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USATF-NE Communications Manager
Posts by Jenny Gardynski
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 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.
If you come across any additional photo albums that we missed, feel free to link to them in the comments section on Facebook – thanks!
As we approach the second race in our Road Racing Grand Prix series this weekend — the New Bedford Half Marathon — we have two individuals leading the overall series.
The first and only race so far, the Jones 10 Miler, took place late last month in Amherst, MA. The challenging, hilly course didn’t stop Eric Ashe and Erica Jesseman from taking the top spots for the open male and female USATF-NE competitors. As your current Grand Prix leaders, we wanted to hear a little bit from these two local athletes about what it took to take the titles, and where we can expect to see them throughout the year.
Eric Ashe, B.A.A. — Male Open USATF-NE Grand Prix Leader
Eric chose to compete in the Jones 10 Miler because it’s part of the Grand Prix series and he wanted to score points for his team, the B.A.A. He also knew there would be some solid competition, and it would serve as a good preparation for the upcoming Boston Marathon he’s currently training for.
“I used the race as a good workout for Boston,” Eric said, noting he did a longer warm-up than usual (6 miles) and went right into a 4 mile cool down to get his mileage in. “It was definitely a good indicator of how training is going, as my legs weren’t too beat up after the race,” he said.
It’s the first time Eric is really focusing on the marathon and he reports that his training is going very well. He says he’s in the best aerobic shape he’s ever been, which clearly showed in his last race, where he completed the 10 mile course in 50:43 — that’s 5:04 per mile pace, and overall 7 seconds faster than second place finisher Ruben Sanca of the Whirlaway Racing Team.
We can expect to see Eric on the starting line at the New Bedford Half Marathon, where he plans to approach the race in the same manner as the first Grand Prix race, which is to go for the win but also use it as a workout for Boston. Looking ahead to April, Eric says: “I’m excited for what is to come at Boston as long as I can teach my body to hold up for 26.2 miles, and if I can stay healthy and consistent.”
For more on Eric’s training and racing, check out his NPR blog and this recent feature article on him at the same media outlet. Considering his early Grand Prix lead, it appears Eric may be the one to beat in the 2014 series.
Erica Jesseman, Dirigo Running Club — Female Open USATF-NE Grand Prix Leader
Erica joined the Dirigo Running Club in the summer of 2011 after graduating from the University of New Hampshire, attracted to the club’s fun and laid back environment — and living in Maine, it was most convenient for her too. For the Jones 10 Miler race, Erica had a similar approach as Eric, envisioning it as a great workout. She was most excited to compete with her Dirigo teammates Sheri Piers and Kristin Barry, who are Erica’s main training partners and mentors. Also training for Boston, she knew this race would serve as a nice preparation.
Her approach was to go out comfortably and controlled. “I knew I needed to run my own race; I didn’t focus on anyone but myself and my paces,” she said. Her approach obviously was the right one, as she came into the finish at 59:33, which is 5:58 per mile pace.
Leading up to the race, Erica had been training through a tough winter like many of us, after suffering from IT Band Syndrome in the fall. Despite the conditions and bouncing back from the injury, she’s managed to hit 80-90 miles per week, many of them on the treadmill and hilly long runs outside on the weekends. “I haven’t been hitting my highest mileage during this marathon training cycle,” Erica noted, “it’s been more quality over quantity.”
Where else can we expect to see Erica in race results? Next on the calendar is the New Bedford Half Marathon, and in April she’ll be lining up for the Boston Marathon.
Congratulations to both Eric and Erica on their early leads in the USATF-NE Grand Prix series. Stay tuned for Sunday’s race results in New Bedford, to see how they fare as they look to continue their winning streaks while training for the Boston Marathon.