Tag: Mile

Mile to the Marathon: The Weekend

Once again, the weekend was choc full of exciting race action in the area. We want to highlight a couple of those here, and perhaps we’ll have even more on them later on in the week. One event that really jumped out at us was the inaugural Franklin Park Mile, which was held on Sunday, October 20th. The race, which is put on by the Forest Hills Runners, is a “community organized running event that is open to all.”

Times were slower, but hey…it’s cross country! “It turns out that a rolling mile is not necessarily the fastest,” said race director Owen Kendall. You don’t need track-fast times to get excitement though. “The women’s race had a phenomenal finish,” continued Owen, “with Jen Flynn (6:07) leading the entire way after racing a 5k that morning, before being outkicked at the turn to the finish line with 50 meters to go, but holding off a final charge by Alyssa Charney (6:09), who ran at Vassar.” Kim Lockwood beat both of them, winning with her 6:05.

Pat Fullerton won with a 4:24, and thought it was an “awesome event” with “the theme of community certainly very evident.” While it wasn’t near a PR for the sub-4 minute miler, it was “just a workout for hopefully big things to come this weekend at Mayor’s Cup. Ive been doing really long hard strength workouts since cvs 5k (long for a miler ) and it has already paid off as I ran a 4.62 mile race in Townsend, MA at 4:46 pace (23:45 for an 8k) so it was nice to get some speed in and be even more sharp for sunday without killing myself.”
Sounds like Pat is ready to crush it at Mayor’s Cup. As for the future of the event, Owen said “it’ll be fun to see what happens when there are several fast people pushing the pace when this race starts making a name for itself.  I think it has a lot of potential to be fast, but also to support the development of a running culture in multi-ethnic neighborhoods that haven’t traditionally produced distance runners.”
The event, the cause and the underlying goals of the race all seem like something we can get behind. Looking forward to 2014 already! Might have more to come on this.

The 3rd annual Green Stride Newburyport Half Marathon took place the same day. The top five men and the first two women were all names that were largely unfamiliar to us and from either Schenectady, NY or Malden, MA, which made us think that they could be part of the same training group. The winners were Feisa Ayele Megersa (Malden, 1:05:12) and Pauline Muchiri (Schenectady, 1:14:39). As you can see, pretty damn fast.

The fastest of the Legion was Dan Vassallo (6th overall, 1:08:54) and Andrea Walkonen (3rd woman, 18th overall, 1:18:28). We shot a few questions over to Dan to shed some light on the race. Dan led off with this, which we loved:

I’ll try to answer your questions and provide some commentary without sounding too much like a petulant child who can’t deal with losing. But you have to realize I ran a baseball blog for five years, and I hold myself as an athlete to the same standards as the ones I wrote about on the blog. Anything less would be unfair and hypocritical.

On to the questions:

Who were all those guys up front?

I have no idea who the guys up front were. I didn’t even know that there was a group of African guys who rip out of Malden. I just remember that one of them was little, one of them looked almost exactly like Ray Allen, and all of them completely took off at 5,000 meters. I was more than happy chilling in a group of seven, running between 5:10 and 5:20 pace, and that’s exactly how it was for the first three miles. The only problem was, they went (and, if you do the math, I guess some of them ran in the 49s for the last ten miles - even on a good day, that’s not a realistic time for a stiff like me) and I didn’t. I kept myself between 5:10 and 5:20 the whole time. I clearly had no additional gear. Maybe due to Nahant. More likely due to lack of toughness. Perhaps I no longer remember the effort necessary to run a 1:08 low or 1:07 high like I wanted to. This may make sense because, despite fancying myself as a guy who has the potential to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, I have not broken 1:08:50 in the half since November 20, 2011. It might be your journalistic obligation to point out this plain fact.

Vassallo on his way to victory in Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Vassallo on his way to victory in Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

How’d you battle with them?

I battled with them poorly. The first three miles, all of them (mostly Shuttlesworth) decided to throw a 45-second half-hearted surge, maybe to try to drop the weaker runners. But the whole pack responded and stayed together for the first 5K. But once they decided they wanted to actually run, it was over. I went from leader to out of contention maybe over the course of 300 meters. They dropped one guy with whom I battled between miles 5 and 10 and from whom I eventually pulled away. I guess not throwing in the towel and letting him run away was a silver lining - that and the fact that I didn’t die. You can’t die if you’re not alive in the first place. I ran very even splits, but unfortunately these even splits were between 5:10 and 5:20.

Has training been going well?

Training has been fine. Recovery from Nahant has not quite been as bad as recovery from a marathon, but the first few days felt pretty similar. Right now I am just trying to stay healthy for a year, and I’m now at 7 months without suffering an injury that warrants a layoff.

Are you ready to rock n’ roll at the Manchester Marathon?

I will resist the urge to say something pejorative about a certain road race series’ lack of support for elite runners in response to you asking if I’m ready to “rock ‘n’ roll.” But I am looking forward to running with my CMS teammates, providing depth and an insurance policy for my team, and making sure my personal worst in the marathon is something I do on my own terms. If any of your readers is interested in having a quasi-reliable pacer for a 2:32 to 2:36, I might be their guy on November 3rd. I am focusing on a November marathon, but that November marathon will be taking place in 2014.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that he resisted the urge.

One other big one from the weekend was the Baystate Marathon. We don’t have much besides the names of winners here, unfortunately. Well that, and a tweet from the big winner:


Thanks for checking in, Rob! Rob ran a 2:33:22 for the win. Nina Caron, who at the ripe young age of 53 ran a 2:55:59 and not only bested all the other seniors and masters, but was the top woman overall. Quite impressive!

Joe Ryan of Medford, MA and Christy Kirk of Sudbury, MA won the half in 1:11:50 and 1:25:26.9, respectively.

Another big weekend in the books!


Pat Fullerton just went sub-4 in winning the High Street Mile. Now he’s On The Level. Back on July 3rd Pat Fullerton ran a 3:48 at the Hinckley Allen Manchester Mile…and finished second. For those of us not familiar with the race, there was a moment of excited confusion. What? Did he just do that? That course was downhill, but the time was still impressive. I might break four going downhill if I’m in a big enough tire, but then again I’d probably veer off the road and smack a mailbox. But anyway, that’s not important. What is important is that Pat broke four once again, this time in winning the High Street Mile in a new course record of 3:58.8. This is a flat course, too. Now Pat’s On The Level to talk about the feat:

Considering the results of the Manchester Mile, what were you expecting for this flat mile? Was sub-4 the goal?

I came in second to Gagnon in Manchester in 348.2 and it was a windy day, so it should have been even faster in my opinion so my goal coming into to this was to run 356, I had done some outstanding workouts leading up to it and knew if I got out well I would have a chance.

Did you lead from wire to wire?

I swapped leads with Endale (Abiyot, second place) multiple times even though he had the lead at 400 (56) and 800 (1:58.2) before I finally took over at 1200 m (2:59.9) and then kicked for home.

Race video by Joe Mulvar

Just what does it mean to you to run that time?

I’m obviously super excited for how well I ran and breaking 4, but the number of people who have approached me / reached out to me and said it is a legitimate sub 4 is awesome! I didn’t realize how flat the course was I guess, but when I broke 4 I didn’t think anything really of it except just another road sub 4 to add to the list never thinking it was actually as fast as people are telling me it is.

McDonalds….did it make you faster or slow you down? If it made you faster, was there some secret combination of menu items that put you over the top?

I don’t eat it before a race usually, but I do eat it during the week (McChicken’s and McNuggets) and say “fast food makes fast people” all the time which usually irritates most of my female employees.

Working in retail, how do you handle being on your feet so much all day?

As for work itself, I love it. Its so much easier being at work all day in a pair of running shoes than boots which is what I did when I was at Market Basket as a Meat Cutter. So, work has actually benefitted me a great deal and I always have my hard runs done before work and then I wear my compression socks usually all day at work to help recover.

All in all, it was an awesome awesome race and I am really excited to see what happens in the next few months and see how can I do at longer distances while trying to maintain this speed and see if I get invited to any high end road miles!

What do you consider your mile PR to be now? Do you feel the need to go sub-4 on the track to make your sub-4 club membership more official?

3:58.8! Yes I still do for my own personal satisfaction. Is that a possibility right now? Nope, which sucks, but I can live with that….for now at least!

Well you’re a legit sub-4 guy in our books.

Thanks man! But I have always dreamed about it since I was a 8th grader when I first started doing track! So, for me, I wanna do it on a track. #europehereicome?

We hope so. Looking forward to Pat tearing up tracks globally. For now, we’ll have to settle for his stellar local performances and entertaining tweets about fast food.

Rupp: From the Track to the Treadmill

There I was, camped out on the far side of the first curve, waiting to watch Rupp run. It was bad enough that I was just using my iPhone to capture it all but then one of the Flotrack camera guys had to come over and stand next to me. I felt even more ridiculous when I was side by side with the guy holding the legit camera.

We all know what happened in Rupp’s mile (3:50.92, 2nd fastest ever for an American) and the place was electric. There was a rumor going around that Rupp and Salazar were going to head next door immediately after the race to run a workout on a treadmill. Wouldn’t it be incredible to be able to check that out? Yeah, treadmills suck, but it’s not every day you get to be around an Olympic medalist as they do something like this.

Surprisingly, Salazar and Rupp lingered in the infield for a bit and were very approachable. I waited for my chance and asked Salazar if I could “quietly observe” the workout. He said yes without hesitation, and it was on! It was going to be a Flotrack feature, so I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes or get in the way. Alberto instructed me to follow them when they left, and the adventure began.

It was cool to watch Galen get caught up in a mini-mob on the way over. While filming that, I got separated from Salazar and wasn’t sure where to go. One of their group stopped me at the door and gave me the ‘of course he did’ look when I told him that Alberto said it was okay. After a bit of hesitation, I walked in anyway and it was fine after that.

Watching Rupp and his teammate Dorian Ulrey do their thing was quite impressive. It was a 5 mile tempo that started at about 4:50 pace went down into the 4:40′s. Afterwards they did some sprints on the treadmill, the whole time Alberto was roaming and checking in on them. They made it look absolutely effortless. They could’ve been doing 8 minute miles for all I knew.

I had no idea what to do with myself. I didn’t want to get in the way of Flotrack’s project (and also didn’t want to be that guy in the background of every shot). On top of that, I never dreamed of having this access to Rupp and Salazar at this meet so I wasn’t exactly prepared for that. For a spur of the moment thing, I think it came out alright.

To see Flotrack’s piece (if you haven’t already) check it out here. Finally, I just wanted a pic with Rupp. Galen was alone for a brief second and I asked. He was cool with it and as soon as I handed my camera to the woman next to us, it all went wrong. Squires and Salazar came over and they wanted a group shot with Rupp, but didn’t know the woman was holding my camera. I stood off to the side for a second thinking I didn’t want to barge in on their photo. Then I thought ‘they’re using my camera, screw it, I’m jumping in anyway’. That’s how I worked my way into this pic with a couple of legends:

I really need a haircut.

NE Distance Project Viewing Party

Guest blog by Nich Haber (NE Distance Project)

The video lasts less than a minute, but it completely summarizes what we are trying to do with NE Distance.  It’s really a video of a video.  There are a bunch of kids hanging out at the C-3 Community Center in Woonsocket watching a projected live feed of NE Distance athlete David Goodman racing in the Open Mile of the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City.

David works with these kids every day as part of an after-school program, tutoring them on their homework, mentoring them or coaching them through a program at the local Y.  Most of these kids rarely leave Woonsocket and probably have never been to a track meet, let alone to New York City.   But man, were they were into it, rooting for David.

The three C’s in the name of the C-3 Center stand for Community, College and Career, three things that NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, our fantastic community-building partner in Woonsocket, works hard to promote.

Track meets can be confusing spectacles. One of my favorite quotes comes from Tom McTaggart, the official starter at the Penn Relays.  He calls it a “well-oiled chainsaw”. Hundreds of races, one after the other on the oval are complemented by several field events going on simultaneously.   It’s like a seven ring circus. Meaghan Hobson, NE Distance’s other athlete-in-residence was there to help the kids navigate the chaos and understand the races. She also shared with them what the meet was all about. The Armory Collegiate Invitational includes over one hundred colleges from all over the country, all of whom came to New York to compete to be the best. David’s Open Mile was entertaining filler.

While he was warming up for his race, Meaghan sent us pictures of the kids at the party. They were getting excited for his race and enjoying the food that was generously donated by our friends at Whole Foods Market in Bellingham, MA. David couldn’t literally hear them during his race, but he said he definitely knew the kids were there.

He put on a great show for them, leading for 6½ laps and then fighting like hell when he got passed. The kids screamed “no” when he got passed and cheered as he fought back to keep his place. “He’s a beast”!

David ran the first half of the mile in 2:09 and the last half in 2:02, finishing third with a 4:11.26. We are very pleased with his progress so far and are looking forward to his next race on Saturday Feb 9th at the BU Valentine meet. He’s looking for a fast time in the 3000 meters, which is closer to his primary event, the Steeplechase. Look for him from the stands at BU, on the Internet at Flotrack.org or come on down to the C-3 Center in Woonsocket. His race is scheduled for 6pm.

New England Prep Milers Ready For National Spotlight

By Steve Mazzone, originally appeared on MileSplitRI

BOSTON, Mass. – Two-time American record-holder and Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp will continue his mini tour of Boston when he competes in the 3,000-meter run.  Mary Cain, the 16-year-old running sensation from New York, will try and make history again when she lines up in the women’s two mile.

The atmosphere will be electrifying on Saturday night with some of the nation’s best athletes converging inside a sold-out Reggie Lewis Center for the New Balance Grand Prix.

Twenty-four of the finest prep milers in the northeast region will also get to experience the deafening noise that will radiate around the banked oval as competitors in the Boys’ and Girls’ Junior Mile. It will be a stacked field that will include several top New Englanders.

In the boys’ race, Methuen (Mass.) High senior Michael O’Donnell has to be considered one of the favorites for individual honors. O’Donnell, who ran the No. 1 time in the country (2:27.22) for the 1,000-meter run at last week’s MSTCA Elite Meet, will be making his second straight appearance in the race. In 2012, he improved on his then-best of 4:23 by six seconds, taking seventh overall with a time of 4:17.05.

“The crowd made a huge difference,” said O’Donnell, about last year’s event. “It just gets you going. It’s way different than any other meet.”

The Methuen runner will be relying on that energy from the fans in Saturday’s race.  He owns a PB of 4:15 for the mile and has a season best of 4:22, a time he ran to finish second behind another Grand Prix runner, Chariho (R.I.) Regional senior Bryce Kelley, at the Dartmouth Relays a few weeks ago.

“That wasn’t my best race,” O’Donnell admitted. “I know I can run faster. My goal right now is 4:10. It is definitely within my reach.”

The boys’ race will feature at least seven runners that have run faster than 4:20. O’Donnell is prepared for whatever pace the field dictates.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’ve done well in every type of race. I am ready for however the race unfolds.”

Massachussetts will also be represented by Middlesex School teammates James Randon and Garrett O’Toole. Randon, a senior, ran the 2 mile at NBIN in a personal best time of 9:23.69. He’s cracked four minutes for the 1,500 with a best of 3:57. O’Toole, a junior, recently ran 8:39 for the 3,000 and has clocked 4:05 for the 1,500.

Kelley is coming off a strong third-place finish at the New Balance Games in New York City where he ran a season-best of 4:16.59. His time is not only the fastest run this year by any other runner in the field, but it is also one that qualified him for a trip to the prestigious high school mile event at the Millrose Games.

Unfortunately for Kelley, he had to decline that invitation because it conflicts with the R.I. state meet, held the same day. In essence, this weekend’s elite mile will be his Millrose.

“This is really good for him,” said longtime Chariho coach Bill Habarek. “It kind of will take the place of Millrose. It will all work out.”

Kelley has been busy this year. He entered his final season on the indoor track surface after placing second at the state cross-country meet and later earning a spot at the Nike Cross-Country Nationals.  Besides his win at Dartmouth (4:20.13) and his recent performance at New Balance, he was also fifth in the 800 at the Yale Track Classic where he ran a time of 1:57.61. Kelley, a member of the Chargers’ national record-breaking 4×1 mile relay squad, set at last year’s New Balance Indoor Nationals, is ranked No. 7 in the U.S. for the mile.

“He should be right in there,” Habarek said. “I am hoping that his best times are still to come.”

Rhode Island’s other entry, senior Trevor Crawley of Cumberland, earned his spot on the line based on his success for the longer distances. He’s the R.I. state champion for cross-country and was a Foot Locker finalist.  He finished fourth at Yale in the 3,000 with a PB of 8:42.93 and was tenth in the mile at Dartmouth with a time of 4:28.30.

“I just want to try to stick with the leaders and not do anything crazy,” Crawley said. “I just have to run my race and not really think of the other kids. I am hoping 4:20 or maybe a little less than that.”

“I think (Trevor) is just going to try and be respectable,” Cumberland coach Tom Kenwood said. “There are some really good milers in there. I don’t know what the top seed is, but Bryce (Kelley) ran a 4:16 last week. I don’t think he is much worse than Bryce is. I think he can go about 4:20.”

Connecticut will be sending Staples senior Henry Wynne. Wynne packs an impressive resume. He was second in the mile at last year’s NBON where he ran the quickest time in the field of 4:11.59. He was the New England indoor titlist in the 1,000 in 2012 and the New England X-C champion this past fall. Wynne won the 800 (1:54.86) at Yale this year and has a season-best of 4:22 for the mile, a time he ran in winning the SCC Coaches Invitational  on Jan. 12.

Jonathan Green of St. John’s, the Division I Mass. cross-country champion, will also be looking to make an impact. Green has run 4:05 for 1,500 and 2:35 for the 1,000.

There is no question who will be the runner to beat in the girls’ field. The top seed by a substantial margin is North Carolina’s Wesley Frazier of Ravenscroft HS. The Duke University-bound senior and defending NBON two mile champion has a PB of 4:42.78. Frazier has a season-best of 4:48.33, a time that ranks the senior No. 2 behind the incredible national record of 4:32.78 set by Cain in the Elite Mile at the New Balance Games.

Northwest Catholic (Conn.) senior Sarah Gillespie appears to be the biggest threat to Frazier.  She was second in the mile last year at the NBON with a time of 4:54.79. She has a PB of 4:51.98 and 10:10 for two miles. She was seventh last year at the Grand Prix.

Hingham (Mass.) senior Julie McConville could surprise. Although she only has a best of 5:04.3, she currently ranks No. 1 nationwide in the two mile with a time of 10:27.3. Another runner from the Bay State that will answer the gun is Gann Academy junior Annika Gompers. The Waltham teenager is the daughter of former Harvard great and 2:11 marathoner Paul Gompers. She was tenth last year where she ran her PB of 5:04.93.

Rhode Island’s lone runner is La Salle Academy sophomore Sheridan Wilbur. The talented tenth-grader was the individual titlist at Dartmouth where she ran her current best of 5:02.72.

“I am hoping at the Grand Prix she is going to break five minutes,” said La Salle assistant/ distance coach Kelly Martin. “There will be some great competition. Some of the best runners from the northeast will be there. It’s really a chance for her to showcase her talent and test her true potential. She has a lot of potential. We want to see how far we can take it.”

Maine will also send a single runner to Beantown.  Senior Bethanie Brown of Waterville will try and improve on her best of 4:56.35. She ran that time at Reggie Lewis when she placed second in the New England Championships last year and became the first from the state to ever dip under the five-minute barrier.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 4:40 p.m. The girls’ mile is slated for 5:54 and the boys’ mile will start at 6:12.

Thanks to Steve Mazzone for sharing his MileSplitRI piece with us here at Level Renner. Steve writes a lot for MileSplit so be sure to check it out.

Exeter Mile: Jenkins Q&A

Yeah, the race was a couple of days ago, but I’m a RI boy at heart. I love what they did with this event and wanted to get another interview in on the subject. Thanks to the magical powers of Zuckerberg, I was able to contact Eric Jenkins via Facebook and get another quick Q&A in about the Exeter/West Greenwich Mile that took place this past Tuesday. Eric Jenkins took second with his smoking 4:00.13, just 1.15 seconds behind winner Cory Leslie.

Jenkins gearing up, third from left in the black singlet (courtesy of Anne London… NACHO!!!)

1.) I see you’re still at Northeastern, were you the only current college runner in the field?

I think I was the only collegiate in the field.

2.) Is the mile (or 1500) your specialty race?

Yes, the mile is my specialty race at this point in my running career.

3.) Just what did you run for that last lap? I saw the video and thought you were out of it…but then you turned it on and damn near won the whole thing!

I think I came through the 1200 in around 3:02 so I did the last quarter in somehting like 58.

4.) I believe you’ve broken four before, right? After breaking that barrier, does it still hold special significance each time you go under it, or is the focus put on a new barrier (like 3:55 or 3:50)?

I’m coming off an injury that forced me to redshirt the outdoor season so running under four right now would mean a lot; I’m usually not in this good of shape at this point in the summer. But coming up to the track season and later on this year, I won’t be happy with just breaking four.

5.) What are your thoughts on the upcoming cross country season for Northeastern?

I’m redshirting cross country coming up. But am really looking forward to indoor and outdoor.

Good luck to Eric in his upcoming indoor/outdoor seasons. Or should I say, good luck to anybody who’s within striking distance once he starts kicking? I’m still very impressed by what I saw in that mile race. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.

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