Tag: Ben True

Big Weekend For New England

Lots happened this weekend, so let’s get right to it.

Gate River Run 15k

Served as the US 15k Road Championships. New England natives Shalane Flanagan and Ben True both stood atop the podium when the dust settled. Shalane set a new American record in the process. Just so happened to be working with her father Steve that day, and  I got the news from him first hand has he busted through the doors that morning proclaimed the news. It took forever for the official results to get posted so the makeshift sign isn’t exactly accurate, but it’s close. We think 47:03 will stand for some time.

Also Katie Dicamillo ran a 50:36 and finished 6th, and the BAA women’s team took second (led by Heather Cappello in 50:55).

For the men, Ben True ran a blazing 43:03 for the win, while fellow New Englanders Tim Ritchie (3rd, 43:24) and Chris Barnicle (6th, 44:26) also ran strong races and scored some series points. Ritchie’s BAA team also place second, as Ritchie was backed by strong races from fellow Unicorns Brian Harvey (24th, 46:17) and Sam Alexander (28th, 46:26).

NCAA Indoor Championships

The big story around here of course is Abbey D’Agostino. Abbey became the first woman to repeat the 3k/5k double, running 9:14.47 for 3k and 16:20.39 for 5k. Hope to have some more on this.

New Bedford Half Marathon

Ruben Sança and Kim Smith took the titles. LOTS to come on this one.

Coffee Talk With JJ

Here’s the full interview with Jim Johnson after the Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble on Sunday. It was an interesting conversation, going beyond the race of the day and examining the possibilities of some of the area’s elite strapping on the snowshoes. Of course it led to an open call for Ben True and Sam Chelanga to put the shoes on and mix it up with the locals. Ben hails from Maine so it should be easy for him. On the other hand, Sam went on the level back in September and made it clear he wasn’t intimidated by the thought of experiencing his first ever New England winter. Well, Sam could prove it by jumping into one of these races. He could even do it discretely, maybe by registering as Sam C. Yeah, that would be clever.

Will we see Sam at Sidehiller? Wouldn’t be a bad spot for him to try it out. It’s a qualifier for the national championships, which will be in Vermont this year. We should be at Sidehiller. Nationals here we come. Hopefully.

2013: A Look Back, Pt II

Part II of a multi-part year end review by Jim Dandeneau


June saw the 53rd Mt. Washington Road Race dominated by 45 year old Laura Haefeli of Colorado. Laura won by an astounding 5:43. Connecticut’s Eric Blake, 34, won his 3rd title finally dipping under the magical 60:00 barrier (by 3 seconds). Craig Fram, 54 (and the 50-54 record holder), dominated the division yet again with a superlative 1:09:52 even though he was still well off his amazing division record 1:06:58. Jacqueline Gareau, 60, the 1980 Boston Marathon winner, destroyed the 60-64 course record by almost 8 minutes running 1:33:24.

On the track, Henry Wynne dipped under 1:50 at the New England high school championship and won the New Balance Outdoor national championship. New Canaan’s James Randon finished second in the 2 mile (8:52:56) and 4th in the mile. Westport ,CT star Hannah DiBalsi (only a freshman), finished 3rd in the 2 mile.

At the NCAA Div I Track and Field Championship in Eugene, OR Riley Masters, a Maine native running for Oklahoma and one of the favorites for the 1500 meter national title, got caught up with 120 meters to go, falling to the track finishing 11th. Abbey D’Agostino pulled away to win the women’s 5K with Emily Sisson of Providence College finishing 6th and teammate Laura Nagel 12th.

At the USATF national championship Molly Huddle finished 2nd in the 5K qualifying her for the IAAF World Track and Field championship in August. Ben True, after a pedestrian first 2 miles, took the pace and ran 3:55 for his last 4 circuits however was only able to finish a heartbreaking 4th in the men’s 5K. 2012 Olympian Donn Cabral finished 6th in the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase.

Kenya’s Stephen Sambu (28:08) and Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska (31:45) won the BAA 10K road race. Brighton’s Mark Reeder, 53, an age group sensation, ran a fantastic 34:48 in hot conditions.

Tim Ritchie (13:47) led 4 under the magical 14 minute barrier at the USATFNE 5K in Hollis, NH while Erica Jessman (15:30) reversed places with Olympian Steph Reilly (15:46) at the 3rd stop of the road race grand prix. Maria Servin, 50, a former Olympian from Mexico ran 17:31. Richard Larsen, 61, ran 17:07.


July saw Eric Blake win the insanely tough Loon Mountain race by 2 1/2 minutes with Hopkinton’s Christin Doneski, 42, dominating the female race winning by almost 4 minutes.

At the USA National Mountain Running Championship later that month in North Conway, Morgan Arritola, of Ketchum, ID, finished clear of Stevie Kremer, Crested Butte, CO and world class marathoner Magdalena Boulet, Oakland, CA, to claim the title. Doneski finished 12th with Kasie Enman, the 2011 world mountain running champion, right behind in 15th. On the men’s side, Joseph Gray, Renton, Wa, pulled away from Zack Ornelas and Max King to solidify his place among the nation’s best. Locally, Eric MacKnight finished a solid 11th.

Sam Alexander, Waterford, CT won the Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile road race by 7 seconds over collegian Brian Doyle while Irish Olympian, and former Providence College star Marie Davenport, 38, making a comeback, won the women’s race.

In Little Compton, RI, Amos Sang and Glarius Rop formerly of AIC took a shot at Dylan Wykes course record (22:38) coming up just short, running 22:47 and 22:49, 4:45 pace for the 4.8 mile race. Jessica Barton won the women’s division.

At the hot/humid Carver 5 mile USATF road race Tim Ritchie held off a very game Ruben Sança winning by 4 seconds in 23:59. Steph Reilly won the women’s race to increase her lead in the series while Sean Duncan (5th 24:30) started to take command in the men’s grand prix standings.

At the Yankee Homecoming 10 mile race, NINE men broke 51:00, something rarely seen these days in New England with Brian Harvey (50:17) finishing 5th being the top NE result. Heidi Westover (58:41) won the female division. Robert Cipriano, 53, ran 58:13. Pat Fullerton tuned up for his sub 4 road mile a week later winning the 5K in 15:21.

If you missed Part I, check it out here. As you can see, we were quite busy in 2013, and the clips thrown in here only represent a fraction of what we did. To see the rest, check out our YouTube channel. More to come on 2013.

2013: A Look Back

by Jim Dandeneau

Outstanding Performances

a partial list

2013 was quite a year, especially here in New England. We saw outstanding performances on the track, road, cross-country, mountains and trails….. One of the most memorable moments for myself occurred January 26 at the Terrier Classic. It had been announced that 2012 Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp would be running the mile and shooting for the American Record. After perfect pacing by his Nike Oregon Project training partner Dorian Ulrey, Rupp sailed home in 3:50.92…Not an American record but an amazing feat…..I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it so loud in there….

On same day, Abbey D’Agostino, running at the University of Washington Invitational showing of what was to come ran an outstanding 8:55.41 for 3000 meters….

Cain at the 2013 NB Indoor Games

In February, at the New Balance Indoor Games we saw 16 year old Mary Cain break the American Indoor 2 mile record in 9:38:68 and Henry Wynne of Staples, CT win the boys junior mile in 4:11.73 en route to an undefeated Indoor campaign.

March saw UMASS Amherst graduate Kevin Johnson run to a dominating victory at the New Bedford Half Marathon (1:06:04) following up his February win at the D.H. Jones 10 mile race. Bryant University cross-country and track & field coach won the women’s race as Steph Reilly pulled away in the last mile from Maine’s Erica Jesseman to win in 1:15:52. The Run Westfield downhill 5K proved a lightning fast course as the fastest ever 5K in New England was run by Kenya’s Simon Ndirangu in 13:16 with New Zealand’s Kim Smith running a blazing 14:48. Olympians Alistair Cragg (29:20) and Amy Hastings (33:31) won the 38th St. Patrick Road Race in Holyoke….And over at the World Cross-Country Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland Hanover, New Hampshire’s Ben True ran one of the greatest races ever by a New England athlete finishing an incredible 6th in the snow/icy conditions to lead team USA to a silver medal.

We also marveled at Dartmouth College’s Abbey D’Agostino’s distance double (3K and 5K) winning the NCAA Indoor Championships and Northeastern’s Eric Jenkins sensational apparent runner up finish in the 3000 meters only to be controversially disqualified. Jenkins ran a blazing 26.69 last 200 meters. April was a month no one will ever forget here in New England with the Boston bombings. As we continue to heal and move on from that horrific event, it’s important to not lose sight of the tremendous accomplishments from that weekend. In the BAA 5K Kim Smith ran a victorious 15:16 to begin her second straight distance medley (and 100K payday) while Ethiopian Dejen Grebremeskel held off a game Aaron Braun to win in 13:37 while in the mile New Zealand’s Nick Willis (4:03) and the United State’s Brenda Martinez (4:52) cruised to victory…..In the main event, Ethiopian Rita Jeptoo was tactically unmatched running 2:26:25 for her second BAA title and countryman Lelisa Desista too strong winning in 2:10:22 for his 5 second victory.

April 2103 closed out with Boston University’s Katie Matthews running the 5000 meters in 15:44 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Ca finishing just ahead of Amy Hastings while Ben True ran a lifetime best 13:14:44 in winning the men’s 5k from American steeplechase record holder Evan Jager. Eric Jenkins ran a 20 year old American best 13:18:57. In the 10k, Braintree, MA native Sean Quigley ran an outstanding 27:50.78 with Newton’s Chris Barnicle finishing in 28:56.28.

May saw the 3 (arguably) best female distance runners in New England competing in the 1st New Balance Twlight meet with Abbey D’Agostino winning the 800 meters, Molly Huddle winning the 3000 meters, and Kim Smith, the 5000 meters. Chris Zablocki’s 50 lb rock training comes in handy as he not only wins the Cox Marathon in Providence (2:28:32) but the Vermont City Marathon in 2:18:23 beating 4 time winner Matt Pelletier after a spectacular sub 5:00 minute last mile. Katie Moulton wins her debut in Providence (2:53:46) with Heidi Westover winning Vermont in 2:42:02 despite running 7 minute slower than her course record. Former Stanford star Louis Luchini won the Portland Sea Dog Mother’s Day race from Robert Gomez with Erica Jesseman taking the women’s title.

Outstanding Individual Performances

Sam Alexander running a little XC

Breakthrough Women’s Performance of the Year... Erica Jesseman Hartford Marathon 2:38:13

Men’s Breakthrough Performance of the Year… Pat Fullerton 3:58.8 High Street mile. This was another one of the most shocking moments of the year to me…I knew the guy had talent but did not realize he had THAT kind of ability…

I had considered many performances including Sam Alexander’s 9th place finish at National Club Cross Country and Tim Ritchie’s 4th place USATF National Half Marathon Championship 1:02:28. Speaking of Sam, that truly was a tremendous race.

Ben True ran 3000m in 7:36.59 in Rieti (ITA)on 08.09.2013 and 5000m in 13:11.59 in Heusden-Zolder (BEL) on 13.07.2013. Not to mention that he almost won Falmouth too.  His World Cross race was unreal……(.I love the way he races)….Peyton Jordan 5K was also awesome when he outkicked Evan Jager…

The most shocking to me was Northeastern (now Oregon) Eric Jenkins indoor NCAA 3K runner up finish…..(he was DQ’d…certainly controversially) but what guts he showed! Also, his outdoor 5000 at Peyton Jordan (13:18) was sick…

Master women Christen Doneski What a year she had! Road Hill…She does it all…

Men’s Master…Chris Magill…He ran a sollid mile…won New Bedford 1/2 Master Division, good cross-country season….

Coach of the year: Eric Blake Central Connecticut. His cross-country squad defeated 40 other teams to win its first ever New England Collegiate Cross Country Championship *I believe this more surprising than Providence College Women’s cross-country team winning the NCAA Division I Championship

More on the year that was to come. Too much to contain in one post. Feel free to pass along anything on runners or races that we might’ve missed.

.US champs

The .US National Road Racing Championships (results) were held back on November 17th in Alexandria, VA and several athletes with local ties did quite well there. A couple of them even did better than anybody had before. Ever.

Both Molly Huddle and Shalane Flanagan went under the 12k world record. Although Shalane was pushing the pace early it would be Molly who came out on top, running 37:49 compared to Shalane’s 37:57. It was a little confusing as to what record was broken and who held it, since some articles seemed to say American record, others that it was a world best. That led me to believe that Kastor held the world record, but she didn’t. Here is the nitty gritty:

Old world record: Lineth Chepkurui 38:10
Old American record: Deena Kastor 38:24

There’s a good piece over at Competitor (by David Monti) that explains it and summarizes the race.

The triple points earned in this race were enough to propel both Molly and Shalane past Mattie Suver, who had a strong grip on the top spot, for the season standings. was named the USATF athlete of the week. Huddle and Flanagan finished 1-2 with 60 and 51 points, respectively, while Suver dropped to third with 47 points. As if the week couldn’t get any better for Huddle, she was named the USATF Athlete of the Week.

A couple of other locals placed in the standings as well: Katie DiCamillo finished tied for 19th for the year with her 16 points, followed by Katie Matthews and Sheri Piers, who both scored 6 points and ended up tied for 39th place.

Speaking of Matthews, she did quite well at the 12k to wrap up the circuit. Katie finished 10th in 40:22 and was the youngest finisher in the top 20. Matthews responded to a couple of Level questions after the race:

Having debuted in the half not too long ago, did you have more confidence about your strength going into this 12k?

“I did have confidence regarding strength going in to the 12k after running the half marathon. The half marathon was so new for me though that I figured I would feel more comfortable in the 12k than I did in that half.”

How did things play out over the last couple of miles?

“In the last few miles the chase pack that I was with sort of strung out and I ended up being almost alone between the women, which made it tough. Dealing with being alone like that and still pushing when the race is at it’s hardest part is something that I need to work on. I think I lost track of my pace and let it slip a little more than I should have. Those miles are when I need to be picking up the pace and not slacking off!”

In the men’s race, it was Aaron Braun taking it in 34:27. Tim Ritchie continued to assert his presence at the front of these elite fields with another strong race, this time running 34:45 and finishing 6th. Tim went on the Level after and answered a couple of questions:

Not too much time between TCM and .US. For mere mortals that might not be enough time to recovery. Were you still feeling the marathon in your legs for this one?

“I had six weeks in between TCM and .US and had this 12k as the goal race all throughout the second half of the year. Therefore, the marathon was more of a step (granted a big step) along the way. That being the case, the approach to TCM was patient and controlled. In training, I was not going overboard so as to not be wiped out by the race, or unable to recover in time for the 12k, and in racing, I was relaxed and consistent throughout. Both of these were done consciously knowing that my season still had six weeks left. The course at TCM was favorable for recovery with minimal downhill and relative flat terrain for the first 20 miles. In the race I was able to run pretty even splits, negative splitting the second half. I think both the course layout and the whole ‘not-bonking’ thing really played well into the recovery. Had I gone into Twin Cities with the goal of winning or really tearing it up, I do not think I would have been able to bounce back as quickly. I took two weeks of light running after the marathon, followed by three weeks of normal mileage with a workout or two per week. In this last week, I rested up and cut things down to prep for the race on Sunday. I do not think I still had the marathon in my legs and I was ready on Sunday to give it my best.”

As you’ve said before, it usually comes down to one late move in these races. How were you able to respond this time?

“This race was controlled the whole way by eventual winner Aaron Braun. He took the pace early and kept inching it up the whole way. There was a big move at 5 miles or so which separated the top 4 from everyone else – I was in 5th at that point. As that group pulled away, I towed along another 5 runners or so until most of them passed me in the 11th kilometer. Finding myself in a disappointing 9th with 600m to go I knew I had to dig really deep. I began a lengthy kick which put me back up into 5th before finally being beaten out to take 6th in the last 30m. It was tough to see the top 4 and the win disappear at 8k and hindsight always makes you wonder if you could have stuck with it. At this point, I think that reflection is not going to get me anywhere, so all I can do is look forward. Though I wanted the podium, I was pleased with 6th, it was consistent with my performances all year on the USA Running Circuit. The year 2013 was the year of scoring points. I hope 2014 will be the year of winning races!”

If Tim’s answers don’t motivate you, then you might want to consider taking up another sport. I’m finding it hard to resist the urge to go out and do a tempo run right now. How can you not root for a guy like that?

Tim wasn’t the only member of Level Legion to run well that day. Pat Fullerton ran a 37:09 and finished in 19th place. Abdi Abdirahman finished in 23rd, so although Pat wasn’t up with the leaders he still got a scalp. It looks like Abdi had an off day, to say the least, but you still have to be in pretty good shape to get a guy like Abdi even when he’s not at his best.

For the year, Tim finished in 5th place with 47 points. Other notable guys with local ties: Ben True (11th), Chris Barnicle (39th), Pat Fullerton (43rd), Zach Hine (47th) and Brian Gagnon (54th). Overall it was Shadrock Biwott, with the help of the 12k triple points, coming in ahead of Matt Tegenkamp by a score of 88 to 69.


XC Linkfest 2013

USATF-NE XC Championships were at Franklin Park last weekend, wrapping up the cross country grand prix series for the year. Like the Mayor’s Cup, this was a big draw and got teams from a  little further away to come and toe the line (Dirigo RC from Maine, CPTC from NYC, to name a couple). The races themselves were already recapped by Jim Dandeneau earlier this week, but we wanted to share a few more things with you on the event:

As many of you know already, Krissy Kozlosky was out there getting some great shots of the action:

WMDP kozlosky NE 2
There’s also some great video, courtesy of the Adelphi University Panthers XC/Track:

To squeeze a little more cross country in, there was also a video on Ben True from World XC that FloTrack put up:

Watch more video of Saucony Strongest Moments on flotrack.org

Chelanga Right At Home in NH

Sam Chelanga looked pretty solid on Saturday as he cruised to a 23:54.3 8k in winning the Dartmouth Invitational. Sam did not count in the scoring though. Will Geoghegan (Dartmouth) was the top collegiate runner and crossed the line merely seconds behind Chelanga. Will led the Dartmouth boys to a second place showing with his 23:57.6. The top team on the day was Syracuse, but it was pretty close. The top fourteen runners (not counting Chelanga) all hailed from either Syracuse or Dartmouth. Syracuse placed their top six in the first nine and edged out Dartmouth by 10 points (24 to 34).

Sam moved out to the Hanover, NH area on August first, citing family as the reason for the move. The Chelanga’s knew they wanted to head back east, but where exactly was up in the air. Sam’s buddy Ben True helped persuade him to come train with Ben and Mark Coogan. For now it was just a geographical move. As of this interview, Sam was still a member of the Oregon Track Club. In the interview below, Sam opens up a little more about the race, the move, training and whether or not he’s ready for a New England winter:

True Leads US Men to Silver Medal

Ben True continues to rack up the accolades and pad his résumé in 2013. The newly crowned US 15k champion led the US men’s team to a stunning silver medal at the world cross country championships in Poland on Sunday. In what has been dubbed the ‘Miracle on Dirt’, Ben finished in sixth place and (along with Chris Derrick) earned the automatic ‘A’ standard for the 10,000m at the world championships. The USATF thought so highly of his race that Ben was named their Athlete of the Week.

Pics used for this action sequence are courtesy of Michael Scott. Looks ridiculously fun, doesn't it?

Pics used for this action sequence are courtesy of Michael Scott. Looks ridiculously fun, doesn’t it?

Once Ben got back to the states we were able to conduct a quick interview with him:

Was their a team wide strategy for Team USA? I saw a lap by lap listing of positions, and it looked like you guys methodically worked your way up the field as the race progressed.

After previewing the course, we all knew that it was a difficult course where going out conservatively would be beneficial in the end. We all thought that the tough conditions would favor us, so we were calm and confident. Chris Derrick and I were able to work together for most of the race, as we held onto the back of the lead group as it slowly whittled down to ten.

Was this the most challenging course you’ve ever run? What made it so? Was it the course itself, the conditions, or the combination of the two?

The course was definitely extremely difficult. Lack of straightaways, an interesting combination of thick mud, snow and ice, as well as running up and down a steep alpine skiing slope, made it a challenging course. Staying upright and on your feet was almost as important as running fast.

Having to deal with Lyme disease leading up to the Trials last year not only deprived you of a shot at Olympic spot, but also to show everyone your ‘A’ game and possibly becoming more of a household name. Even with the success you’ve experienced on the roads since then, do you think that you might’ve been flying under the radar still leading up to this race?

Yes, I definitely believe that. Most people view running success with results on the track (making teams, etc.) or winning marathons. Everything else sort of slips under the radar.

What did you guys do to celebrate?

The entire team and staff toasted champagne afterwards to celebrate the great racing by everyone.

What do you plan on doing with the silver medal? Are you the type to put it on display, tuck it away out of view, or make an insanely awesome belt buckle out of it?

Never heard of the belt buckle idea- I like it! Although, most likely it will be tucked away in a drawer somewhere. I’m not the type who displays them.

Will you be returning to Boston to defend your crown at the BAA 5k again?

Unfortunately I am not racing the BAA 5k this year. I’ll be heading out to California for a few track races instead.

Thanks to Michael Scott for the amazing pictures. Find more of his great work here on his Shutterfly page.

World XC

World XC Championships were held this morning in Poland. For those up early enough (and remembered) to catch it, it was a heck of a day for the USA. It also was on ridiculous course, according to Letsrun:

“The course consists of repeated 1,950-meter loops, but think of the overall shape as more of a narrow rectangle that the runners constantly snake through with very few straight portions or wide rounded turns. As the runners come back to the start there is a huge very steep hill off the rectangle, that the runners go up and down each time (there was a rope lift towing skiers to the top of an adjacent hill of the same height). From the bottom of the steep hill, it’s less than a quarter to the finish.”

Exciting, right? That does sound so much better than a road or track race.

The women ran first, and Neely Spence Gracey finished 13th overall and as the top American. As a unit, the American ladies placed an impressive fourth.

Neely at the 2012 CVS Downtown 5k (courtesy of Scott Mason)

Neely at the 2012 CVS Downtown 5k (courtesy of Scott Mason)

They set the bar high, but the men accepted that challenge and came through with a huge performance of their own. The US narrowly edged Kenya by two points to come in second overall. Ben True led the way with an incredible sixth place finish in the sloppy conditions.

Did you watch the race? What did you think?

Side note: the top finishers for the US have both been featured prominently on Level Renner. Coincidence? Not likely. The Level is the media equivalent of high altitude training…we’ll take you to the next level.

US 15k Championships: Another Title for True

True leads the way (far left) with Ritchie close behind. Courtesy of Davenport Photography.

True leads the way (far left) with Ritchie close behind. Courtesy of Davenport Photography.

Ah, we’re finally getting around to the weekend happenings. A big one was the US 15k Championships that took place down in Florida on Saturday (The Gate River Run). Ben True (Hanover, NH) came away with the win (43:38) after out kicking Bobby Curtis. Here is a good video interview with Ben from Runnerspace, and also an excerpt from his blog about the race:

The race, which winds its way through much of downtown Jacksonville is extremely flat, with the only hills coming from running over two bridges.  The first bridge is located just after the first mile and is a relatively gradual and short.  The second however, is a monster.  Located in the final mile of the race and spanning over a half mile in length, it truly is a wall.  The race is set in a “chase” format where the women’s field starts 6:35 minutes ahead of the men.  Whoever crosses the line first (male or female) wins the equalizer bonus of five-thousand dollars.  This chase format usually leads to faster times and a more spectator-friendly finish.  This year however, the men’s race went out relaxed.  Everyone, including myself, were waiting for the three-time defender, Mo Trafeh, to put in his signature early race surge.  When it didn’t happen, the field stayed relatively bunched together late into the race.  When the real racing began after the seven-mile marker, the field quickly dwindled down to five guys cresting over the final hill.  When the dust settled at the finish line, I was lucky enough to be able to come out ahead and win.  However, our early race tardiness extinguished all hopes of catching the lead women and the extra equalizer bonus, as three women were able to hold us off by mere seconds.

Ben responded to a few Level Renner questions as well:

It looks like it was another classic finish, between you and Bobby Curtis. Who made the first move? When did you drop the hammer?

The field stayed together for most of the race. Bobby made the first move to begin dwindling the field down from mile 7-8. Cresting the top of the hill (with roughly 1.5 k to go) there were only 5 runners. From there, Bobby and I slowly separated ourselves on the downhill, then it came down to the final straightaway with ~150m to go when I finally went by him for the win.

Is this your first race since the DNF in Houston?

This was my second race- I raced in the US xc Championships in St Louis at the beginning of February to qualify for the World XC Championship team.

What’s the focus of your training right now, and what race is next?

Focus is on the World XC Championships in Poland in two weeks.

It looks like True has came back strong from that bad experience (in miserable conditions) in Houston back in January. Ben wasn’t the only familiar name competing in Florida. Also in the men’s race was one Tim Ritchie (BAA), who finished 3rd last year. Tim finished 6th this year even though he ran faster than last year (44:01 compared to 44:40), so we asked him about how his race went:

“This field was definitely a bit deeper, with over thirty sub-29 10k runners in the race. Last year was also a very windy day, which led the pack to stay close together for a longer portion of the race.

Courtesy of Davenport Photography

Courtesy of Davenport Photography

It was a good run this year and I am happy with the result. Of course, it hurts to go backwards in the results, but I think that was the best I could have run. We were a strong pack through 10k, and the big move was made around 7.5m to separate the men from the boys. Just so happened I was a boy on Saturday…I fell to 9th or so and rebounded to 6th in the last mile. Great overall weekend. One of the best run events around (take note NE club runners, come on down next year!) All in all, a good step in the right direction for me. I am hoping 445s make the marathon pace I am looking for in Boston that much easier!”

Level Legion was also well represented in the women’s race, with Katie DiCamillo (7th, New Balance Boston), Chelsea Reilly (9th) and Heather Cappello (13th, BAA). It was a bit surprising to see Chelsea lining up for a longer road race so soon after capturing the indoor 3k crown, and maybe fatigue had something to do with her finishing in 9th. It might’ve been her debut at that distance, too.

The lead women, with Katie and Heather in the mix (center). Courtesy of Davenport Photography

The lead women, with Katie and Heather in the mix (center). Courtesy of Davenport Photography

Katie continued her impressive performances in big meets and this to say about it:

Courtesy of Davenport Photography

Courtesy of Davenport Photography

“Overall, I was delighted with the 7th place finish, especially with such a strong field of women. At the start, I went out with the first pack; I clung to the back of that pack so I could stay relaxed and comfortable with the pace. I didn’t want to push too hard early on, especially since we had a lot of racing to do. With the last 5k, I decided to push the pace. I started to feel pretty confident that I would be able to finish in the top 10.”

Heather hadn’t race since November and “was a little nervous going into a championship race with such a big gap in racing. One regret I have is not going with the lead pack when they picked up the pace around 5K . I was only 18 seconds behind 10th place and wonder if I did decide to go if I would have made the top 10. Overall it was a good race effort for me to start off the 2013 season with.”

We also have to give a shout out to Bobby Davenport of Davenport Photography. Bobby was down in Florida shooting the race and was nice enough to let us use his work. Check out his blog and keep an eye out for more from him in the future!

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