With the Boston Marathon in the rearview, the Next Big Thing is the Vermont City Marathon. While Boston has the history and tradition, Vermont has something else that makes it easy to get excited for: a big race feel with a small race attitude. Boston is so big now that it’s become a bit of a logistical nightmare, and that’s no knock on them. It’d be tough for any race of that size, especially a point-to-point, to avoid becoming that. VCM is big, but still small enough to not feel overwhelming. Vermont has the competition, they have the crowd support, they have the community come out to support the race, and…there’s a good chance the elites are someone you know personally. They don’t import the competition from far off places like other big races, choosing instead to lure the best of what the region has to offer. We love that.
As we are now within one month of the race, we are starting to profile the invited elite. We kick it off with Amy Bernard, a Whirlaway runner who’s been a part of the VCM invited field before. Here’s the recently declassified file on…
Town: Hampstead, New Hampshire
Originally from: Hampstead, New Hampshire
College & Year: Merrimack College
Occupation: Chemistry Teacher and Cross Country and Track Coach
Club Affiliation: Whirlaway Racing Team
Sponsors: Whirlaway Racing Team
Recent Race Highlights: 4th female 2014 Baystate Marathon - 3:00:45
5th female 2013 Manchester City Marathon
1/2 marathon PR - 1:23:54 New Bedford 2014
10 mile PR - 1:03:36 Jones Group 10 Miler 2014
4th NH Female 2014 Boston Marathon
Marathon PR: 3:00:45 in 2014 at Baystate Marathon
Half Marathon PR: 1:23:54 in 2014 at New Bedford Half Marathon
Other Racing Highlights: Two-time New Hampshire female runner of the week, 2014
2013 VCM Invited Runner
Fresh off of a win at the North Shore 10 Miler, Amy appears to be peaking at just the right time. To help you get to know Amy a little better, we selected her to be featured in one of our prestigious Facebook messenger interviews. Here’s what we learned:
What does it mean to be an invited runner again?
I LOVE The Vermont City Marathon. This will be my 3rd time running the full there, and I also ran the 2 person relay with my husband Rick. They do everything right and the Invited Runner Program is no exception. I am super pumped to be a part of it again and looking forward to seeing their staff and meeting the other runners!
How do you think you fared against the tough winter? Happy with your conditioning now?
I am happy with my training despite the winter we’ve had. I coach winter track so I have no choice but to go outside with the girls everyday! The windy days I think have irritated me most. I’m just hoping to have mother nature on our side on Memorial Day Weekend! As far as my fitness I’d say I’m where I want to be. I just set a personal best 10 mile time at the North Shore 10 Miler - 1:02:52. I have a few more key workouts to get in and I should be ready to go.
Is there a friendly rivalry between you and fellow invited runner/Whirlaway teammate Christin Doneski?
Christin Doneski is such a role model to me. I have been lucky enough to be able to race alongside her at a few races and I’m hoping we have that opportunity at VCM. I definitely wouldn’t call it a rivalry at all. She is amazing and any day I can keep up with her is a good day!
What do you love most about VCM?
I love so many things about VCM:
- very spectator friendly. I think I saw my husband, Rick at least 5 times the last time I ran.
- The course is beautiful.
- Burlington is a super fun hang out spot post marathon
- The Invited Runner Program is exceptionally well run and I am honored to be a part of it again.
- Not as much downhill as Boston
- Not as many people as Boston - so I feel like I am actually racing other people
- the graphic results they provide after the race are so cool! and
- the drums just before the big hill at mile 15 are unique and motivating.
Toughest part: It’s a marathon! But probably the downhill around mile 21 - pretty steep and kind of hurts when you are that far in the race. Second: potential weather… you know how that can go
Favorite workout to get you ready for it?
I did a big 24 mile run last week where I did a 2×2 mile tempo early on and then miles 18-21 were at marathon pace. That was a big run given to me by Brandon Newbould - he doesn’t mess around.
Being a chemistry teacher, would you rather watch a few episodes of Breaking Bad or a flick like Without Limits?
Well I definitely enjoyed the Breaking Bad series - you got to Respect the Chemistry.
Do you have any nicknames we should know about? Did you ever go by ‘Nard Dog’?
Oh god… no haha… my xc team calls me “Joyce” which is my maiden name. I started coaching before I was married and they’ve called me that ever since (even though I’ve now been married for 13 years!). That’s about it.