Tag: athlete interviews

Eddy Picks Up Another Frodo

Frodo, The Running Heisman, The Precious…wait, can we use two Lord of the Rings references? Sure, why not. The award bears a striking resemblance to some type of hobbit or elf-like creature, with a pillar of fire running from the base to the knee serving as the support to hold the runner up in mid-stride. I remember when I first laid eyes on it at my Acushnet debut and thought ‘that’s something’. I was a deep thinker back then. A few years later, my name was called and when I walked back to my teammates, trophy in hand, Scott Anderson said not-so-softly ‘leave it in the latrine’. That was awesome because a.) it was unexpected, b.) the Scottish accent made it that much better and c.) who says ‘latrine’ anymore? Come to find out that’s what he says about all race awards.

Alas, I would be baggin’ no additional Frodo this year, as Jason Eddy was the one who was adding to his collection. In a race that featured five past champions, Jay was the champion of the champions and earned his third Acushnet win. Eddy covered the 4.1 mile course in 21:27, which is only about five seconds off of his PR. That PR was from a decade ago now, back before he took a break to get his CPA license and start a family. Coming so close to it now is a good sign that is he well on his way back to being in the top form he was in the early post-collegiate days.

Of the race, Jay said ”I was happy considering the humidity and the weather, I was really happy with the race today overall.” If you read between the lines there you can clearly see that he was happy with his race. As he should be too. The air was disappointingly hot and thick, just a terrible surprise after a relatively mild August. It didn’t stop him from going out hard. Eddy ran a 4:52 for the first mile and opened up a good lead. Knowing he wanted to push the second half of the race, the second mile was a little slower (5:16) before ramping things back up with a 5:02 third mile. Feeling no pressure from behind, he cruised it in over the last mile without going to the well.

Also fighting through the unpleasant mugginess was Joe Navas and Steve Dowsett, both of the winning Whirlaway team. Joe is another former champion here. With only two titles to his name now he’ll need to pick up a win next year to keep up with Eddy. Dowsett once again fell victim to the curse of Navas’ back side. Joe’s derrier is a lot like Medusa’s head. One glance upon it in a race and your legs turn to stone. Or at least you just won’t be able to beat him. Steve found himself looking at Joe’s posterior about a mile into the race and that was it. Good night. Two years in a row.

For the women, it was all about redemption. Anne Preisig, running for Team Redemption, finally got the win that eluded her last year. Anne finished 12th overall and ran a 26:10 in securing the victory. Anne was a scant five seconds ahead of runner up Patricia Carreiro. Although Anne never turned to look back, she could constantly feel the pressure from somewhere behind her and as a result had to keep a pedal to the metal.

Below is our interview with the winners and some race highlights. Jay shows off his new hardware, while Navas and Dowsett try to steer clear of the parasitic wasps that seemed to be drawn to the interview area. It was quite exciting.

You can get full results here, and as always Bob Hanna had a good write up on the South Coast Today site.

Ritchie, Fullerton Earn Some Points

CVS 5k Scott Mason

Fullerton goes after it, courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

The US National 5k Championships were held in Providence back on September 22, once again as part of the CVS Downtown 5k race. This post race interview with Pat Fullerton and Tim Ritchie almost slipped through the cracks during our hectic month of race coverage that was September. It’d be a shame to overlook Fullerton’s first big Level interview.

In the race itself, Tim placed 6th overall (14:02.7) and Pat was 12th (14:20.7). For national championship scoring purposes, Tim was 4th and Pat was 8th, so they both earned top ten status and Tim got himself another top five finish. Pretty impressive.

As Tim says in the interview, it’s a tactical race and there’s really only one big move and that comes at the end. Things really shake out in that last mile and the lead pack will be together for the most part up until then. With that in mind, it was quite surprising to see Pat out in front when the gun went off. It led to a moment of “Is that? Wait. Really? Is Pat leading the race?” It didn’t last long, as he settled back in and ended up running a PR by thirty seconds. Not a bad showing for someone that still doesn’t have a lot of 5k experience.

With that PR, Pat scored himself some series points. It’s safe to say that Pat won’t be sitting in a tie for 38th place for long if he keeps racing like this. With a little more experience on this stage he could become a constant up in the front. is anything In the standings, Tim is currently sitting in sixth place. The seven points he picked up for his efforts helped him leapfrog a few other runners to get him into the top ten.

Here’s the interview:

New England is also has some representation up front in the women’s standings. Katie DiCamillo is currently 10th, while Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle are both tied with other runners for 11th. In the 5k championships more specifically, Katie Matthews placed 9th (16:09.2).

The next championship distance is the marathon, which will be the Twin Cities Marathon on October 6th.

Lone Gull 10k: Duncan Finds His Rhythm

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.

For more on this event, check out:

Race pics by Ted Tyler
Race pics by Krissy Kozlosky (featured image on the main page is hers)
Full results

*Sorry for the video quality. For some reason YouTube isn’t uploading it in HD. We hope you can enjoy the dancing and the interviews without that video quality. We’ll try to fix and re-upload later.

Nassaney Races: Northeastern, UConn Win

The Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Cross Country Races were held at Bryant University back on September 7th. We were there doing our usual coverage, but it’s taken a while to get it up on the site. We were reminded of this a week later when Zach Krause (a Northeastern runner) asked us about it. We know Zach, we know…#SlackingOnTheLevel. Better late than never, right?

The aforementioned Zach was part of the winning men’s team as Northeastern place four in the top five to beat out Boston University by a 23 to 65 margin. Leading the charge for Northeastern was Wesley Gallagher, who ran a 15:21 for the 5k cross country course. Full results for the men’s race can be found here.

Next was the collegiate women’s race. Brianna Castrogivanni of Sacred Heart won it with her 17:53.5. It wasn’t enough to carry the day as Brianna’s Sacred Heart team finished fifth. Right behind Brianna was Emily Durgin of UConn (17:56.7), and she led the Huskies to the team victory. UConn bested Quinnipiac by a score of 46 to 85 (full results here).

In the alumni/open race, Bryant legend Jason Eddy (2002) won it (and defended the honor of his institution) with a 16:29. Way to go, Jason. The comeback continues for Mr. Eddy. Maggie Mae, the penultimate alumni team (named after a Pie Tasters song that Shawn Nassaney made a staple of post-meet parties), had a strong showing but ultimately lost the team title to the Navy squad. We think. It’s only rumored thus far. See for yourself here.

As you could tell by the shocked silence in the interview, it was a bit of a surprise to hear that Eric Jenkins had taken his talents to Oregon. While it hurts to lose a runner like that from the area, it’s also cool to see someone of that caliber go to run for a storied program such as Oregon. I felt like I was really behind on my news when they told me that, but in talking to others about it since then I can see that I wasn’t the only one who had no idea. Jenkins will be coming back to Boston with his new team on Friday September 27th for the Boston College Invitational at Franklin Park. We cleared our schedules for that and are looking forward to it.

This was the 13th annual race, benefiting the Shawn M. Nassaney memorial fund. Starting in 2012 collegiate races were added. Shawn graduated from Bryant back in 1998, where he was a two time recipient of the team’s Bulldog Award, which was given to the individual who best personified just what it meant to be a Bulldog. To learn more about Shawn, the race and the fund that it all supports, please visit the fund website

Chelanga Right At Home in NH

Sam Chelanga looked pretty solid on Saturday as he cruised to a 23:54.3 8k in winning the Dartmouth Invitational. Sam did not count in the scoring though. Will Geoghegan (Dartmouth) was the top collegiate runner and crossed the line merely seconds behind Chelanga. Will led the Dartmouth boys to a second place showing with his 23:57.6. The top team on the day was Syracuse, but it was pretty close. The top fourteen runners (not counting Chelanga) all hailed from either Syracuse or Dartmouth. Syracuse placed their top six in the first nine and edged out Dartmouth by 10 points (24 to 34).

Sam moved out to the Hanover, NH area on August first, citing family as the reason for the move. The Chelanga’s knew they wanted to head back east, but where exactly was up in the air. Sam’s buddy Ben True helped persuade him to come train with Ben and Mark Coogan. For now it was just a geographical move. As of this interview, Sam was still a member of the Oregon Track Club. In the interview below, Sam opens up a little more about the race, the move, training and whether or not he’s ready for a New England winter:

New Haven 20k Q’s

The US 20k Championships were held on Labor Day in New Haven, CT. Matt Tegenkamp (1:00:10) and Meghan Peyton (1:09:57) were the big winners on the day. As is becoming the norm, Tim Ritchie and Katie DiCamillo each put up another top ten finish. It’s hard to not expect to see their names near the top of the results now, which shows just how good they’ve become.

We sent off some questions to Tim for a quick follow up Q&A:

Now that you are a seasoned pro at these bigger races, has the approach changed?

Every race always has similarities and differences, for the local 5k, the national championship and everything in between. I always just do what my Coach tells me. I always look to improve on something in my arsenal each race, learn something new and gain valuable racing experience. In that, each approach is different – a varied race plan, a new goal, etc. But every race for me is also consistently the best way to do what I love to do – run hard. There lies the similarities with each approach.

I go into them all grateful to have made it to the start line, hungry to leave my best on the course and blessed to be a runner. The more I run these bigger races the more I get to know my competitors, the level of competition, how to handle travel and how to not panic on a national caliber race. I still would not call myself a seasoned pro yet though… not without a W.

What was your first mile split? How about the last two miles? Along those lines, did the race go according to plan?

First mile at the 20k was around 444 and the last two averaged around 505 a piece. Those splits look like night and day, but were pretty much on par with the race plan. This race always goes out hard and last year for me was too hard. [Note: Last year Tim ran a faster time (1:01:47) but only finished in 14th place.] The race plan this time around was to sit in the back as the leaders pulled away (happened around 2.5-3 miles in) and wait to go and get them later. The humidity was very high, so there was some expected carnage. I sat in a pack around 15-20th through 10k and then began to inch up to the guys falling back. The whole race was pretty slow for everyone. I was just trying to be less slow over the last 10k. The goal was to sneak into the top 10 and I was 8th, so the patient plan paid off this time.

What do you think you can improve on for the next one?

The goal of top 10 was set because I had been having a very busy few weeks of work/life with a lot of travel and less sleep/consistency etc. Coach was well aware of this and when I told him I also had to work the Sunday before the race and wouldn’t get down to New Haven until 8pm he said half seriously, “…top 20.” He knows I like to race aggressively and that I would not be fresh enough to carry that aggression for 20k. I think for the next one, I would not chance much for the race itself. I just need to get back on schedule now that the school year has begun – with running, working, eating, sleeping, etc. I know my fitness is around here somewhere, I just gotta dig it out from underneath the haze I have been in.

What is the next race for you?

Next race for me is the CVS 5k in Providence RI on 9/22. I’ve run this race a few years now and always get my butt kicked. This year I want to be in the hunt, cover moves and be with the leaders for the final 400m.

Do you think you’ll be going to XC Nationals again?

As of now (spoiler alert!) I have no plans to race XC Nationals. Captain Harvey can be very convincing though. I know the BAA Unicorns have a stellar team this year and could see the podium again. It would be fun to help them get there.

Will Captain Harvey be ready for XC Nationals himself? Brian’s running the Via of Lehigh Valley Marathon this weekend (and not defending his WMDP XC Festival race crown). No pressure, Brian.

We also sent some questions to Katie DiCamillo and she got right back to us with some insight on her race:

Each race has been so different, so my approach has changed depending on the course and the weather. Going into the 20k, I knew the splits were going to be a bit slower than normal due to the humidity. I think it was almost 100% at the start! I was breathing fairly heavy on my warm up, so I knew I had to be very relaxed and conservative for this first few miles.

This first mile went out in about 5:20. In the first 10k of the race, we ran 5:30 to 5:35 pretty consistently. The race went according to plan for the most part. My main goal was to see where Im at in my traing for the NYC marathon.

Level Renner 10k – Interviews

mcgrane lr10k mason

Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

It took a few days to get these videos together, but there seems to be a whole lot more pressure doing them when they are for your own race. We’ve come a long way since we shook the world by posting our first videos back in February of 2012.

With talent like Ruben Sança and Glarius Rop in the field, we knew there was potential there for a couple of fast times. I just don’t think we imagined that they’d run this fast. Incredible.

We were equally excited about the ladies that signed on for the first event. Kyle Feldman was still working her way back into top form after battling an injury, and Lindsay Willard bypassed some much needed rest from her busy racing schedule (while also overcoming an injury) to come duke it out in Brockton:

Lastly, we have Rat Royalty. Peter Wallan is/was the editor and publisher of the glorious Hockomock Swamp Rat.  We actually started up Level Renner to help fill the void left when Wallan retired from publishing his journal.  Here’s what he has to say:

For a full write up of the event,  you’ll have to wait for the next issue of the Level Renner magazine. It’ll hit your inboxes within a matter of days, so make sure you’re on our subscription list so that you get it while it’s fresh (and are eligible for this month’s gear giveaway). And be sure to check out the website for Scott Mason Photo and Krissy Kozlosky; they both continue to contribute high quality work to the Level. They support us, so please consider supporting them.

Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky

Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky

Firefighter 5 Mile: Rich, Manfred Victorious

We went old school for this race coverage. Well, maybe old school isn’t the right way to put it. We didn’t have our usual camera equipment so we went back to our roots and got it done with the iPhone. Before the race went off, we spotted Pat Rich in the registration area and thought we’d get ahead in the game by doing a quick Instagram video of him with a pre-race prediction. Well, the cell phone service out there is pretty abysmal and the video clip went out into the ether, never to be seen again. We tried.

Technical difficulties aside, Pat Rich cruised to victory in 26:24. Matthew Manfred finished 2nd in 28:36, but the loss shouldn’t have stung too much for the coach from Altoona, PA; his wife Heidi was the top woman and only two spots behind him. For their efforts, they both got to cash in on some gear over at the New England Running Company in Beverly, MA. The husband and wife duo both coach cross country at Penn State Altoona, and were in town visiting family and hoping to run Falmouth. Falmouth’s loss was Hamilton’s gain.

firefighter 5 mile

Kaitlyn (L) and Lindsay (R) Domoracki bask in the glow of their triumphs.

The top firefighter on the day was Kevin Phipps of Lynn, and his Lynn Fire Department team upset the Hamilton team on their home course. Big road victory for Lynn! Kevin ran a 36:10 for the 5 mile course.

Run 4 Kerri: InterviewsOnTheLevel

It’s hard to figure out how to fit all the good stuff into short enough clips for your web digestion. Every now and then, an event presents us with enough “extra” material to produce some additional features.

Here we have Matt Pelletier uncut and on camera after the Run 4 Kerri. It’s always a good interview with Matty P and it felt criminal to leave out most of this in the more official race coverage video. Plus it was a good way to tease an upcoming video/blog post. ‘About what?’, you may be asking. You’ll have to watch to find out.

Next, class is in session as Jason Bui, Diana Davis and Lindsay Willard come to the Level Renner classroom for post race detention. All three of them came into the race on tired legs and all three ran quite well. One of them may have stealthily swiped $50 from an Olympian at a mile marker. Check it out:

We had a blast working with Scott Bessette and Co at the Run 4 Kerri this year. Be sure to add this race to your calendar for 2014! We’ll save a seat in the classroom for you.


Who wouldn't want this shirt?

Run 4 Kerri: Men’s Race

It’s been a while, but here’s some more coverage of the 2013 Run 4 Kerri. Just after the race, we put up some coverage that was focused on the ladies in the race, now we turn our attention to the men.

Chris Zablocki made a strong run for Mark Carroll’s course record (19:08 from 2007), but it just wasn’t in the cards that day. The final results have Chris listed at an impressive 19:17.2, but who knows what his final time would have been had a few breaks gone his way (more on that later).

Run 4 Kerri Matty PChris had the race in hand basically from the moment he put a bit of a gap on Will Sanders just past the halfway point. The rest of the field was racing for second. Last year, it was Sam Alexander out-kicking Nate Jenkins for the win. This year Sam had to hold on to make sure Matt Pelletier didn’t come back on him. The pair finished 2-3 this year.

One of the characteristics that makes this race so unique and fun to watch are the bonuses out there for the mile markers. The first male and female runners to reach each one receives a cash bonus ($50 for the first one, $25 for miles 2 and 3). Will Sanders and Anthony Gonsalves made no attempt to play it cool, as both went tearing out with a cash bonus on their minds. Sanders hit the first mile in a blistering 4:18 (or what Matt Pelletier would later refer to as a PR, had he gone with Will).

After such a torrid pace on the opening mile in such a deep talented field, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a runner drop like a 50 lb rock as the rest of the elites surged by. Will did not fade in such a manner. In fact, one could even argue that he didn’t fade at all. Sure, it wasn’t his best effort, but he still ran a 19:46 and hung on for 4th place. That was pretty impressive to watch. Zablocki didn’t pass Will like he was standing still; Sanders put up a fight.

Zablocki kept charging after that move, and it was once he was out on his own where things got wacky. At one point a left turn should’ve been made, but Chris followed the lead vehicle which went straight. I, EJN, was on the lead vehicle getting some Level video. The rest of the runners knew the course and made the turn. To their credit, the race officials recognized immediately that they made a mistake. At that point, it seemed like Chris would just have to be DQ’d, and race director Scott Bessette determined that he’d pay out first place prize money to Chris anyway (along with making the regular pay outs to the official winners).

Now the big questions were does Chris know and, if not, how should he be made aware of it? We talked about it briefly and came to the conclusion that it would be best to tell him sooner rather than later. As you’ll see in the video, we slowed down and waited for Chris. As he pulled up alongside the car, Scott tells him what happened and says that he’ll make it right. I have to take credit for the poor choice of words here though. “We’ll make it right” sounds all well and good, but it can easily sound like ‘make a right’ to someone in the heat of battle. Yeah, now I know. Sure enough, at the next turn we go left and Chris goes right. Son of a b…

So yeah, there’s a few cuss words in the video as we realized what went wrong there. Sometimes, shit just happens. To his credit, Chris didn’t lose focus at all and finished up strong. He didn’t waver and ran like an animal.

In the end, Scott didn’t need to pay out two first place prizes. The rest of the top finishers, they handled the situation with a great amount of class and sportsmanship. They knew that the purpose of the race was for a greater cause than the end results would show, and they recognized that Chris owned it that day. It just wouldn’t feel right to claim victory on a technicality. This was the 12th running of the race, and mistakes are bound to happen. Everybody involved handled it quite well and it seemed to make it a better story.

Although Chris came in under the course record (under 19 minutes, in fact), his time was adjusted to account for the first missed turn.

Lead shot on the website is once again a product of George Ross Photography, so check out his work and give him some support.


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