment to some of the top participants and contributors to the association and sport.
The following 2014 Award Winners were announced:
- Dan Vassallo, Central Mass Striders – Male Runner of the Year
- Denise Sandahl, Millennium Running – Female Runner of the Year
- Central Mass Striders – Club of the Year
- Boston Marathon – Road Race of the Year
- Loon Mountain Race – Off-Road Race of the Year
- 24 Hour Ultra Around the Lake – Ultra Race of the Year
- Glenn Stewart, Baystate Marathon – Race Director of the Year
Congrats to all and thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for candidates! Check out the photos below, courtesy of USATF-NE Treasurer Stephen Peckiconis.
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
The 2014 USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix wrapped up on November 30 with the Warrior Run at Larz Anderson Park. This race was a fitting cap to the season—a little mud, a little ice, and yet more toilet drama (locked bathrooms). Full individual and team results are here.
David Wilson, running unattached, put his stamp on the series with a decisive 31-second win over Jonathan Charlesworth of Greater Boston Track Club. David ran all five races in the series and won 2 of them en route to his 2014 title. In the open men’s team race, GBTC took 6 of the 7 top spots to score a convincing win that secured their overall series championship. T. J. Unger of HFC Striders was the only team runner to break up that GBTC pack, leading his men’s team to 2nd. The men from SISU Project, in their first year of fielding a full team in this division, took 3rd in this race but ended up 2nd in the overall series, 2 points ahead of HFC. I smell a rematch in 2015.
On the women’s side, Elizabeth Ryan of GBTC led her team to a near sweep, finishing the 2.8 miles of fun in 17:52. Seven
seconds behind Elizabeth was her teammate Caroline Martin, who with 2nd place in this event rounded out her decisive win in the overall series. Greater Boston won the Grand Prix decisively, finishing ahead of Western Mass Distance Project in all five races in the series. The women of WMDP echoed their 2nd place series finish with a 2nd at the Warrior Run as well, this time led by newcomer Joanna Johnson in 4th place. The women of SISU Project followed team leader Amanda Wright (6th) to a 3rd place finish, ending up 5th in the Grand Prix behind teams from the BAA and New Balance Boston, both of whom contested only the Mayor’s Cup and the USATF-NE Championship.
Jason Cakouros of HFC Striders finished first among the masters men to lead his team to the 40+ win, no doubt inspired by the cheering he did during his warm-up as the women rounded the “egregious” hill on the large loop. HFC claimed the Grand Prix series win in this division as well. The 40+ men of GBTC took 2nd place at the Warrior Run but placed 4th in the overall series, as Greater Lowell held onto a 2nd place tie with BAA in the series despite not fielding a scoring team at this final race.
As previously predicted in this blog, Mark Reeder of Greater Lowell showed up to put the icing on his Grand Prix series title in the 50+ division, even though no teams fielded a full team in this category, perhaps because Greater Lowell already had the series sewn up. The 60+ men from GBTC won that team race uncontested and claimed a decisive Grand Prix victory; the only race they didn’t score in (and win) was, ironically, their own meet at the start of the season. Bruce Bond of GBTC stands atop the 60+ podium in the Grand Prix series after scoring in all 5 races; Bruce finished 2nd in this division at the Warrior Run to James Wilson of the BAA.
Trish Bourne of Greater Lowell also passed up the chance to savor her 50+ series win from the warmth and comfort of home, leading all Masters women at the Warrior Run as her Greater Lowell team took 2nd in the 40+ division and won the 50+ team race as well. The 40+ women from WMDP followed the lead of Dana Parrot, who finished as the 2nd masters woman 26 seconds behind Trish, to win the 40+ team race and secure their Grand Prix title in that division. Dana successfully defended her individual 2013 Grand Prix title in the 40+ division as well. The women from Greater Derry Track Club, led by Cathy Merra, came in 3rd in the 40+ competition and 2nd in the 50+ team race to cement their Grand Prix title in the 50+ division and a runner-up position in the 40+ division.
Full team and individual results for the entire Cross Country Grand Prix series can be found here.
The Cross Country Committee, chaired in the early part of the year by Jason Cakouros (HFC) and now captained by Chris Canning (HFC), would like to thank all who participated. Comments and feedback on the series are always welcome, and we look forward to seeing you next fall!
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
As visions of turkey, a possible winter storm and Mass Pike traffic dance in the heads of runners across the region, New England’s harriers are gearing up for the final race in the 2014 Cross Country Grand Prix series, the Warrior Run on Sunday, Nov. 30 at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, MA.
At the fourth race in the series, the USATF-NE Championships at Franklin Park on Nov. 9, the men and women of the BAA showed that unicorns aren’t afraid to get their hooves dirty. Team and individual results from this race are nicely summarized on the USATF-NE website.
A look at both team and individual standings in the Grand Prix shows that some races will indeed come down to this final contest—or, as Patty Smyth once put it, “And heart to heart you’ll win, if you survive the warrior.” On the men’s side, GBTC has a healthy lead, but should the unicorns or the team from New Balance Boston choose to race outside Franklin Park, things could get interesting. Right now 2nd through 6th places (BAA, SISU, NBB, WMDP and HFC) are each separated by 1 point. In the open women’s team competition, GBTC holds a healthy lead over 2nd place WMDP and 3rd place BAA. The women of GBTC have won every head-to-head contest with WMDP during the series, these two teams being the only ones to have scored in all 4 events so far.
At the masters level, both the men’s and women’s races are too close to call. The men of HFC hold a 2-point lead over the masters squad from GLRR, with BAA again making an appearance in the top 3 by virtue of only two (dominant) team performances at Mayor’s Cup and the New England Championships. On the women’s side, WMDP took the series lead after winning a squeaker over Liberty at the New England Championships, but both the Hot Flashes of GDTC and the masters women of GLRR are still in contention for the series. Both the 50+ (GLRR) and 60+ (GBTC) men’s team competitions appear to be settled already, and while GDTC leads the 50+ women’s competition, GLRR is still a serious contender in 2nd place. Individual leaders Mark Reeder (50-59) and Trish Bourne (50-59), both of GLRR, have sewn up their respective divisions and could choose to stay home Sunday, though we suspect they won’t. In all other divisions the title could come down to who chooses to stay safe and warm this Sunday, and who chooses to get up early and make the drive to Brookline, knowing that a trip home with a few thousand other Commonwealthers awaits.
If the prospect of forgoing other Turkey Trots and couch-dwelling doesn’t entice you, perhaps this description of the Larz Anderson course—courtesy of HFC’s Jason Cakouros, former XC Committee Chair—will:
“. . .brutally hilly. The grass always seems really high too. . . The first loop is rolling to fast. The other loop has a big grass uphill, grass downhill, an egregious hill around a row of trees and monument thingy seemingly run just to torture us and then a gradual grass climb back to the fun loop.”
If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, you’re reading the wrong blog. Happy Thanksgiving from the USATF-NE Cross Country committee, and we look forward to seeing you in Brookline, where unicorns, wolves, chickens and mascots of unknown identity will seek to answer Patty Smyth’s plaintive query: “Who’s the hunter, who’s the game?”
In 2014, USATF-NE launched a new sort of series, the All Terrain Runner (ATR) series. And it’s pretty much what it sounds like; it challenges runners to compete on a variety of terrain – the roads, mountains, trails, cross country courses and the outdoor track.
The series was the brainchild of Eric Narcisi, the 2014 USATF-NE secretary, Whirlaway Racing Team member and web producer over at Level Renner. Following the culmination of this new series, Narcisi feels it was a “huge success,” stating that “I had so many people tell me that they were experiencing different disciplines for the first time.” For instance, the series winner on the women’s side, Christin Doneski, told him that she had never run a track or cross country race before. “Yet because of this series, there she was, in unfamiliar territory but in a familiar position (in front of the pack),” he added. The men’s series champion, Nate Jenkins, is known for his road dominance, said Narcisi, “but there he was back in May trudging the Vermont mud at Sleepy Hollow.” And at the Loon Mountain Race in July, Jenkins went head to head with some of the finest mountain runners not just in the region, but in the nation.
Ultimately, Narcisi said that the series is all about getting people out of their comfort zones and experiencing more of what the association has to offer. “We anticipate many more people stepping out of their comfort zones and putting themselves to the ultimate test in 2015,” he added. “I, for one, can’t wait to line up with the rest of the All Terrain hopefuls this winter on the indoor track to kick off the new series.”
As many runners prepare for the second edition of the ATR series, which will include an indoor track and a snowshoe race, we caught up with the 2014 series champions.
Jenkins of Central Mass Striders, who made it a goal to win the first annual series and plans to compete again in 2015, said the series was fun and unique, adding that “it is a great way to try and draw together the very varied and often very separate areas of USATF-NE.” While he’s not all that excited about the snowshoe race in the second series, Jenkins admits “that is kind of the point of the series, isn’t it?” Who knows? Maybe he will excel at snowshoeing just like he did at mountain running in 2014, something he doesn’t consider himself the biggest fan of.
Doneski of Whirlaway Racing Team reported that the series pushed her to try new things all while enjoying the company of the series participants, which she described as “a really supportive, genuine group of runners who wanted to race hard but also laugh and have some fun.” While she wasn’t expecting to win this year and doesn’t expect to win next year either, Doneski shared that she’s in an interesting point in her running career. “My road race PRs are most likely behind me, but I feel I can still get better, stronger and faster in the endurance and adversity-based races: mountains, trails and ultras.” Her ultimate goal is to grow old still running races and pushing herself to try new things and to keep setting new goals.
Both runners had a tough time picking their favorite series race; though the men’s winner enjoyed the mountain and track racing the most. The women’s winner said her initial favorite that comes to mind was Sleepy Hollow. “It’s so hard in so many ways; the course is super challenging (which I love) and the conditions are so unpredictable (2013 was dry and fast and 2014 was very wet and muddy and really tough), and it’s right after Boston,” she said. “However, I also loved Loon. Again, it’s a challenging course, but I spent a full year from 2013 to 2014 regretting that I did not run all the way up Upper Walking Boss. I was looking forward to racing this year and redeeming myself.” Doneski happily reported that she did not walk a single step this year.
So, where can we expect to see these two competing in 2015? Jenkins shared with us that he has fortunately made some progress in fixing his long-standing coordination issues in his right leg, so his top goal for next year is to continue that progress all the way to a return to the marathon – something he hasn’t done since the World Championships in 2009. His second goal is to run an Olympic Trials Qualifier, with a third goal of achieving a personal record at any distance. “I haven’t set one since back surgery in early 2011,” he added. Jenkins’ final two main goals will be to win the ATR series and the USATF- NE Grand Prix.
Doneski currently has her 2015 calendar clear, but knows she’ll be looking to run the USATF-NE Grand Prix as well for Whirlaway, noting those dates will go on the calendar first. Then she will look to the Mountain Series and the ATR and see how those dates match up with her other races and her family plans. “And of course there is still that desire to run an ultra, but that might need to wait for my children to need me less and I am in no hurry for that,” she said.
Lastly, Jenkins shared that the ATR series represents something he’d like to see more of from USATF-NE – trying new things. “Will everything be a hit or a win?” he asked. “Heck no, but anything is better than nothing.”