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USATF-NE Communications Manager
Posts by Jenny Gardynski
it was started by Nich Haber in 2012. Nich is the club’s President of the Board (on a Board that includes American Record Holder Molly Huddle!), but also serves as an acting Executive Director, managing business issues, fundraising, grant writing and maintaining relationships with partners. On top of this, Nich manages travel and race entries for the athletes, helps them obtain part-time work with their after-school partners in Woonsocket and coordinates their youth program with the Woonsocket public school system.
As you can tell, Nich wears several hats and has been working hard since 2012 to get NE Distance off the ground and growing to compete at a highly competitive level. It appears that his work has paid off by looking at the club’s current roster, which includes:
- David Goodman— The 2012 NCAA DII National Champion in the Steeplechase and a three-time USATF-NE Champion
- Henry Sterling — NE Distance’s newest athlete, he’s a Dartmouth grad who sees his potential best in the Steeplechase, but is interested in staying a well-rounded runner by competing in the mile and 5k as well
- Katrina Spratford — The 8-time All American from Shippensburg, is a 10k runner that is focusing on Cross Country in the fall and may do some road races
- Lara Crofford — A Nebraska Cornhusker, has been a strong 10k runner but is looking to move up in distance and take to the roads
We caught up with Nich on how the club has grown, what they’ve been up to. To sum it up, Nich told us that “Every year has been better than the one before it, and I know that next year will be better than this one!” His optimism and excitement is great to hear. Check out our interview with Nich below to get up to speed on the community-based distance running project.
USATF-NE: How has NE Distance grown since its founding in 2012?
NH: We started with one athlete in 2012, added another at the beginning of 2013, two more in September of 2013 and we’re looking to have eight this fall. We’ve doubled every year! At this rate, in a few years everyone on earth will be an NE Distance athlete!
Seriously, it’s been a challenge to start a group like this from the ground up and the athletes that have joined us truly believe in our mission of blending athlete development with community building. We expanded this year to include athletes that are not full athlete-in-resident fellows. They are committed to train at a high level, but do not need housing from us. We are excited as the more athletes we have in our group, the more of a critical mass we hit and the better the program is for everyone involved – the other athletes, the community and our fans who are looking for more athletes to root for.
USATF-NE: Are you actively recruiting?
NH: We have three slots open for our non-resident members. We are looking for folks who want to live in the Woonsocket/Providence area who want to compete at a high level.
USATF-NE: We saw that your team recently signed up 145 kids for a new middle school program. This is great! Any specific plans for this new program or anything in particular you’d like to share about it?
NH: This is probably our proudest achievement and is truly a culmination of what we are trying to do with the NE Distance program. Woonsocket middle school sports were all but eliminated in 2009 due to budget cuts. Our athletes moved into town and started to get everyone’s notice. We were lucky to find Performance Physical Therapy of RI who was interested in sponsoring us to restart the middle school cross country team. As soon as we announced it, a reporter from the local paper called me up and we were literally front page news.
For the public school system, they were absolutely thrilled. They were getting high level athletes who had already spent at least a year working with Woonsocket youth to come in and coach the kids at the middle school. The NEDi athletes went into the schools to sign up kids and were overwhelmed; 145 kids signed up. Lara has already started weekly runs with the kids in town and everyone will be back in Woonsocket in August gearing up to kick off the team at the end of the summer.
We are seeking a sponsor to help us continue this program for the kids into the indoor and outdoor seasons, so if anyone is interested in helping our team help these young people, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
USATF-NE: Are any USATF-NE hosted races a part of NE Distance’s upcoming race schedule – and if so, which ones, and why?
NH: Our goal is to have our athletes compete on Team USA, so the USATF-NE races are great vehicles to get us to that level. We will definitely be at the Cross Country races this fall, especially the Boston Mayor Cup and the USATF-NE Championship. The CVS Downtown 5k is in our backyard, so we’ll be there. USATF-NE hosts some of the best indoor meets in the country, so look for us at the BU Terrier & Valentine meets as well as the USATF-NE Championships. Outdoors, we’re big fans of the NBB Twilight Meets.
And be sure to look for our middle school kids to open up their season at the Ocean State XC meet in Goddard Park in Rhode Island on Friday Sept 26.
Regis College, Weston, MA – 6/29/2014
- 1. Gr.Boston TC 81
- 2. Sprinticity 35
- 3. Dare2Dream 16
- 4. Twilight Throwers 9;
- 5. CMS, Mass Velocity, and CSU, 7
- 8. Patriot PV and NEWalkers 6;
- 10. HFC Striders and WMDP, 5
- 12. Waltham TC 4
- 13. NewBalance Boston and BAA 3
- 15. MIT PV and Nitehawks 2
- 17. SISU Project and Somerville RR 1.
- 1. Gr.Boston TC 42
- 2. Mass Velocity 22
- 3. New Balance Boston and Waltham TC 10
- 5. Dare2Dream and Twilight Throwers, 8
- 7. SiSU Project 6
- 8. Wellesley Youth TF, Golden Spikes, MIT PV, Patriot PV, Seekonk Warriors and Providence Cobras 5
- 14. Endurance Unlimited 3
- 15. Whirlaway 2
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
Summer’s heat has just started to creep over New England, but it’s not too early to start thinking about running during the crisp days of fall. The 2014 USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix series will again feature five races from September through November. The series, a mix of old favorites and a couple new races, is listed below and on the main cross country schedule page, where you can also find a rich array of other New England cross country races to choose from.
USATF-NEW ENGLAND OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD OPEN and MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday, June 29, 2014
REGIS COLLEGE, WESTON MA
PRIZE MONEY AWARDS BASED ON PERFORMANCE
- The top placing eligible* performers in four divisions – male and female placer in both track and field events, based on IAAF scoring table points – will receive $100.
- Any division winning performance that tops 1000 points earns an additional $100.
- The overall top point winner by an eligible athlete from among all four divisions will receive an additional $100.
- If the top performer has met the standard, but is not eligible to receive prize money, the next top eligible finisher in the event who has met the standard and is eligible will receive the prize.
- All Prize Money will be mailed to winners within ten days of the meet after verifying eligibility
- Eligible means being a current USATF member in the New England association, not being a current NCAA athlete, and having no future NCAA eligibility
For more information, visit: http://usatfne.org/track/entry/2014-outdoorchamps.pdf
The 5000 meter race is a popular event for distance track and field athletes. However, for runners who keep to the roads and trails, many haven’t tested their strength on the flat oval. Now is their chance.
With the USATF-NE All Terrain Runner (ATR) series, distance runners test themselves on varying surfaces and distances, including the track. In fact, many athletes competing in the new series tried the distance at the recent New Balance Boston Twilight meet at Bentley University. New Balance Boston’s Marguerite Cramer took the women’s title in an impressive time of 17:49.01. But it was the men’s 5000 meter field that saw some serious depth. Twenty-eight competitors came through in under 18 minutes, with the winner Austin Gilbert crossing the finish line in 14:57.61.
If you’ve already completed your 5000 meter track race and are looking to score it in the ATR series, be sure to submit your time through our web form.
As a reminder, USATF-NE members may submit their own 5000 meter result from any USATF sanctioned track meet between May 5 and July 20. A competitor may complete several outdoor 5000 meter races. However, only the fastest time will count in the final scoring.
Team RUN’s Jeff Veiga was the winner of the third race in our Road Racing Grand Prix series, the An Ras Mor 5k on March 30 with a time of 14:39. The recent UMass Lowell graduate has been hitting some impressive times post-graduation, even after considering “hanging up the spikes” this past fall due to some nagging injuries. How has he managed to continue this success?
Learn about his strategy and international racing goals in our exclusive Q&A with Jeff.
Q: What was your strategy for the An Ras Mor 5k? Walk us through your race.
JV: Going into the race I didn’t really know much about the course. I hadn’t run it or even had a chance to look at a map. Strategy wise, I was just planning to go out with the lead group and hang on as long as I could because I hadn’t really tested myself beforehand and didn’t have the best idea where I was with my fitness. But once the race started, I felt good so I just tucked in behind the lead group and tried to stay as relaxed as possible.
From early on, the lead group of Nick, Ruben (both of the Whirlaway Racing Team) and myself separated from the rest of the field. I believe shortly after 1.5 miles, Ruben and I started to pull away from Nick. After that, the two of us just went back and forth a few times until right before the 3 mile mark, where I threw in a surge to pull slightly ahead and then kick it in towards the finish line.
Q: How did you feel about your race result? (We’re impressed). How did it match up to your expectations?
JV: I didn’t really expect much going into the race. I thought I would definitely come away with a top five finish and maybe crack the top three if I was lucky. So to come away with the win and a good time I was definitely happy and surprised.
Q: Why did you decide to compete in the An Ras Mor 5k and can we expect to see you at any of the other upcoming Grand Prix series races?
JV:I decided to run the An Ras Mor 5k because it was part of the USATF-NE Grand Prix series and I wanted to represent Team RUN, as we had a chance to place very well in the team standings – which we did with a third place finish.
I do plan to compete in more of the Grand Prix races as long as they fit into my racing schedule, which is mainly targeted at running a fast 5K and possibly a 10k on the track.
Q: What is your training like right now – and is there anything in particular you’re training for?
JV: My training is going very well right now. I was hurt throughout the entire fall season and strongly considered hanging up the spikes if I couldn’t get healthy by the end of January. But after a few visits with Dr. John Donovan of Advantage Chiropractic, I was healthy again and running pain-free. Since then, I have been steadily increasing my mileage, in hopes of continuing my career and competing at a high level. Right now I am running about 95 miles per week, with one long run, one long workout and a little bit of speed here and there.
Having recently received my Portuguese citizenship, I am currently training to hopefully compete in and place well at the Portuguese National Champions in Lisbon, Portugal on July 26 and 27.
Q: Lastly, we know you’re a member of Team RUN. Tell us what it’s like being on the team and what aspects of the team compelled you to join?
JV: I’ve been a member of Team RUN for almost a year now. It’s really fun and we have a great group of guys, some which I actually train with on a regular basis – and we are all well supported by our sponsor Marx Running & Fitness in Acton, MA. I had been working with the team’s coach Mark Coddaire, as he’s also the owner of the Marx Running & Fitness store, so I knew about the team and everything associated with it. It just seemed like the best fit for me at the time, and I feel like I definitely made a good choice.
*Thanks to Jeff for taking the time to share his story with us. We wish him continued success on all levels – from local to international!
Today, USA Track & Field New England has announced All Terrain Runner (ATR), a new official series comprising races of varying distances, seasons and surfaces. The series kicks off just next month on May 4 with a 10k trail race, before competitors race on the track, mountains and roads, closing with a cross country event in the fall.
USATF-NE President Tom Derderian described the idea behind the series, explaining that “Some runners race best on the track, some on the roads, some up mountains and over trails, and others on broad cross country courses. You know how you rank in the discipline you race in, but how do you rank if you combine all of these? This is the running version of the decathlon.”
The complete 2014 ATR series includes:
- May 4 – Trail: Sleepy Hollow 10k
- May 5-July 20 – Outdoor Track: 5000 meters *(USATF-NE members can submit their own result from any 5000 meter race run in a USATF sanctioned meet through our web form during this time frame. A competitor may complete several outdoor 5000 meter races; however only the fastest time will count in the final scoring.)
- July 6 – Mountain: Loon Mountain
- September 14 – Road: Lone Gull 10k
- November 9 – Cross Country: USATF-NE New England Championships
With the Sleepy Hollow 10k just a couple of weeks away, those interested in participating in the ATR series can register for the first race here. Competitors can register on race-day; however the entry fee increases from $15 to $25 after May 2, and registration will close when the maximum capacity of 250 racers is reached.
With no team scoring component, the series offers scoring and prizes for individuals only. There will be a total of $5,000 available in awards. The prize structure, awarding monetary rewards to the top five male and female finishers, is as follows:
- First – $1,000
- Second – $500
- Third – $250
- Fourth – $100
- Fifth – $50
Cash prizes will also be awarded to age group winners in the following age divisions: 40-49, 50-59 and 60-69. To be considered for a place in the final standings, competitors must complete four out of the five races, and participants who complete all five events will receive a special series t-shirt.
More details on the ATR series, including a formal landing page, are coming soon.
Today marked the third race in our Grand Prix series. Photos of the rainy but very competitive An Ras Mor 5k in Cambridge, organized by the Somerville Road Runners, can be found in albums by Scott Mason and Thomas Cole.
Come across any other photos from the race? Feel free to link to them in the comments section on Facebook. Thanks!
An update on our USATF-NE Grand Prix Road Racing series is coming soon. In the meantime, we caught up with dissertation or thesis the USATF-NE winners of our most recent Grand Prix race, the New Bedford Half Marathon: Ruben Sanca of the Whirlaway Racing Team and Andrea Walkonen, currently unattached.
Hear what they had to say about their latest wins, current training and what the future holds for each in the world of racing.