Tag: Race pics

USATF Masters 10k Championships: James Joyce Ramble

Kevin Collins crosses the line, victory in hand. Courtesy of Scott Mason.

Kevin Collins crosses the line, victory in hand. Courtesy of Scott Mason.

The ever popular James Joyce Ramble (Dedham, MA) played the dual role of the USATF Masters 10k Championship for 2013. In the process it became a nesting doll of a race, as the age-graded scoring added another layer to the masters competition, which is normally a race within the race by itself.

The masters field had its own start (supposedly 3 mins ahead of the open field, but possibly a little longer), and Kevin Collins took full advantage of that as he rolled in alone in 32:48. Kent Lemme was next in 33:08, and then the runners started coming in a little more frequently. Chris Magill, Greg Picklesimer, Mark Hixson and Joe Navas all came in between 33:27 and 33:55.

For the women, Kara Haas was first in at 37:51, followed by Mimi Fallon (38:12)and Holly Madden (40:36). But there was some age-grading to consider here. Taking the age grading into consideration, and the super computers say that the top three overall runners were ladies, led by Jan Holmquist of Liberty AC. At 68 years old she ran a 46:06, which gave her a grade of 95.87%.

For the men, the top age-graded result was Brian Pilcher (56) from Ross, CA, who ran the 10k in 34:36. Between the open and masters races, plus the various age group champions and age-graded results, it’s best to look at the full results.

Speaking of the open race, Amos Sang’s only problem was running out of real estate. Had the race been a little longer then he just might’ve been the first to cross the line. Amos cruised along at 4:44 pace, perhaps inspired by the various readings along the way, and ran a smoking 29:25. Brian Harvey ran a quick 31:03, but that wasn’t enough to challenge Sang on the day.

The open female race was a little closer, but still not exactly close. Chemtai Rionotukei ran a 33:44 and had a comfortable cushion over second place Heather Cappello (34:039).

As always, check out Scott Mason’s site for more amazing shots from the race. Speaking of pictures, did you know Level Renner is now on Instagram? Follow us there for some Lo-Fi On The Level.

Curly’s Snowshoe Race

Guest blog by Steve Dowsett

This weekend offered up two very tempting race options. Sidehiller in New Hampshire or Curly’s out in Western Mass which was the MA state championship. The idea of trying to be the Massachusetts State Champion sounded fun so that was the option I picked and went to Pittsfield Friday night after work.

It was a cold morning at 14 degrees so I got there later than I would usually get to a race. I wanted to warm up and get into the race without much time in between. I talked to Brad Herder about the course to get a feel for it which was essentially 3 miles of twisty single track up and a 1.5 miles of fast downhill on the auto road. I headed out for about 15 minutes on the lower trails. I came back to the parking lot and saw a good field consisting of Dave Dunham, Josh Ferenc, Tim Mahoney and Tim Van Orden who says he hasn’t been training. (He is still fit). Ed Alibozek who puts on a lot of WMAC Snowshoe races gave me a vest with a target on my back since I won the last race in Pittsfield. I thought it was funny so I wore it (no pressure at all!).

We lined up, the whistle blew and we headed up the road which is the way all Pittsfield Forest races start. Tim Mahoney was in front but I passed him as we got on the steep section and took the lead into the woods. This photo from Brad Herder shows me leading with the target vest. Josh Ferenc came around me right after this photo.

I settled into second and we started to roll down hill and were going a little faster than I wanted. Dave Dunham shouted out that we had missed a turn but we ran a bit a further before turning around. We missed one of the only turns on the course! We wasted no time and raced back to the course and were pretty far back as we wasted about 4 minutes or just under half a mile. I settled in behind Tim Mahoney for the climb up Turner Trail. We were passing tons of people but I noticed Ferenc and Dunham had opened a good gap. I felt like we wasted a bunch of energy trying to get around people. I didn’t want to blow up so I ran my own race and just focused on getting to the top as Tim Mahoney started to pull away.

The terrain was easing up and the steep section was over but I still had no idea what position I was in. The next guy I passed said I was in the top 10 and about 8 people ahead but wasn’t sure. I saw some fast looking people at the start and started to think that  the since the climb was over maybe I wouldn’t catch anyone else.  I tried to keep my head in and started pushing the pace on this flat section. I saw a hard right turn ahead and as I took it I noticed everyone in front had missed it! As we crossed the road at the peak of the State Forest. Ferenc, Dunham, Mahoney and I were all together. I was pumped to be back in the race. All of the wrong turns had given me a fresh start.

Charging To The Finish

We took a hard descent back in to the woods and I was immediately dropped again! We were starting the fast sections but I had a terrible cramp and couldn’t get going. We raced through some single track and I caught up to Ken Clark (smartest runner of the day as he missed no turns). My cramp went away as I hit the descent on the auto road. I knew there was about 1.5 miles left and i just wanted to open my stride and go as hard as I could. I caught Tim Mahoney and went around him and saw DD way ahead. I thought it was a stretch goal but maybe I could reel him in. Before the race he said he was worried about how fast this section would be. I gave it everything I had and I could see I was making up a crazy amount of time. My Garmin beeped to let me know I just ran a mile in 5:16! I gave it one more surge as I knew there wasn’t much race left and I got within 5 seconds of Dave but ran out of ground.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with the result and I had a bunch of fun. It was exciting fighting back to the front. It was also an amazing feeling of relief when the whole race essentially restarted about 3 miles in. I figure the results would look very similar if no one got lost but its interesting to think about how the climb would have played out if it was just the top 5 fighting it out.

GPS Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/266732666

Results

1. Josh Ferenc   43:04
2. Dave Dunham 43:45
3. Steve Dowsett 43:50
4. Tim VanOrden. 44:26
5. Tim Mahoney   44:32

Congrats to Steve on a good (and interesting) race. Follow all of Steve’s training and racing on his blog Steve D Running. This is also a fine example of a blog in our new blog network. Is yours? Sign up here (it’ll go live sometime this week).

Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble

Guest blog by Jim Johnson

Photo of the starting line by SNAPacidotic

Saturday was race #2 in the 2013 Granite State Snowshoe Series put on by acidoticRacing and sponsored by Snowshoe Magazine.  The host race was Kevin Tilton’s Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble (results) at the Whitaker Homestead in North Conway, NH.  The race is a fundraising event to benefit the Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation.  This was the third year in a row this race has been held and part of the GSSS.

This year it was great only having to drive 15-20 minutes up the road to the race.  I woke up in the morning to a nice dusting of an inch or two of fresh snow everywhere and it was snowing pretty good heading up Rt. 16 through Conway. I made it to the race early so I could run over the course w/ Dave  Dunham and flag some of the trails that we didn’t want to do until this morning (because it was still being used by skiers last night after we left).  We also had to tape across the stakes that had been set by Kevin yesterday afternoon.  We headed out at about 8:15 and did the entire 4 miles of the course, which had a nice top layer of powder on top of the already groomed xc ski trails.  I then ran another mile + on snowshoes back up to a junction to set more flags, then back down and around the field a bit to warm up right before the race.  My foot was starting to kill me on the way back down from flagging the last bit.  It was the worst pain I’ve had in a while in the foot…but after stretching a bit at the car and staying loose right before the race, it seemed to get better by the time the race started.

74 brave souls endured the cold morning and snow flurries to make their way out on the slightly longer than 4 mile course.  I got off to an OK start and moved ahead by the middle of the field.  I headed into the woods and started the small climb up the first of a few hills.  I probably felt the worst during this section. I just felt flat and gassed.  I am not sharp at all and it takes me a while to warm up to the pace and effort lately.  The more I race the more I hope to get back that edge.

Photo of my bad start by SNAPacidotic

Trying to stay ahead of Kristina and near Chris Dunn… by SNAPacidotic

Photo near the start by Justin Macomber

By the time we popped up and down and around the first half mile of the course, it was climbing time.  The major climb begins in the first mile and lasts for maybe a half mile or so.  It’s pretty steady, but not steep.  The condition of the trail made it relatively easy, as most any line you picked was pretty solid and had minimal affect on your pace.  Halfway up the climb, I turned to see that Chris Dunn appeared to be in 2nd and a slew of people lining up behind.  It seemed from the vantage point, that everyone was close…but going uphill for an extended period of time makes that illusion that everyone is right there running you down.

As soon as I started the descent off what has to be one of the highest if not the highest point of the course, I started to open it up a bit.  I felt pretty burnt out, but kept up an honest pace as I shot down and around and back up to the second major climb, which is the same uphill section we do in the Summer Series at Whitaker on Tuesday nights.

After summiting the second of the two big climbs, it’s mostly all downhill, with some moderate rollers.  I hit the powerline section and looked back a few times but didn’t see anyone.  The powerline stretch hooks a sharp right an hits some sloppy single track for a stretch before winding it’s way back down to the powerlines again, but further down the course.  Then you run back down the powerlines continuing for a bit before hooking left and back up the other side for a stretch until you hook right and back onto the xc ski trail in the woods.  From that point, it’s a load of on and off xc ski trail (groomed) and single track cut-across sections (ungroomed).  I tried to maintain pace in this section but just felt a bit tired.  I knew at this point, I had the race in hand (unless my foot blew up).  It’s all flat in this section and the last mile has got to be the easiest for sure.

Photo by Justin Macomber

I passed a few photographers and spectators during this last stretch so you know you’re getting close.  Then the race dumps out onto the field, where you do one full lap around the perimeter before hitting the finish line.  I was glaring at my watch over this last section and over the last few minutes, wondering what the time was going to be.  I had forgotten that I broke 27 minutes back in the first year (2011).  I ran 26:53 then on a slightly shorter course (not by much) distance-wise.  Then in 2012, I ran slower but still won in 27:27.  This year, I cruised into the finish in 26:56.  I really wish I knew I ran 3 seconds faster in 2011 and I may have been able to find a kick to try to PR on this course, but alas I am happy w/ a sub 27 and a third win in a row here at Whitaker Woods.  Because the course was slightly longer, I think my effort was probably the best it’s been.  I don’t quite remember the exact conditions last year, but I think they were fast and I believe the course was pretty firm in most spots, so I’ll gladly take a faster time from this year.

The prize for winning was yet another homemade goodie courtesy of the Tiltons (last year it was a big gold championship belt like the wrestlers get, and 2 years ago it was a snowfall measuring stick w/ some clever depth indicators on it).  Jess worked w/ the shop teacher at Kennett to create this lovely wooden snowshoe cutting board (she did the design).  I also got a $25 gift certificate to the Moat.  Scott Mason is 20 for 20 in winning something at the GSSS raffles.  I was just about to joke right before the last prize was announced, that Scott hadn’t won anything and it was a big surprise….when to NO ONE’s surprise, he won the LAST prize in the raffle.  I say it’s fixed.  :)

Top 10 Overall

Place Time Name Age Club
1 26:56 Jim Johnson 35 BAA/Dion
2 29:10 Dave Dunham 48 CMS/Atlas
3 29:57 Danny Ferreira 36 acidotic
4 30:00 Chris Dunn 44 acidotic
5 30:30 Ryan Welts 32 acidotic
6 31:10 Phil Erwin 45 acidotic
7 31:16 Humzu Jafferji 24
8 31:48 Chuck Hazzard 52 Trail Monster Running
9 31:56 Amber Ferreira 30 acidotic
10 32:02 Jason Massa 45 acidotic

74 Total Finishers.  Full Results Here.

I cooled down a couple more miles over the course, picking up some flags.  Foot started to bother me again, so I called it at 2 miles.  11 miles total for the day, all on snowshoes.  Then home to see my girls!!!

Here’s a video taken by Tim Lindsey again w/ his GoPro (of the first 11 min. or so):

Jim is fast becoming our go-to source for the snowshoe scene. Check out his blog DoubleJRunning! Also, that’s a very sweet shot of Dave Dunham in his Team USA one piece racing suit. Action Dave must be jealous.

Beaver Brook Snowshoe Race

Guest blog by Jim Johnson

Photo by SNAPacidotic

Saturday I woke up at 5:30 am and was out the door about an hour later in the ridiculous ice skating rink that was my driveway and local roads heading south out of the valley. It took me a couple minutes to actually get out of my driveway and then I spun out twice within the span of 5 minutes as the roads were a solid sheet of ice. I made my way across the top of Lake Winni and hit 93 S for a ride down to Hollis, NH for a run at Beaver Brook (results), which was the first race in the 2013 Granite State Snowshoe Series presented by acidoticRacing and Snowshoe Magazine. This was to be only my second race since August (as I am sill nursing a bad foot). I’m also not in ideal racing shape yet, but I need these types of efforts to get there.

I was surprised at the amount of decent snow in Hollis. On the way down 93, the snow (north of Concord and even down to near the Manchester area) was VERY thin in spots and my hopes weren’t really high for the snow down in southern NH. When I pulled into Beaver Brook it was apparent that the snow cover was well preserved on the trails and they were nicely packed and relatively fast. I warmed up with Melissa Donais over the first mile or so of the course and then back. I tried to stay loose and stretch out the leg and foot before the race as best I could. I was really nervous and not sure what to expect.

As the race started I had to cut across to the one packed line that had been cut up the first field section of the course. It was one person wide and Steve Dowsett (Whirlaway) had lined up right in front of it, so I let him take it out up the first 100 yards or so before the course turns sharply onto the groomed xc ski trails. As we took the turn onto the ski trail section, I pulled out next to Steve and went right around him.  My thought process was that I needed to just run my race early and whatever happens happens. I needed to just try to go out like normal for the first mile or so. If my fitness or foot fails me, so be it. But if I just sat and didn’t make any moves, I’d regret it later.

Photo by SNAPacidotic

I continued to push up onto the single track section which winds up and down and around sharp corners for the first mile or so of the course before following along the shore of Beaver Brook. It was in this section that I started to look back and no longer could see Steve in my rearview. Steve had won Turner Trail last weekend and was not too far back of the infamous Josh Ferenc at Prospect Mountain. So he’s been out pretty good on snowshoes this season already and I’ve got 12 years on him almost…so I was pretty nervous. When I got a pretty good lead through a mile +, I started to think I could maybe hang on and win this thing.

Photo by SNAPacidotic

After following Beaver Brook for a while, the single track dumps out onto a wide xc ski trail and I really started to feel a little tired over that section but was continuing to build a lead to my surprise. Eventually that stretch hooks right and goes up a nice hill that is probably the biggest hill on the course. It’s not really too bad, but it’s right in the middle of the race and is enough to really interrupt any sort of groove you have. At the top of that climb, it cuts up into single track again for most of the last mile +.

The single track section goes up and down and is very windy in this section with 2 more decent uphill climbs and eventually it comes back out to the field where you started from. Mike Amarello (the RD) said they lengthened the course this year by about a tenth of a mile or so. Looking at my time, I was a couple minutes slower than 2 years ago when we last ran this course (Beaver Brook was cancelled last year due to no snow). This is the longest BB course so far. I’d say w/ the added section and the snow being a little worse than the thin ice cover we ran on 2 years ago (this year it was pretty wet and sloggy in spots), my time wasn’t too bad considering. I finished up and felt pretty decent foot-wise. I was more concerned during the race with my fitness and cardio, but held up fairly well.

I cooled down with Steve and Carolyn Stocker (who was 7th overall and first woman) over the last part of the course and some of the xc ski trails before calling it a day. I didn’t want to do too much w/ my foot not being 100% and w/ the race out of the way.

Top 10 Overall

Place Time Pace Name Team Age City/State
1 22:35 6:57 Jim Johnson        BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSN  35 Madison NH  
2 24:42 7:36 Steve Dowsett 24 Newburyport MA
3 25:01 7:42 Ryan Welts ACIDOTIC RACING 32 Northwood NH
4 25:02 7:43 David Cretsinger ACIDOTIC RACING 41 Wilton NH
5 26:00 8:00 Chris Dunn ACIDOTIC RACING 44 Strafford NH
6 26:07 8:03 Ryan Proulx 33 Portsmouth NH
7 26:40 8:13 Carolyn Stocker WMAC-DION 20 Westfield MA
8 26:51 8:16 Kristina Folcik ACIDOTIC RACING 35 Northwood NH
9 26:52 8:16 Jeffrey Litchfield ACIDOTIC RACING 52 Hopkinton NH
10 27:03 8:20 Cort Cramer 35 Maynard MA

98 Total Finishers.

As a special treat, we have this video for you of the race shot by Tim Lindsey.

This story was originally published on Jim Johnson’s blog. Check back there often to follow along on his adventures.

RI 6 Hour Ultramarathon


By Bob Jackman

The 4th Annual Rhode Island 6 Hour Ultramarathon & Relay took place on November 11, 2012.  The RI 6 Hour is Rhode Island’s ONLY ultra-marathon and served as the USATF-NE Ultrarunning Championship for the 4th year in a row.  This year there were 60 ultra-runners and 15 teams signed up representing 16 states as well as Brazil and Sweden.

Once again race day greeted us with ideal conditions for an event held in November in New England.  Slightly overcast skies and temperatures in the 50s, made for a good day for running and hanging around in between relay legs.

The race played out pretty much how I had anticipated.  Two-time champion and course record holder, Ben Nephew was back and stood out as a favorite on the men’s side.  On the women’s side 2011 women’s  runner-up Maddy Hribar was back and I noted that she ran a 18:16 at the Pine Creek Challenge 100 in September, taking the overall win there.  So with that fitness she was bound to be in the hunt for the win.

In the relay, two-time defending champions acidotic RACING was back and were aimed to finally break the 60 mile barrier.  Ready to chase them down were the Fuel Belt Racing Team and the home town favorites, the Tuesday Night Turtles, most of which were volunteering at the race, as well as running in the relay.

As predicted the pre-race favorites made their way to the front of the pack and never looked back.  But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any excitement during the race as the second through fifth places were jostled around all day long.  With an hour to go it was still uncertain who the top three placing runners would be and in the relay third and fourth place ended up being separated by less than 2 minutes at the end of the final loop.

When the smoke cleared, the top three men were Ben Nephew (45.92 miles), Thor Kirleis (40.52) and Alan Bowman (39.17).  On the women’s side Maddy Hribar took the win and third overall with 40.52 miles, followed by Kimberly Battipaglia (37.81) and Lindsay Anspach (37.81).  The runners split $550 in cash awards.

The USATF-NE Open titles were won by Ben Nephew and Lindsay Anspach.  The 40+ Male title was won by Thor Kirleis.

The relay saw acidotic RACING taking their third title, just missing the 23 laps they were looking for but finishing with the fine total of 59.42 miles.  They were followed by the Tuesday Night Turtle “A” Team (54.02) and then Fuel Belt (51.32).  The relay teams were awarded with cases of Bucket Brewery Park Loop Porter.  This beer was brewed specifically for the RI 6 hour and was flowing free of charge at the after party located at Track 84 in Warwick, RI

The date for next year’s event is undetermined at this time, but we will be back and look to increase the numbers for the 2013 event.  Click here for full results of the 2012 race.

All images courtesy of the talented Scott Mason.

Whirlaway Sports Presents: Cape Cod Marathon Highlights & Interviews

Hopefully this finds most of Level Legion in undamaged homes (with the power still on!). As many of you have read on our site already, we were down in Falmouth yesterday to cover the Cape Cod Marathon. Conditions weren’t ideal but that just made the accomplished goals that much sweeter.

Since the race is so long, we ended up with a ton of footage. We did our best to whittle it down to somewhat quick videos, but still featuring as much of the race and the Legion as possible.

For starters, here is the race from the perspective of the hardest working, lowest budget crew out there:


Courtney Bird, in his last year as race director, was cool enough to let us loiter by the finish line and capture all the end-of-race excitement. Winner Eric Ashe (2:26:13) strolled on by and we were able to get away from the noise enough to get an interview:


We couldn’t seem to track down the women’s winner Kate Pallardy (2:52:29), but she wasn’t fast enough to completely avoid our cameras:

Kate, three miles in.

Fortunately we did get a hold of Helen Dinan (2:59:14) for a quick interview. Helen was 49th overall, the 2nd woman AND the first USATF-NE woman. That victory was enough to move her into a tie with Lindsay Willard for the lead in the final series standings. Also, in an attempt to find a quiet area to conduct the interview, we inadvertently ended up in front of a completely green bulletin board. You can probably imagine what happened next…fun with green screen!


Finally, we have to acknowledge Sarah Prescott’s Cal Ripken-like run in the GPS series. Thirteen years…wow.


If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out Kev Balance’s recap of yesterday’s action and also Jessie Regnier’s kick heard round the world.

The road racing Grand Prix may be done for 2012, but start thinking about 2013 already (especially all you race directors out there). If you want your race to be part of the excitement, get your bids together and send them in!

There’s always the cross country Grand Prix circuit too (see you in Westfield on November 18th)!

Lastly, we need to thank Dave Kazanjian and Whirlaway Sports for sponsoring our material, shuttling us around the marathon course, and also for trusting in our creativity and judgement in how we presented it. Dave’s a good sport (and so is Sarah too), and we had fun throughout the process.


This and all the rest of our coverage is brought to you by Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen, MA. They support us. Please consider supporting them.

If you would like to sponsor us, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Willard’s Epic Weekend of Racing

By Lindsay Willard

Today is a warm and dreary October Friday, which would actually be my favorite type of weather to go for a long run, but I am proud to admit that I am taking some time off. This past weekend was the end of a jam-packed training and racing season, that I won’t soon forget. After a great Boston last April, I started my Spring training the very next day and headed into more than 20 races over the summer. I was competing in all of the Charles River Road Race Series, the New England Runner Pub Series, and the USATF Grand Prix Series. I didn’t expect for them all to go well, but it sure would have been nice. :)

I had a lot of PRs in the earlier weeks of the summer, but once I set my goal on the Hartford Marathon in October, I had to change gears and get serious about some long runs. It was hard to focus, and I missed the entire summer of track practice workouts to instead hit a Thursday or Saturday 5K or 5 Miler, and I made some great friends along the way.

Lindsay bearing down near the finish at Carver (courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky)

The Hartford Marathon came up quickly this October, so much so that I threw in two test half marathons just a few weeks before to check my progress. The results were not what I had hoped for, but exactly what I expected… I was quite burnt out. Back in April, Bob Fitzgerald of New England Runner Magazine had warned me “don’t burn out before Hartford!”, and I was afraid that was exactly the problem. I had been running loud and heavy, with my quads feeling strained - like lead weights for several weeks. I was seeing my massage therapist, my physical therapist, and my chiropractor for every last minute appointment I could make and afford, looking for some relief. Beyond the physical, I also faced the mental challenges by lowering my expectations for Hartford twice.

I knew that I wasn’t in the shape I was in back before Boston in April, but that I was absolutely willing to go through the pain and still shoot for the best. It was almost funny to find out that the finale to the New England Pub Series (where I was trying to maintain my lead for the series title) was the day after the Hartford Marathon. Very unfortunate, but I fully intended to put my legs through it. I mean how bad could a 5K feel after 26.2? It was called the Shileleigh Shuffle in Newton, MA - and I joked that I certainly would be shuffling. :)

So October 13th came, and I was with a few other BAA teammates in the New England’s Finest sponsored group at Hartford. It felt so foreign to me to be racing anywhere other than the Boston course. I had no idea where we would be going on this race, what it looked like, what the fan support would be like, etc. I knew that my parents had driven into town the night before and
that I would see them somewhere after the halfway mark, along with my Hello Kitty decorated “elite” water bottle (that I was so excited for).

I had warned my parents in the prior weeks about the shape of my quads, and my frustrations. They of course had said they would be proud no matter what, and they knew that dropping out was not an option for me. I stood no chance of winning, but I just wanted to see what I could do. And when the gun went off I was delighted to feel fresh legs for the first time in weeks. I felt
fluid, controlled and ready…clicking off 6:15s, 6:20s, even some relaxing 6:25s. I was thrilled at the idea that I could do the 2:50 pace I was still hoping for. Far from the 2:45 I originally wanted, or the 2:48 I had bumped it to… But I was actually banking time for the second half.

I had a little tummy grumble at mile 11 and feared that I was hungry, but when I ate a GU gel at mile 14 and started to vomit - I came to the sad realization that I wasn’t hungry, I had acid reflux. I got sick over 6 times in the last miles of the race. I lost over 5 minutes in the final miles, even stopping to walk for the first time in years of marathons. Nothing could fix my stomach. I cried to my Mom when I passed her at mile 17 and she just begged me to hold it in, but it kept coming. I even threw my head back on the finish line trying not to get sick again. I was so upset to have watched my goal times drop out of sight over something I had no control over; t wasn’t even about tired legs. But my goodness, I still got 3rd place and I still ran a better time than my last Marathon, so what am I complaining about??? I did it! It wasn’t pretty, or planned, but it was a PR. It was also my parents’ favorite Marathon experience to be able to see me out on the course, actually talk directly to me, and watch me cross the finish line, and most of all - to place on the podium.

After Hartford was said and done, and the New England’s Finest Program had taken such great care of me, I realized that I had to drive myself back to Boston. I had to throw in a load of laundry and wash my uniform for the Pub Series race the next morning. Very poor planning ;p but I was taking a smiling, sarcastic look at it, just like with Hartford. I knew I was tired, but I wasn’t going to miss it.

I showed up late to Newton, scrambled for parking, then darted out in the rain for a four minute warm-up. It felt so strange to put on racing flats again, but I could care less about what I was wearing, since I wasn’t exactly committed to wearing it for 26 miles, like the day before. I know that I had made jokes about dragging myself across the finish line, and walking it in, but I think anyone who knows me knows that I was still gonna go for it. I looked for the second place Pub Series runner, and any other woman doing shake-outs on the starting line, and I just put my head down.

I didn’t freak out at the sound of the starter, or try to go out fast and hold on like I usually do. I just pumped my arms, kicked up my feet, and got moving. The 5:45 wasn’t a fast first mile, but better than I had expected. I was in third at that point, with my eyes on a pink t-shirt in the lead. It was a downhill second mile and I managed to maintain pace and slowly get closer to that pink t-shirt. At 2.25 miles I approached her, then I slipped in front of her. I waited for a reaction, and when she stayed put I just tried to hold on. I though to myself “how cool would it be to actually win this thing, the day after your marathon!?!” How cool indeed.

I came around the final turn in Newton and saw the balloons. I heard the cheering and I saw Bob Fitzgerald hold up a finisher’s tape for me to break, and it felt amazing. I think I cried out as I crossed that line. Now I was officially tired, now I had left it all out there, now my stomach officially hated me :)  and now…I could go have a beer at Paddy’s Pub and celebrate a great weekend all around.

Congrats to Lindsay for pulling off this epic double.

Leslie, Jaswell Fight the Winds and Triumph at the Amica Marathon

By STEPHEN MAZZONE

Ignoring a stiff wind that often provided a sand storm near the coast, more than 4,000 put on their hard hats, laced up their running shoes and attacked the city streets of Newport Sunday morning for the fourth annual Amica Marathon and UnitedHealthcare Half Marathon.

Last year’s runner-up in the half, Scott Leslie, of Rutland, Mass., went the full distance this time and proved successful with a 12-second victory. Leslie outdistanced Bay State pal Nick Menzies of Jamaica Plain with a winning time of 2 hours, 41 minutes.

“It was good,” he said. “I played it easy like the first 10K. It got pretty windy on some of the exposed parts of the course, like seven (miles), 17 down the beach and right around 22. There were some pretty strong headwinds. It was tough conditions for everybody out there, but it was a good race.”

Leslie hung back in second for most of the race and didn’t pass Menzies until there was less than two miles remaining.

“I just kind of put in a kick and went past him and held off,” he said. “I am pleased with that.”

The women’s title was copped by Johnston’s Megan Jaswell, just a week removed from besting the field at the Gloria Gemma 5K in Providence. The 25-year-old Jaswell ran by her lonesome most of the way and cruised to a nearly 25-minute PR, breaking the tape at 3:05:39. Sydney Brunelle of Hugo, Maine, snagged second-place honors at 3:13:08.

“It was a gorgeous run,” said an elated Jaswell. “I was thinking of doing Hartford this weekend or this. This was just breathtaking. It was great. I am happy I did it.”

Moore on his way to a win in the half.

In the half marathon, Connecticut’s own Ryan Moore, a URI grad who resides in Newport, captured his inaugural attempt at the 13.1-mile distance with 1:16:25 clocking. Ryan Smoot of Providence was second at 1:16:44.

The 27-year-old Moore established front-running duties just a half mile into the race.

“We [the lead pack] started off pretty good, everybody looked pretty good,” he said. “Then we kind of got going up the first hill (at the beginning) and we started to separate. I just tried to get on a constant pace

Fitzgerald breaking the tape.

and run.”

Penn State grad Kathryn Fitzgerald of Cambridge, Mass., was the first female, also winning her maiden journey for the half with a time of 1:27:30. Amy Canton of Canton, Mass., was next at 1:28:37.

“I was kind of stuck in no-man’s land, but it was good,” said Fitzgerald, a leader after three miles. “I had no idea what to expect or what kind of shape I was in. I felt really good.”

A field of 3,292 finished the half marathon and an additional 1,004 completed the marathon.

Hilary Dionne on her Record-Breaking Race

Hilary Dionne (BAA) not only won the ING Hartford Marathon, but she also set a new course record. The old course record was 2:43:something (faster than a two-fifty-something), so her 2:40:34 was well under the old mark (full results here). If you weren’t in Hartford on Saturday or near a computer anywhere else that morning, you can watch her post race interview here.

To delve a little further into the nitty gritty of the win, we went directly to the source:

L-R: Jesseman, Dionne, Willard

You won the Cape marathon in 2:48 in less than ideal conditions, then followed that up with a 2:51 in terrible conditions in Boston last April. How excited were you to be on a fast course in better conditions?

After Boston, where I’d hoped to run a 2:45 but couldn’t with the heat, I was looking forward to getting a time I knew I was capable of this fall. I debated which race to do: something big, like NY, or flat and local, like Bay State. Then, I was invited to be part of the New England’s finest program in Hartford and that sealed the deal; it seemed sort of in between. Although I was nervous at first about the cold, coming off of training through such a hot summer, the conditions were really great.

Did you feel like this was something you’ve been capable of for a while, but just didn’t get a chance to fully show yet?

In Spring 2011, I was training for Vermont City and felt like I was in shape to run 2:45ish, but pulled a muscle the week before and decided not to run. It was nothing serious, but was so tight that it wasn’t worth an injury. And then there was Boston…again, not ideal conditions. Yesterday I knew that I could break 2:45 if I ran smart, but 2:40 was more of a stretch goal, so I’m pretty excited!

How did the race unfold and how long were you running alone for?

I had expected to run with last year’s winner, Erica Jessman, from the onset of the race, but she stayed a bit behind me from the beginning. Right after mile 1, the half marathon runners split off from the marathoners, and I was first afraid I’d be alone already — but found a few guys to work with pretty soon. We had a great pack of three and stuck together through about mile 22 but barely spoke! (One of them was Tim Milenkevich from CT, who also ran a 7 min PR). Around mile 16 or 17 we picked up the pace slightly, probably through mile 22, where someone else caught us and one of the guys went with him. I maintained my pace with Tim and really was only “alone” for the last few miles — ahead on the hill, but then passed at the end (need to work on my kick!). At the turnaround at mile 17, Erica looked strong, but was roughly a half mile behind. I knew that I could maintain my lead if I didn’t die in the last few miles.

Was this your first time running Hartford? What’d you think of the course?

This was my first time running Hartford. I’d heard good things about the race overall, and the course , which was fast as I’d hoped, but still had enough hills to consider it challenging… including a tough one at mile 25.

Were you part of the NE Finest program? If so, what effect did that have on your mindset?

Dionne and Tucker, ready to celebrate

NE’s finest treated us really well. Knowing there was some good prize money at stake was an additional motivator — one of the best prize pools within reach for a non-pro runner. I also got to bring a running companion, and my boyfriend (Ross Tucker, who was also on the Dartmouth track team) trained for his first marathon out of post-collegiate “retirement” — and he ran a 2:49, much faster than he was expecting. So, it was a good morning for both of us! And it helped to have someone else thinking about Oct. 13th as much as me every day for the past few months.

How were you able to get right on the set for the post-race interview and look so…relaxed? You look like you recovered impressively fast from the race!

I was surprised myself, having had several post-race interviews where I felt like I was babbling, I think it was adrenaline this time! I felt much better afterwards (today) then I have after previous races. After Cape Cod, I sat on the ground for at least 15 minutes, just to get my legs back. Hopefully this is a sign that my body is adjusting a little more to the distance each time.

What’s next for you?

Boston will definitely be my next marathon; I’m looking forward to enjoying the hometown course more next year. In between, I will try to incorporate a few half marathons, 10 mile races, and possibly a 5K or two indoors this winter to work on my speed…who knows!

Congrats again to Hilary (and Ross). More Hartford Marathon/Half Marathon coverage on the way.

From the Tufts 10k/US Championships: Tara Erdmann

Hanging around after the Tufts 10k For Women/US 10k Road Championships on Monday, the music and announcements were loud. So loud, that when The Level had a chance to speak with Tara Erdmann, a video interview probably wouldn’t have come out. Luckily for us, Tara is as cool as she is fast and she agreed to an interview over email.

Tara in hot pursuit of Chelsea near the end of the Tufts 10k (courtesy of Tom Derderian).

Here’s a quick Q&A with Tara Erdmann after her second place finish in Boston on Monday.

It was pretty close between you and Chelsea. How did the race play out over the last mile?

The race plan from the very beginning was to be patient and stay in the front pack for the first 5 miles and then from there I was able to take the lead and push the pace if my body was feeling good. With only a mile left I decided to press the pace and see if I could get anyone to go with me. I knew I was feeling good and wasn’t hurting yet, so I wanted to test the others and see if they would pick up the pace with me. When I took the lead and started to make a move, Chelsea was the only one to follow. For the next mile, we went back and forth taking the lead and were pretty much stride for stride leading into the final 400. I was pretty confident in my kick going into the race, but she (Chelsea) ended up getting a few steps on me.

You’ve had some very good races in New England recently, with a 5th place finish in the 5k championships last month and how a 2nd place showing in the 10k. How successful do you think the last few months have been for you?

The 5k Championships were a good start to my season after months of training, but the main focus was the 10k championships. I was very nervous going into the 5k and it was my first pro road race along with being one of my first races since the Olympic Trials in June, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The 5k helped to prepare me for the 10k because it settled my nerves and I was able to get to the starting line with less nerves and more excitement for the race. The 10k was a solid way to end my season and I was able to bring all the training over the past few months together and have a good showing in Boston.

This was a nice way to close out the season for you. Have you thought much about what you want to do next after a little bit of rest?

I haven’t thought much about what I want to do on my break, as I am mostly just looking forward to having a break. I have been back in Tucson since Boston and enjoying time with family and friends. I am more of a home body, so when I have my breaks I don’t really like to travel, but would rather enjoy being lazy and hanging out with friends who are still living in Tucson.

How long have you been training with Alberto Salazar and what differences are you seeing in your races (both in the way you feel and the results)?

I have been training with Alberto since the end of June after the Olympic Trials ended. The biggest differences I have noticed has been in workouts. I have not raced a lot since the end of the Trials, so most of my confidence has come from the workouts we have done and the speed that I have been working on. When I hit some of my key workouts leading up to a race, not only does that give me confidence going into a race, but it’s also proof on paper about where my fitness level is at.

What did you take away from your Trials experience? Was there disappointment in not making the team? Or was it more a feeling of confidence knowing that you could place high in a field that competitive? Either way, I imagine it has to be quite a motivational force for you.

Experience, is exactly what I took away. I did not have any expectations going into the race, but I knew if I ran my own paces and put myself in the race from the beginning that I would have a good result. The paces my coach (at the time, Scott Guerrero) and I had talked about would give me a PR and we knew that running as close as possible to 32:00 flat would put me in a good finish position. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t make the team, but finishing 6th in the 10k made me realize that I can run with anyone in the US.

To see more of Tara (and the rest of our US 10k Championships coverage) click here. Thanks again to Tara for spending a few minutes On The Level. We hope she enjoys her break and comes out of it rested and ready to roll.

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