GLRR Inducts Four Women into the Hall of Fame

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We are pleased to share with you this piece put together by the Greater Lowell Road Runners about the talented ladies that they just inducted into their hall of fame. It’s a tremendous honor, and we congratulate all of them!

Patty Foltz

By Tom Foltz
Patty joined GLRR in the spring of 1988, thus making this the 27th year she has run Grand Prix races for the club. By my reckoning, she has run more GP races with the GLRR singlet than any other woman in the club. She routinely scored for the team throughout her Master years, and did well in the GP standings, winning the Masters division once. When she turned 50 in 2008, she finished second in the Grand Prix series and was named GLRR Woman Runner of the Year. In the 10 years she competed as a Senior, she finished first twice, second twice, and never finished lower than 7th place.

But it was in her 60s when she truly came into her own, and dominated her division. She sold her business in 2007, finally giving her the opportunity to develop a better and more consistent running base, and in the spring of 2008, she took advantage of the club’s offer and began getting coached by Nate Jenkins. That year (2008), she won every local race, ever Pub series race and every GP race in her age group. She also won her second GLRR Woman Racer of the Year. There was a string of races in the fall of 2008 which demonstrated her dominance in the field:

  • Ran 20:59 on a USATF-NE certified 5K course and broke the Age-group record that had stood for 18 years by over 3 minutes.
  • Won her division in the Tufts 10K in October with a time of 43:37, finishing 121st overall out of a field of over 5000. She also beat every other 50-year old in the race, except for GLRR’s Liane Pancoast, who was 23 seconds ahead of Patty.
  • Less than one week later, she won the Vet’s division of the Bay State marathon (the final GP race that year) by 45 minutes, with a time of 3:31. She beat every 50-year old by at least 5 minutes.
  • Won the Vet’s division at the National Club XC championships in Spokane, and was 4th overall for Masters in the age-graded standing.

Diane Geehan

By Amy Molloy

Congratulations to Patti, Liane, & Kara! I know Diane would be thrilled and honored to be elected in to the Hall of Fame with all of you. Diane may have only been one member, or one runner for Greater Lowell, but she made a big impact on the Greater Lowell scene. Not only was she was an excellent runner, but she was a full time nurse, full time mother, and dedicated member of the running club.Diane was an avid marathon runner. Her fastest of five Bostons was in 2008, only a few months before she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her time was 3:48,an average of 8:40 per mile. She finished the Cape Cod Marathon in 2006 in a Nor’easter in a time of 3:55. But her fastest marathon was Cape Cod in 2007 with a time of 3:38 at 46 years old. She was the female Runner of the Year for GLRR in 2007 and I believe she was the only female for the club who ran all of the Grand Prix races that year. She was so proud to get her jacket for that and wore it with pride. She ran every marathon and race with determination; the same determination she used in her fight against cancer. Less than 3 months before she passed away from Lung cancer, and a few days after a chemo treatment she participated in one of her favorite road races. Pete and I were lucky enough to join her in the John Carson 2 Miler on the fourth of July. Hot and humid as usual. We all walked it together and that’s a memory I’ll never forget. There were a few times I didn’t think we ‘d finish, but she was determined and wasn’t gonna give up. Diane was also a compassionate runner. In 2002 she ran the last mile of the Boston marathon carrying a fallen firefighter’s helmet from 9/11. I also can’t help but think she would have been one of the runners last year running straight to the hospital to donate blood or start IVs on patients that needed help. She would never think twice about doing good for others like that. She’s even helped one of our own after running 26 miles. Glenn can contest to that. Her quick nursing skills helped him with a medical emergency one year.

There was something about Diane that always made you smile. From the time she was wolfing down a hot dog at the end of the Newburyport 10 miler on a 95 degree day, or the year she hopped on a plane to Philly just a few hours after running Boston to go to a nursing conference. She called me the next day to tell me that the fire alarm went off in the hotel and she had to walk down several flights of stairs! Anyone in this room who’s run a marathon or lives with a marathoner knows how painful it is and how ridiculous it looks to walk down stairs the day after running 26 miles. There were also a few years, I believe, that Diane didn’t tell her husband Brian that she was even running Boston! She didn’t want to worry him she would say, but then she’d always get caught by a friend or family member out on the course. Then there was her “CHI phase” She would walk around with her “CHi Running” book for weeks 24/7. I teased her and her “CHI” book, but her times drastically improved from it right before she got diagnosed. That’s alright cause she got the last laugh when i eagerly picked that book out of a pile of prizes at the Chamberas XC race this past fall. Yup I Couldn’t put it down for days either!

Diane enjoyed her family, running, friends, and being a nurse and she had fun doing everything she did. She had so much energy and determination in all that she did. I remember training for Boston with her when i was only 23 or 24 years old and I would roll out of bed at the last second to go for an early morning run…at 8 and i would barely be awake enough to run and Diane would have already delivered the Lowell Sun to her whole neighborhood for her boys so they could sleep in. Then after our 20 mile runs she would then bring them to soccer games and other activities. And i would be going home to lay on the couch all day. She was a great role model because now, for me, 10 years later after my first Boston i get “it” I get what its like to wake up earlier to get stuff ready for my boys and then come home after a 3 hour long run and play with cars or do crafts, build a lincolnlog house or whatever it may be, grocery shop , make dinner, etc. I hope to be half the mother, runner, nurse, friend, and wifethat Diane was. She was a great role model.

Diane was not “just a runner” for GLRR, she was also an advocate for GLRR and all the people it services. Diane’s passion for nursing had a great impact on the running community as well. She was the medical director of the 2007 & 2008 Baystate Marathons. At the 2008 race she had a terrible cough and was carrying hundreds of gallons of water at the finish line, doing her part to keep things organized at the finish. It was only days later she had a patch on her chest with numbing medicine because her cough was so bad her chest ached and a little over a month later she was diagnosed with lung cancer . Giving back to the community was clearly important to Diane. She was always stressing the importance of community service to her three children. She brought her kids to any youth meet or event GLRR held. One of her last wishes in life was to better the GLRR youth club and that’s how the Diane Geehan youth fund was formed. This running club has come a long way since the days Diane was running with us. Between all the success of the youth and being running club of the year, I know Diane has a huge smile on her face right now and is extremely proud.

Here are some words of wisdom from Diane I wanted to pass on that she shared with us towards the end of her battle against cancer. “Care for each other and your families, drink water instead of diet coke, go outside for lunch, feel the breeze and sunshine, park way out so you get a walk in and out, run or walk outside during your free time even if its only 10 mins, buy that house, go on that vacation, watch a ballgame on a Sunday afternoon with your family, choose fruit, hug each other, and pray for a happy life.”Thank you for honoring Diane and electing her into the Hall of Fame!!!

Kara Haas

Kara has been dominating the local running scene since she first laced up her running shoes over twenty years ago.  She learned running and racing from the likes of GLRR greats Bob Hodge and Dave Dunham and has put that knowledge to good use over the years.

All of her PRs have come after the age of 35, but some of her most dominant performances have come after bringing her daughter into the world in the fall of 2011.

  • Set a Masters American Record for the 3K of 9:49 at the BU Track on 12/31/11.  Yes, that’s about 3 months after delivering.
  • Won the USATF Masters 10K Championship at the James Joyce Ramble on 4/28/13 with a 37:51.
  • Won her age group in the 2013 BAA 10K with a 37:47.
  • Won her age group at Falmouth in 2013 with a 43:06.

The list goes on.  But numbers don’t tell the whole story of what she means to the Lowell running community.  She is simply one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  She has been known to follow times of local runners and offer pats on the back or pep talks when needed.  Greater Lowell is happy to welcome her ‘back home’ and to induct her into our Hall Of Fame.

Liane Pancoast

By Glenn Stewart
I’ve been running with Liane for most of the time I’ve been with GLRR – which is about 10 years.  Her history goes back much farther than that – and I try my best to do it justice.
I’ll talk about the recent stuff first.  We’ve always been roughly the same speed – so when Liane got really active again (5 years ago) with racing, we seemed to be in the same track groups or training run groups.  Now when you train with Liane – be prepared. She is going to have a lot to say – I find out a lot about the club from Liane.  You can tell when she starts to struggle, or is not feeling well – silence.  Of course there have been the times that I’ve struggled – like Carver 2 years ago – when Liane dropped me like a rock because I was making so much noise heavy breathing.  Probably the most famous of the races we did together was the 2011 Cape Cod Marathon.  There were about 8 or 9 of us to start with running as a group. Much like a training run – at the beginning. Lots of chatter (we had Liane and Ally).  At about 17 miles Liane was dropping off the pace. I went ahead with Ally (who was logging her first sub 4 marathon). Once I got Ally in, I went back to look for Liane.  I went back half a mile, then a mile, then a mile and half… and started getting concerned – I figured she might be walk a little.  At just over a mile and half – I found her, just kind of mopping along – this was the worst I’ve ever seen Liane (she says it’s the worst she ever felt running).  But we sucked it up – and she did finish the race. We even ran some of the mile and half (especially when she was the race photographer – actually he as nice to let us stage and pose the picture – and she gave it her Liane smile.)  Despite the ordeal – she finished 5 in the division.  She swore she’d never do another marathon!!! But she did.
Last summer, due the events of Boston, she committed to getting into Boston – with a BQ. So it was off to Santa Rosa.  Without my help – she did much better – she took 35 minutes off her Cape Cod time and finished 4th in her division. So now it’s on to Boston.
Liane’s been racing with GLRR since the ‘Green Slime’ days.  She posted a 19:20 at the Louise Rossetti 5K – back in 1999.  Old timers (pre me) remember RoJacks – used to be the GP 8K – Liane did it in 32:13 in ’98.  She still runs the Tufts 10K every year – though it will be hard for her to surpass her 40:40 from ’95.  In ’99, she was the 3rd master at the Philly Distance Run half marathon in 1:29.  She followed that with a 3:17 at the Vegas Marathon in 2000.  During all this time she has been a solid member of the GLRR race team.  I’ve come to rely in her help rally the troops.  More than once she has saved the team by getting that one more we need to score, or being the one more even if she was not really up to racing.  No one has been a more tireless booster of the race team than Liane.  Always there – always cheering us on.
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