All roads lead to Boston. We know many are you prepping for the Boston Marathon and this issue of Level Renner has everything that you need. We have a Boston Primer to help you appreciate the history of the race, lots of training tips, and athlete profiles to motivate you during this endless winter. Enjoy the issue and be sure to tell all your friends about it. As always, the digital copy of the magazine is free, but if you would like to purchase a hard copy you may do so via the hp MagCloud site. In either medium, get reading!
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Sixteen brave souls gathered in Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA on the morning of January 5th for an unofficial race. Whether you want to call it the Maudslay State Park 5km Snowshoe Run or the First Annual Dave Dunham Snowshoe Spectacular, it was a great little race with an old school feel. There weren’t even popsicle sticks! We just wrote down our names on a results poster board. It was awesome.
I was excited to finally try out my shiny new Dion 121’s. The excitement was tempered because not only had I never run in snowshoes, but running of any kind was few and far between for me as of late. For such a small race, it had quite a deep field. There was going to be some intense competition (in damn near perfect conditions).
After a brief warm up that consisted of mainly doing a couple of strides and then waiting to get signal on my Garmin, it was about time to start. We gathered at the line in the snow and were out quickly on command. Since we were off road I figured it would take a little while for the pack to thin out. Wrong! The leaders were quickly putting distance on the rest of the field and I couldn’t believe how quickly they were running away with it.
I also couldn’t believe how I seemed to be kicking snow up into the air and down the back of my neck. It was going to be a long three miles for this guy.
At just about the half way point my torrid ten minute pace was proving to be too much and a little asthma started kicking in. It was at that point that Theresa Ridgway went flying by me like I was standing still wheezing. Wait. I may have been. Theresa incredibly put two minutes of space between us over the last mile and a half.
Just when I thought I was overcoming the breathing difficulties (or the mid-race wheezes), a rogue runner flew by me at about Mach III. What?! At that point I started panicking thinking that I had somehow taken a wrong turn and come out in the lead. But that wouldn’t have even made sense; it was only a three mile race and if people were running that fast then they clearly would have finished long ago. I was beginning to fear that the breathing was worse than I thought because I was either now hallucinating or just couldn’t do simple math. Remember that time I went out for a run and forgot math? Yeah, didn’t want to be telling a story like that. The rogue runner must’ve been real.
Turned out he was very real. It was Tim Mallard, a member of the Gate City Striders who had arrived a bit late. As I was coming into the last straight I ran into basically the entire field coming back out for their cool down. Ah, perfect. They even had time to pose for a lovely group shot before taking off for that cool down.
Group shot after the snowshoe race, courtesy of Dave Dunham.
I had been out on the course for so long that Mark LaRosa assumed I had been eaten by a bear. You know what? I feel like a part of me was. That’s what happens when you show up on race day without having done your homework: you get eaten by a bear. Even if it’s only figuratively speaking, it still sucks. At the very least I increased my chances of being consumed by an ursus americanus, and really, do you want to mess around with something like that?
EJN “bears” down on the line, while the others are already fully recovered.
Predators go for the weak and sick animals that can’t keep up with the herd. There’s not much room for pride or bragging rights when your primary motivation is to eat, so why bother going for the lead pack? By straggling so far back and wheezing I was probably looking quite appetizing. Maybe training so I don’t become dinner should be my new motivation.
As for the competition up front in this race, Scott McGrath (Whirlaway) won the 3 mi race in a blazing 20:19. Mark LaRosa was just behind him in 20:54, and Scott’s teammate Steve Dowsett grabbed the last podium spot in 21:09. Race organizer Dave Dunham came in 7th place, in 24:35. Think about that. Dave’s no slouch and he only came in 7th place in this unofficial race. Pretty incredible.
Melissa Donais was the top woman on the day (26:45, 11th overall). She still couldn’t convince her husband Nate Jenkins to get on the snowshoes though. Nate was seen running around on the street in the area. Maybe next time, Nate. Maybe next time. A couple of minutes in back of Melissa came Theresa in 30:21, followed by yours truly in 32:36. There was possibly a bear stalking me, but I never turned around to look.
It was a great event put together by Dave, even if it just ends up being a different twist on a Sunday morning meet up for a training run. This one involved snowshoes and a couple feet of some damn fine powder. What’s really amazing is that as I’m writing this, only 8 days removed from the event, all of that snow is basically gone and has been for days now. Crazy. Here’s to hoping that there’s enough snow for the bigger snowshoe races coming up this season!
Welcome to 2014…with a blizzard. It’s a new year, and with it comes the promise of change. Change for the better. Improve upon what you started in years past. It can represent a previously unexplored path leading to a much more desirable future. That’s cool. For others it’s just another day. Just another year with just another number. That’s cool too. As long as you keep plugging away and working towards that better future, it’s all just means to an end. In flipping through pictures yesterday I came across this one from over the summer. The lush, green vegetation might seem an odd choice to feature as winter storm Ratingsgrab pummels the region, but the smooth clean path in a peaceful setting pictured here seemed very appropriate for what many have in mind as the calendar turns. We wish you all great success in 2014, and hope that we can be there to document and share it with the Legion!
On to the races! A couple of local races popped up on our radar yesterday…
While some of us were still within the confines of a warm bed, Jordan Williamsz and Meagan Nedlo were out on the arctic tundra of Salem, MA putting their mark on the new year. Jordan took down local legend Nate Jenkins (the Bill Brasky of New England running?) in a pretty stacked field at the Wicked Frosty Four. Williamsz won with a blistering (and also frosty) 19:14, with Jenkins right behind him in 19:28. Meagan Nedlo dominated the women’s race and won it in 23:19. Great way to kick off the new year!
We wanted a sound bite from Meagan, but her vocal chords were frozen solid. Once Meagan’s hands defrosted, she was able to type a couple of thoughts on the race: “2013 was my shittiest running year in the history of earth, so it’s nice to start off 2014 on a positive note. I tried to smile when crossing the finish line but i’m pretty sure my face was frozen. Definitely the most clothing i’ve ever worn in a race.”
Peter Najem and Dylan Lafond took it to the wire, with both men breaking the hallowed four minute barrier in this classic race. Peter broke the tape in 3:58.55 with Dylan right on his heels in 3:58.78. Wow. Christine Shaw went under five minutes (4:57.28) and won the women’s race. Christine also placed 34th overall out of the 1600 runners who lined up. Wow.
There’s been some controversy here. We thought it was Steve Dowsett who won the 5k in 17:19, but a local paper is reporting that his evil doppelgänger Scott was the one who won it. Alexa Pelletier was the top woman (and 4th overall) in 18:27. Matt Pelletier seemed to have exclusive rights to the Pelletier name at the top of race results, but will Matty P have to share the spotlight with Alexa P? Do people even call her that? She keeps winning, we’ll find out.
In the 10k it was Garry Cuneo and his 33:57 that took the title. He may or may not have been Boosting during the race. AmyBernard won the women’s race in 38:25.
The NYRR held their annual Midnight Run, and once again Tim Ritchie ran a heck of a race. In 2012 Tim ran an 18:54 only to finish second to Christian Thompson’s 18:49. This year Tim stepped it up and ran an 18:48…only to once again finish second, this time to Cole Atkins (18:45). It wasn’t for lack of trying:
Click on that link above to read the rest of the race write up. Amanda Winslow won the women’s race in 21:31 but Katrina Spratford of NE Distance wasn’t too far behind. The newest addition to the Woonsocket based training group ran an impressive 21:52. Just after Katrina came Jane Vongvorachoti of the CPTC in 22:04.
Finally we wrap this post up with something about a more recent New Year’s tradition: the First Run on the Boston Marathon course. It’s not an actual race, and if you’re up to the challenge, could be a heck of a way to ring in the New Year. It doesn’t cost anything and is open to all who want in on it. Of the event, Thor Kirleis said:
Courtesy of Reno Stirrat
“Another New Year, another First Run with the New Year’s Boston Marathon! Happy New Year. May the upcoming year be better and more rewarding than the last. If I can challenge you in one way, I’d say do something, be it a running event — perhaps a distance you’ve never thought possible — or something non-running, but pick something that is over your head, and then go get it. The psychological rewards are far greater when you achieve something greater than you even thought possible for yourself.”
The arctic cold didn’t slow down Pat Fullerton at the Feaster Five today. Maybe Pat thrives in the cold, maybe he was motivated by the bonus we waived in front of him before the start. Maybe it was as simple as resting up the night before this year. Whatever it was, it worked well for him. Pat cruised along into the wind to a solo 15:10. That was 30 seconds faster than the old course record of 15:40, which was set by Harry Norton back in 2007.
Back to that bonus… we offered to buy Pat his next meal at McDonald’s if he won. Fulla then went on to break the course record. Coincidence? Don’t think so. The big question now is what will the winner eat?
Alanna McDonough is fresh off an appearance at the NCAA DIII cross country national championships, but she still had enough left in the tank to win her first Feaster Five race. The Colby College sophomore finished an impressive 44th place at nationals in Indiana. Today she finished 30th overall in her 19:16 winning effort.
In the five mile race, we were treated to another epic finish by Ruben Sança and Nate Jenkins. What was perhaps most impressive about it was the fact that Nate had just set the course record in the 5k but then there he was, just behind Ruben for 2nd in the 5 miler.
Okay, he didn’t really set the course record in the 5k, but that was the announcement that was made as Fullerton broke the tape earlier. That’s why you can probably hear me shouting “it’s Pat Fullerton!” on the video. Did they hear me? No, but people were shouting about other things and I didn’t want to feel left out.
Anyway, back to the Sança/Jenkins showdown. Jenkins took it out and was hoping “to break the string”, but even coming off of an injury Ruben is one tough customer. As Nate heard people shouting ‘come on you guys!‘, he resigned himself to the fact that Ruben would not go quietly. The advantage shifted to the young Olympian when they were still close as the race entered the final mile. According to Nate, Ruben ran about a 4:35 to close it out. Ruben broke the tape in 24:19 and Nate was right behind him in 24:23. For Nate it was his second best time ever on the course that he typically seems to own.
Kirsten Kasper, 22, was the top woman in the five miler. She ran a 27:48 and beat out Cat Beck of the Central Park Track Club (who ran a 28:18). Although the name was unfamiliar to me before today, luckily Mike Quintal had the inside scoop:
@levelrenner 1st place woman Kirsten Kasper. Arguably the greatest female runner to run in the Merrimack Valley. North Andover grad.
If you followed the link on her name above, you can see just how impressive her resume is. Maybe next time we’ll be able to keep up with her and get an interview.
Lastly, a special holiday shout out to the latest power couple in the region: Matt Lacey and Cat Beck, both of the CPTC. They just recently got engaged and are up in the area to celebrate with family today. Cat was second in the five miler (28:18), as we mentioned earlier, and her new fiancé Matt came in 5th in that same race (26:56).
Sean Duncan (WMDP) and Olympian Steph Reilly continued to tear up the USATF-NE Grand Prix series with their wins at the Lone Gull 10k on Sunday in Gloucester. Both runners shot out to the lead early and held it, but ran a little conservatively and weren’t quite sure of what to expect in terms of competition.
Sean knew there were runners in the field that were capable of giving him a run for his money, especially with Nate Jenkins lurking somewhere out of sight. When he felt a presence coming up on him later on, there was some surprise to see that it wasn’t Jenkins but instead newcomer Nick Karwoski (Whirlaway). Nick surprised a few people that day, including many Whirlaway teammates who didn’t see a welcome email but were shocked to see an unknown giant in a Whirlaway singlet chasing down Duncan at the end of the race. The element of surprise wasn’t enough and Nick wasn’t able to reel in Sean. Sean’s 30:50 was good enough for a seven second cushion, and added even more points to his series total.
With only two series races left (30k & marathon), Sean appears to be in command. In fact, coupled with his win the prior week at the WMDP XC Festival, he now leads in two series (road and xc). It appears that 2013 is Duncan’s year. It’s not over yet and it may be premature to celebrate, but I think it’s okay to start the celebratory dancing. Just a little bit. Maybe for 16 seconds or so.
Steph Reilly also has a commanding lead in the grand prix standings and further asserted her dominance on Sunday. Reilly cruised through the streets of Gloucester and comfortably ran a 34:58. Her next closest competitor was Jess Minty of New Balance Boston, who ran a 36:27. Steph is more focused on coaching her Bryant University team right now and is just trying to get through this phase unscathed. You wouldn’t know it from the way she’s racing.
Binney Mitchell (GMAA) and Christen Doneski (Whirlaway) were the top masters. As far as teams go, Central Mass Striders took the titles in both men’s open and masters. Having Jenkins and Dan Vassallo finish 3-4 is a great way to start the day. The New Balance Boston women claimed the open team title, while Whirlaway was able to score the masters team title.
Nate Jenkins won on Sunday, thus putting an end to the so-called Level Renner curse. Up until Scott Graham said it, we never even saw the pattern, but it was there. Nate had never won a race that Level Renner was covering. There were quite a few close calls but for whatever reason it never happened.
Nate, who runs for CMS but was sporting the RaceMenu colors, ended that streak rather emphatically on Sunday, winning by over two minutes (he ran 25:40 for 5 miles). The women’s race was also a blow out. Heather Searles Mahoney (Whirlaway) won by over a minute. For more on the races, check out these write ups from local papers:
Here’s an interview we did with Nate post race, and well, a little during the race:
Alain from RaceMenu was driving up at the front of the field and got some great footage of Nate in action. He also gave Nate his first ever in-race interview. Make sure your kegs are stowed safely away, it’s time for the St. Paddy’s 5 Miler race video:
Like that starting line keg? We didn’t get Heather on camera for her interview, but she had this to say about her day:
This is the third time I’ve ran this race, it was already on my radar before my friend (and my husband Chris’ former teammate) Bob Wiles contacted me to ask if I’d consider racing it again. As soon as I had made the commitment to Bob to race BOOM, literally my next run, my left calf blew out on me.
I ran a total of 8 miles in the 7 days leading up to the race. I spent the whole week with either a ice pack, a heating pad or a compression sleeve on my leg (or Chris’ favorite wearing the ever so sexy compression socks to bed). So that, coupled with having some sub-par training in the weeks before due to the flu and the weather (snow every sunday all february!!) had me not really feeling anywhere remotely near race shape at all. I made decision the night before that I would still go up and support the race and get a fitness (or lack there of ) assessment but, I wasn’t going to wear a Whirlaway singlet because I didn’t want to be an embarrassment (and let’s face it, it puts a target on your back as soon as you put it on, which is a crappy feeling when you’re out of shape).
So, I got there early to secure a good parking spot and allow me to give the calf a good warm up. I also looked over the preregistered list and I didn’t recognize any names that looked ‘threatening’ (but, that doesn’t mean too much, especially when out of shape)
At the start line there were a few women that looked fast but, I didn’t recognize them so I just tried to not let them get in my head and reminded myself to run my own race.
I took the (women’s) lead right from the gun which made me nervous for a few strides but, I didn’t feel like I was working very hard so I just settled in. I went through the first mile mark at 6:10 which is pretty modest for a mostly downhill mile.
I did a quick look back at the first corner and I didn’t see anyone that looked female behind me and decided to stay settled and try to start picking off some of the dudes that went out too fast (there are always a few). When I saw Chris at about 2.5 miles he said he couldn’t see any women at all behind me and reminded me to quote “not to be stupid” and re-injure myself.
The back half of the course is more challenging, so I really didn’t make any attempt to work much harder and stayed in that “tempo pace” feel until just after mile 4 and I did some quick calculations and decided that I would have to step on it if I wanted to be under 32 minutes, which I did, solely for my own ego purposes. I finished with a final uphill mile spit of 6:15 but finished just over 32, in 32:05.
While this race was ORIGINALLY supposed to be a last workout before traveling to the Shamrock Half Marathon in VA Beach next weekend, it morphed into a fitness assessment of which I am unsure how to the read the results. I didn’t run as slow or feel as terrible as I expected but, at the same time I don’t feel confident in my fitness going into the half. I have written off my initial goal of a new PR somewhere in the realm of 1:25. I am thinking my new goal is around 1:27 and enjoying the green beer post race.
Mmmmmm….green beer. Special shout out to the RaceMenu crew for providing a lot race footage here. The video from the RaceMenu mobile really came out great. Be sure to check out their Facebook page.
Even though we don’t get time and a half for working holidays, we were out there on this crisp fall morning to cover a race that is as much a part of holiday tradition as the turkey itself: the Feaster Five. In the corrals were 10,000 people waiting for their chance to work up an appetite, or earn themselves a guilt-free second helping of dinner.
It was quite the spectacle watching everyone come through the start area. Well, not everyone. Had I stayed to watch everyone, I would’ve missed the 5k leaders finish (and most likely the 5 mi leaders as well). The biggest concern was whether or not my cup of coffee would survive the start. I thought placing it off to the side was a safe bet but between the runners hopping up onto the sidewalk and the curious dogs walking by, it was a close call.
Right from the start it was easy to spot Nate Jenkins and Allison McCabe as the favorites. They both have won here before so that was an easy call to make. But with Nate battling a cold and a very sore hamstring, would he be able to pull it out? And Allison just raced the USATF-NE XC Championships this past Sunday. Could she come through with a win on short rest? Let’s find out:
It was great to see a presence from Central Park Track Club still in the area after competing in the NE XC Championships out in Westfield just a few days ago. Catherine Beck manage to win the five mile race today (in 28:12 unofficially) just a few days removed from her fourth place cross country finish. Also there was Matt Lacey, who finished second to Nate Jenkins after a top twenty performance in Westfield.
People of the Day: Gotta love the media professional who tried to vulture my post race interview. Oh, two people talking to a guy holding a camera? That’s the perfect time to try to squeeze your own side interview in! A shout out to the lady who chewed me out for standing in front of her while I tried to get a shot of the finish. Before my feet were even set she starts on me. Why not ask nicely? I guess the holiday spirit doesn’t get to everyone these days.
Still wasn’t enough to ruin a beautiful day for racing. Now go get a healthy helping of turkey and football. Happy Thanksgiving!
**UPDATE: Shout out to Pat Fullerton, who I completely snubbed in the original reporting of this event. I whiffed on ID’ing the 5k winner, plain and simple. Pat won it running away with his 15:46 (second place was 16:54). Great job Pat! Full official results here.
*Okay, so Julie isn’t exactly local but she’s an Olympian, and rumor has it she’s totally On The Level. We hope to feature her real soon!
Men’s race: Allan Kiprono won in 1:01:44 and nailed down a big pay day for winning the Distance Medley. Rutto (1:01:55), Chelanga (1:03:22) and Abdosh (1:03:51) had all been in the mix and finished in the top four today.
6th – Eric Ashe – 1:07:29
7th – Nate Jenkins – 1:08:06
9th – Peter Gilmore – 1:08:41
11th – Jonathan Baker – 1:11:20
12th – Michael Quintal – 1:11:36
Women’s race: Kim Smith captures the win and the overall Medley crown with her 1:10:57. She had a 16 second lead coming in over Aheza Kiros (1:12:50), but that didn’t really matter much as she won by nearly two minutes.
5th – Jennifer Gossels – 1:20:09
6th – Caroline Bjune – 1:20:47
7th – Rachel Asher – 1:21:52
8th – Jordan Daniel – 1:23:08
9th – Kerri Leonhardt – 1:23:43
Chicago Marathon WMDP – This tweet from MattTheHitman sums it up: “Good day for the #WMDP. 4 guys under 230, 6 under 234, 8 under 257.”
Here’s a few of the group:
44th – Sean Duncan (2:24:59)
49th – Kevin Johnson (2:25:43)
61st – Jason Ayr (2:27:58)
67th – David Johnson (2:29:37)
93rd – Matt Peabody (2:33:20)
145th – Christopher Klucznik – SRR – 2:38:52 Joe O’Leary – 177 SRR – 2:40:01 – 11th in 40-44 age group Jonathan May – SRR – 2:43:02 – 15th in 40-44 age group Robert Cipriano – SRR – 2:48:12 – 7th in 50-54 age group Karen Durante – WRT 3:23:54 – 2nd in 60+ age group Alexandra Varanka – NBB – 2:54:17 – 35th woman Ben Schersten – 2:43:22 – 206th overall
Sometimes it’s best to just let the tweet do the talking:
Tufts 10k/US 10k Championships
we were there, coverage still to come…
Want to appear here? Be an active member of Level Legion and let us know where you’re racing and how you do! That’s how a lot of the names showed up here. Then, of course, race hard and keep it on the level.
We had a lot on this one, so we needed to pace ourselves. The Run 4 Kerri four mile race was last Sunday, and as we wind down the week we proudly present our interview sessions with some of the top finishers of the 2012 edition of this must-run event.
The Level has tons of race footage of today’s race, so this here is just to wet your appetite. We were out on the course and accumulating stills and streaming from almost every part of the race. We are in the process of compiling and editing our footage and should have a couple of posts about the race in the next 24-48 hours.
The design on the 2012 Run 4 Kerri T-shirt.
Despite the exceptionally humid conditions and steep uphill at mile 3, there will still some pretty quick times.
1 1/33 M2029 SAMUEL ALEXANDER 19:25.8 4:52 19:26.9
2 1/57 M3039 NATE JENKINS 19:26.8 4:52 19:27.9
3 1/34 M1319 CHRISTOPHER CROFF 19:38.3 4:55 19:39.5
4 2/33 M2029 CHRISTOPHER ZABLOCKI 19:41.4 4:56 19:42.6
5 2/57 M3039 MATT PELLETIER 19:45.2 4:57 19:46.4
6 3/33 M2029 NICK ROSS 19:45.4 4:57 19:46.5
7 4/33 M2029 WILLIAM SANDERS 20:08.8 5:03 20:10.0
8 2/34 M1319 LIAM HILLERY 20:23.7 5:06 20:24.8
9 5/33 M2029 ERIC LONERGAN 20:58.5 5:15 20:59.7
10 6/33 M2029 LUKE ALBERTSON 21:11.7 5:18 21:12.8
11 3/57 M3039 MIKE GALOOB 21:24.5 5:22 21:25.7
12 7/33 M2029 ANTHONY GONSALVES 21:24.6 5:22 21:25.8
13 4/57 M3039 CHRIS MAGILL 21:44.3 5:27 21:45.5