Tag: NE Distance

NE Distance Runs Like the Wind

NE Distance was recently featured in RI Monthly magazine, and it was a nice big spread. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Even in Woonsocket, a city that grabs hold of every funky urban trend, David Goodman stands apart. The lanky twenty-four-year-old popped up on city streets in late 2012, literally a stranger to all, and he’s been tearing up the pavement ever since, running eighty, ninety, sometimes more than a hundred miles a week. He’s now a familiar face along his route, yet most who give him a passing wave are still perplexed by his presence.

First, there’s his curly mane. It’s a safe bet he’s steered clear of barber shops since his arrival, and in cold-weather months he also sports whiskers a squirrel could nest in. Catch a flash of his shaggy countenance as he zips by on a winter morn, and you’ll swear you’ve spied one of those wooly men of Rocky Mountain lore. It’s an apt association, as Goodman blew into town straight from those rugged hills. He’s a 2012 graduate of Western State Colorado University, with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. Google his name and you’ll learn he was a stand-out college athlete, once winning the Division II NCAA championship in a track event known as the steeplechase, a nearly two-mile race with hurdles. That explains why his workout togs look ever crisp and new. He gets all his gear — his shorts and socks and Caribbean-blue running shoes — from Karhu, an athletic apparel company, and they give it to him free, with the hope that when he surges toward a finish line some of the glory will rub off on their brand, too. Then there’s his, well, aura — one of serenity, like a yogi. Every day he embarks on another grueling workout, yet as he lopes along his posture is always confident and upright, his expression relaxed and worry-free. It’s as though he’s still bounding through bucolic mountain glens, not dodging traffic on gritty city streets.

 You can see why people are scratching their heads. Running belongs in the enlightened cities of the West, in resort and college towns, not in a chilly corner of urban New England. So why did Goodman say goodbye to a place where eagles dare and the antelope play and relocate to a dog-eared mill town?

Interesting, although I’m not sure I agree with the author’s thinking in that last paragraph. Running belongs in New England, dammit! Check out the rest of the article at the RI Monthly website.

Zillmann Conquers the Level Renner 1000

level renner 1k zillman mason gbtc
We enjoyed our experience sponsoring the 3k at the GBTC Invitational last year (the first ever Level Renner 3k) that we wanted in again this year. Only this year Saucony found their strong and we could only keep it on the level, so Saucony got the 3k and we took over the 1k. That’s okay, because although we generally cover the long distance guys & gals, we embrace the opportunity to put our mid-distance brethren in the spotlight.

Unfortunately we couldn’t be there this year due to scheduling conflicts, but lucky for us Mike Giberti was there. Not only did Mike cover the Level Renner 1k, but he ran the damn race too! That’s keeping it on the level.

That horse out in front is none other than Ryan Zillmann. Ryan ran a 2:29.44 for the win.  Garrett O’Toole was out in front for most of the race but Ryan played his hand right and was able to  overtake Garrett in the last 200m.

For a little more about the race, here’s an interview with the Citius NY athlete Ryan himself:

Our field reporter extraordinaire Mike Giberti ran a 2:41.18 and finished 7th. Other notable performances on the day:


Invitational Mile: Sydney Fitzpatrick, New Balance Boston - 4:52.35
Invitational 3k: Katrina Spratford, NE Distance - 9:49.51


Invitational Mile: Alex Wallace, New Balance Boston - 4:12.17
Invitational 3k: Dan Vassallo, Central Mass Striders - 8:34.05

New Year


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…

Frosty Four

While some of us were still within the confines of a warm bed, Jordan Williams 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. Williams 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.”

With gems like that, how is it that she doesn’t have way more Twitter followers?

Millennium Mile



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.

Video of the race can be seen here.

Hangover 5k & 10k Races

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 Gary Cuneo and his 33:57 that took the title. He may or may not have been Boosting during the race. Amy Bernard won the women’s race in 38:25.




NYRR Midnight Run

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:

After both men broke from the field in the second mile, it was Ritchie taking control of the pace. But, the 26-year-old Boston College alum couldn’t quite separate from Atkins.

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.

First Run

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:

Boston Marathon ice Stirrat

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.”

Transitions! A Panel Discussion

NE Distance is hosting an incredible panel discussion with their friends at Foundation Performance Sports Medicine in Plainville, MA on December 11th at 7pm.

Transitions! A Panel Discussion will include luminaries such as:
•       Julie Collins, Head Coach of Mansfield High School - 4-time Boston Globe Coach of the Year. Currently on a 58-0 Cross Country win record
•       Mark Coogan, Head Coach at Dartmouth University - 1996 Olympian
•       John Gregorek - 1984 Olympian
•       Molly Huddle - 2012 Olympian, Current American Record Holder in the 5,000m and now World Record Holder in the 12k

The moderator will be Bob RothenbergTransitions! will discuss the transitions between the cross country and track seasons, between high school and college and between college and the pros.

Tickets are free, but limited. Register today!  Tickets and more info available here.

Mayor’s Cup Wrap Up

After much delay we can finally present the rest of our coverage of the Mayor’s Cup races. First up is the Franklin Park 5k, which was held in addition to the men’s and women’s championship races. It was won by Jake Shoemaker and Cailin Kowalewski in 15:38 and 18:44, respectively.

Next up we have interviews with Brennan Bonner (GBTC), Brian Harvey (BAA) and Nich Haber (NE Distance). The hot topic on the day was the wrong turn taken by the leaders. Brennan went the wrong way, Brian didn’t and Nich was there to see it happen.

Of the incident, Tom Derderian (USATF-NE President) issued the following:

“After the recent Mayor’s Cup cross-country meet, several elected athletes representatives came to the monthly USATF-NE board meeting with observations and suggestions about what happened as the lead pack in the men’s championship race ran loops in a different order. The athletes reps had gathered information from participants about what had happened and their complaints and compliments.  The rule book states that runners can be disqualified if they run short of the official course but nothing about mixing up the order of loops. For the future a decision process will be used that will include some of the provisions in the rule book such as a designated meet director, referee, course marshall, and games committee to adjudicate any unforeseen occurrences.”

Finally, we have something that is going to ultimately fall victim to poor timing. The night before this race was the infamous obstruction call in the World Series. Since we’re in the heart of Red Sox Nation, we know we weren’t the only ones that were left feeling disgusted by it. Ultimately it was the right call, but it was still very disappointing. We wanted to get the reactions of runners to the call. We also wanted to post it that day so it was still relevant, but the onset of pneumonia and crazy software issues prevented that from happening…until now. So here’s the video that should’ve been released back in October.

If you didn’t like it, blame it on the pneumonia. Also, don’t forget about Scott Mason’s photos from the day.

Mayors Cup Mason

Didn’t think this stuff would see the light of day. Gonna play up the pneumonia card as long as possible. So please, forgive the lateness. After all, I had pneumonia.

Day in the Life: Chris Zablocki

First Person: Chris Zablocki

I’m not very good at doing tricks with balls, so I started running after I got cut from the Xavier soccer team. Once I started running, I began to like it more and more because I realized that if you try hard, you win. It’s not like sailing or team sports that have many other variables. With running, you keep improving if you work hard. And I was lucky to have lots of encouraging family, friends, and coaches. Coach Michalski would get so angry if his runners didn’t try as hard as they could. He would sometimes even take out his frustration on steeplechase barriers and other such objects. He was a very good and motivating coach. His assistant, Coach Swift (no lie, that’s his name), had run the marathon in the world championships. We ran before and after school. Unfortunately, I became anemic and ran so slowly that I almost quit. I would have if my friends didn’t urge me not to. I was very surprised I got to go to Dartmouth College, and at the beginning of my freshman year some guys asked what I was doing on the team because I was so slow. But things got better somehow.

The Release of Issue XV is upon us...

When I’m not running I also like to mountain bike (won the Nutmeg State Games one year and totaled my bike the next) and road bike and open water swim (but I usually have someone in my kayak with me in case a monster fish comes).

When I’m not involved in anything aerobic or endurance related, I like to garden chard, tomatoes, and sunflowers. I also like to paint; I exhibited an art show back in January, mostly of the Marshall Islands. I was on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands for a year and taught world history at the high school there, and then the chemistry teacher tragically died the first week, so I taught those classes as well even though I failed chemistry in college. I also coached a marathon team while there, and after we went for a 20 mile run on the jungle road, the National Olympic Committee gave us a few thousand dollars to go race the marathon at the Kwajalein Atoll Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test Base. It was really interesting at the base so when I got back I joined the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School. But working for 23 hours a day and getting screamed at for not lacing my boots fast enough lost its appeal and I came up with the better idea of fixing people instead of killing them. So even though I don’t like chemistry and failed it in college, I went to finish the med school pre-reqs and will be finished with the post-bac at CCSU at the end of the summer. I just applied to American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine on St. Maarten. I also applied to NE Distance in case it’s not yet time to move on from racing competitively.

This year has been going better than expected. It would be awesome to be like Emil Zatopek or Ryan Hall. When I raced the Tallahassee Marathon, I met a Kenyan named Pete who said it was a good idea to race marathons every two weeks or so. He did it to save up money to buy used diesel tractors for his farm in Kenya and go bowling. I decided to try out his advice, and it has worked pretty well. I got a 2:17 PR in Virginia Beach two weeks after racing another in Albany, Georgia. I was hoping to go even faster in Vermont, especially since my friends drove through a snowstorm to come cheer, but it didn’t happen; it was very rainy. This summer I am looking forward to racing the World Mountain Championships qualifier with my old teammate Glen and coaching the Running Rams Track and Field Camp.

Zablocki’s Day in the Life
0630 Wakeup and workout: 2×50 pushups & 3×8 dumbbell twists. Breakfast: cup of Grapenuts, a spoonful of peanut butter, and some orange juice.
Run: 13.7 miles out and back on River Road as fast or slow as the legs feel like going, usually with some surges on the way back.
0819 Return home for core work: 1×30 pull-ups, 1×20 pull-ups, & 100 bicycle crunches. Refuel: chocolate milk and a bowl of oatmeal with Grapenuts. Drive to CCSU in New Britain.
0925 Organic chemistry. My lab partner Shelbi explodes extraction flasks of acid in my face.
1040 Microbiology. Get back papers with points taken off because they are technically correct but still somehow wrong.
1200 Organic chemistry problems in the library. Lunch: ham and kale sandwich, orange, yogurt, peanuts, water.
1500 Middlesex Hospital. Visit joint replacement patients and meet interesting people. Help a lady look for her dentures while she tells hunting stories only to later find out that her teeth are in a different town.
1930 Workout: treadmill (1 mile @ 7% incline warmup, 3-4 miles @ 2.5% incline with 30-60 second sprints added in @ 10-15% incline, so it doesn’t get boring). Swim: intervals of 100m crawl, backstroke, kicking with flippers, 25m butterfly. 1500m total.
2115 Dinner: varies but includes an iron pill. Check email and go to sleep.
Weekend Not much different than a weekday. If no race or other commitments, make the morning run closer to 2 1/2 or 3 hours since I like to just keep running. I also include some post-run drills such as rock hurl lunges (the rock is about 40 pounds and I named it Matt Pelletier as a way to motivate myself while getting ready for VCM) and pull-ups on my pull-up tree. I believe that the correct way to train is to stuff the biggest engine into the smallest package. On the weekend, I also take more time for breakfast, have a sandwich with eggs over hard, cheese, salsa, hot sauce, kale, with some oatmeal on the side and some orange juice.If I’m racing, wakeup, do jumping jacks and pushups to get pumped up, then drive to the place and race. I try to swim after races; it makes me feel recovered and strong again.

Chris Zablocki ultimately chose to go to med school this fall, and he is now studying in St. Maarten. This article was originally published in the July/August issue of Level Renner, which can be downloaded for free (along with all of our back issues). Get your free subscription today, which also will make you eligible for our subscriber only contests.

New Athletes and Some Punk Rock

Lara Crofford and Katie Spratford Joining NE Distance

Guest blog by Nich Haber, NE Distance

Please welcome NE Distance’s two new athlete-in-resident fellows!  Lara Crofford and Katie Spratford will be joining us this month.

Lara graduated from University of Nebraska and competed in the 2008 US Olympic Trials 10,000m as a freshman. She comes to us after spending a year as an assistant coach to Steve Spence at Shippensburg in Pennsylvania. Katie is an 8-time All American and was the Shippensburg Female Athlete of the Year last year. Both athletes are looking forward to joining us in Rhode Island and being role models to youth in the Woonsocket community.

A little more on each…

Katrina Spratford joined NE Distance as an 8-time All-American. In 2012 she was the PSAC Women’s Cross-Country Champion, and a year later she was the 2013 Shippensburg Female Athlete of the Year. She has a PR of 9:40for the 3000m Indoors and 34:42 for 10,000m Outdoors. Katie graduated cum laude from Shippensburg in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. She is excited to continue with her passion of running post-graduation as part of the NE Distance team. When not training, Katie is eager to be a role model for the children of Woonsocket, and to give back to the community she now calls her home.

Lara Crofford is a fall 2013 NE Distance recruit. Joining us as a 2008 Olympic trials qualifier in the 10K and a 10,000 meter 33:56 personal best. Lara was the top American in the 10,000m at the Penn Relays in 2013. Lara is excited to be part of our team. As part of NE Distance, Lara is looking to up her mileage and move towards running longer road races. She is a 2011 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Nutrition, Health, and Exercise Science. In Nebraska, Lara had a passion for community service, which she hopes to now be able to continue pursuing in the Woonsocket community when she is not training. Lara joins NE Distance after receiving her Masters in Organizational Development and Leadership from Shippensburg University, where she finished up her NCAA collegiate eligibility in the Spring of 2012 as an All-American in the DMR, while working as an assistant coach to Steve Spence for the past year.

Speaking of Steve Spence, he had this to say about his two former runners:

“I’m very excited to have two of my runners moving on to a post collegiate training group. They have contributed much to our programs here at Shippensburg and helped us win many conference championships. In fact, Katie has led us to 9 conference titles (3 x cross country, indoor, outdoor) in a row since transferring from Richmond. Lara competed for us for one track season while in grad school and then served as a coach the next year while finishing her grad degree. Lara and Katie worked well together as training partners and I’m happy that they can continue to help each other develop. They both possess a passion for the sport and a desire to see how fast they can run.”

Both athletes will be coached by NE Distance’s new assistant coach Kurt Benninger (aka Mr. Molly Huddle).  They will be focusing on indoor and outdoor seasons in 2014 and do not currently have fall race plans, but we will update you if that changes.

They are due to arrive on Sept 15th when the new apartment from NeighborWorks is completed.

Lara & Katrina NE Distance

Now that we’ve announced the new athletes, let’s get to the punk rock…


New York City’s original Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke band is coming to the Boston area to support this non-profit running organization with two events.

The Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke Band was the original live karaoke band that started at Arlene’s Grocery in New York’s Lower East Side in 1999.  The band has a set list of over 300 punk rock, heavy metal, arena rock and new wave songs and members of the audience step up to be their lead singer one song at a time.

Concerts will be:

Saturday, September 21st at 6pm at TT the Bear’s, 10 Brookline Street, Cambridge, MA

Sunday, September 22nd at 2pm at Ri Ra Irish Pub, 50 Exchange Street, Providence, RI (Right after the CVS Downtown 5k)

Audience members will be able to sing on stage with the band.  Tickets are available on the NE Distance web site, www.nedistance.org.

Funding for the NE Distance program has come primarily from individuals in the running community.  When not training, NE Distance athletes work 16-20 hours per week tutoring, coaching and mentoring local youth in the working class city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. NE Distance’s athletes are currently working with four separate after-school programs. Anyone interested in supporting this program can purchase “shares” in the team from their web site at www.nedistance.org.

FYI David Goodman will be competing at the CVS Downtown 5k on Sept 22nd (right before the PRHMK band concert).

Facial Hair Frenzy!

Guest blog by NE Distance Project

NE Distance Athlete-in-residence Fellow David Goodman is contemplating a change in his look.  You can vote on the change while helping him with his mission to represent New England at national meets while tutoring, mentoring and coaching local youth in Woonsocket. Funds received for this campaign will help defray the cost of sending Goodman to the Payton Jordan Meet.

On March 15th, David Goodman will have a different look.  Your donations to the NE Distance program will help make his decision.  See the benchmarks below.


Donations can be made online at http://www.crowdrise.com/nedistance-facialhairfrenzy

Our only question is, if we can come up with the $10,000 necessary for the ‘Mr. Clean’ look, does that mean he’s going to get his ear pierced?

NE Distance Welcomes Meaghan Hobson

This month Meaghan Hobson of La Salle University will become the next athlete-in-residence fellow at NE Distance, the new community-based distance running project in New England.  She will be moving to Woonsocket, RI to join the program by the end of this year.  Meaghan possesses 55 second 400 meter speed and is looking to NE Distance to help her achieve a long sought goal of being nationally competitive in the mile.

Meaghan just completed her Masters degree in Education with an emphasis on Special and Elementary education.  While training with the NE Distance team, she will be working part time in Woonsocket, Rhode Island with one of the Woonsocket After-school Coalition members. Meaghan will be moving into the Constitution Hill section of Woonsocket in an apartment developed by NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley.

“We are extremely excited to be adding Meaghan to the NE Distance team”, says Nich Haber, President and Founder of NE Distance.  “We feel she has an incredible amount of drive and is going to be someone that sports fans of New England will be able to see as one of their own.”

Meaghan is thrilled to be a part of NE Distance’s inaugural year and believes that athletics has a significant role in community-building.  “Growing up I never knew of any professional runners. They are very inspirational people and excellent role models for young kids. I have been fortunate enough to have some extremely positive role models in my life, help guide me to where I am now. I hope to work with students and have that same positive effect on them that I had in my life. Running was always a great outlet for me and opened many doors. I have learned over the years that it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you take yourself. And I am taking myself to Woonsocket.”

Bob Rothenberg, Board member of NE Distance, Inc.  (former Head Coach of Track & Field, Brown University) – “The community aspect of this project is just as important as the athletic aspect.  As our first athlete, David Goodman, has demonstrated, in the time when they are not training, our athletes can be community-builders working 16-20 hours a week with local youth.  It truly is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

People interested in supporting NE Distance can purchase tax-deductable “shares” in the team via their web site, www.nedistance.org.  Shares are not redeemable like shares in a for-profit company.  Shareholders are invited to the annual meetings to meet the athletes and vote on key decisions for the group.


About NE Distance:  NE Distance, Inc. (www.nedistance.org) is a 501(c)(3) charity.  A community-based distance running program funded by individuals in the running community.  NE Distance provides a supportive environment for post-collegiate runners committed to representing their community and reaching a higher level of competition.

About NWBRV:  NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (www.NeighborWorksBRV.org) is a nonprofit community development corporation that works with residents, businesses, and neighborhood institutions to enrich neighborhood life and make affordable housing opportunities available throughout Northern RI.  With over 20 years of experience, the organization offers innovative programming that goes beyond bricks and mortar- including youth after school and summer academic and enrichment activities, financial fitness, credit and homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, and much more.

About WASC:  The Woonsocket After-School Coalition (woonsocketafterschool.org) supports individualized learning needs of youth by coordinating efforts among eleven organizations, families and schools to expand opportunities for success within the community and the world beyond.

Contact: Nicholas Haber at (646) 732-6066 and [email protected].

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