Tag: New Bedford Half Marathon

Prescott Runs Streak to 100

Sarah Prescott of the Whirlaway Racing Team ran the New Bedford Half Marathon on Saturday. For Sarah it was her 100th consecutive USATF-NE Grand Prix road race, a streak that has taken her 14 years to accomplish.

Stepping in to help interview her is Whirlaway teammate Nick Karwoski.

Karwoski Runs 1:06 at New Bedford

Nick Karwoski of the Whirlaway Racing Team ran a solid half marathon debut in New Bedford on Sunday. The New Bedford Half Marathon was the second race in the USATF-NE Grand Prix for 2014. Nick’s 1:06:09 was good for second place, behind teammate (and Olympian) Ruben Sança.

Interview by Jim Dandeneau, with some additional footage courtesy of Mike Giberti. Be sure to check out Scott Mason Photo for pics from the race (including the main page feature shot of this one).


By Jim Dandeneau

Mason sanca karwoski new bedford

Ruben & Nick work together through the wind in New Bedford, courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

History does repeat itself. 2011 New Bedford Half Marathon champions, Ruben Sança, Lowell, and Kim Smith, a New Zealand native and long time Providence, RI resident, dominated the 37th running of the New Bedford Half Marathon on a cold and breezy morning. Sança, who is returning to his 2011 form, pulled away from Whirlaway teammate and occasional training partner Nick Karwoski after 8.5 miles, cruising to victory in 1:05:50, just 24 seconds off his time from 3 years ago. Smith, a 3-time Olympian and New Zealand national record holder in the 3K, 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon, utilized the race as a tempo effort, comfortably winning in 1:11:08.

Sança, 27, a 2012 Cape Verde Olympian in the 5000 meters, stated he felt “undertrained” leading into his prior race, the DH Jones 10 mile race in Amherst, MA and with the additional 3 weeks of preparation felt he made tremendous improvement. “I really like racing in New Bedford. While it’s only my second race here, I feel it is like running in Cape Verde with the large community there,” noted the University of Massachusetts-Lowell graduate who works full time at his alma mater as a business manager at Student Affairs who fits in workouts before and after work, usually totaling over 100 miles a week. “I’ve done some longer runs and longer tempo runs and been consistent…I’m only about 6 weeks into good solid training as opposed to 3 years ago where I had about 13 solid weeks. I really studied the course…I knew the first couple of miles and last few miles were going to be very windy” explained Sança who ran 30:08 (4:51/mile) in the 10K between 3.1 and 9.3 miles. “I’m going to speak with my coach” (UMass Lowell’s Gary Gardner) and decide upcoming training and perhaps an attack on the Olympic Marathon “B” standard of 2:18 as early as next month. “I’m really not sure, I have to do my homework,” cited the meticulous Sança.

Mason Smith New bedford

Smith was in a class by herself in New Bedford on Sunday, courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Smith, 32 a professional runner sponsored by New Balance, married 2009 New Bedford champion Pat Tarpy following the London Olympics, where she finished 15th in the marathon. A 4-time NCAA Division I NCAA champion while at Providence College, who is coached by legendary Friar guru Ray Treacy, is gearing up for next month’s London Marathon. In 2010, her initial 26.2 voyage in London, she ran 2:25:21. “I felt ok out there today, it was a bit breezier than when I ran here a few years ago. I had to do a tempo run and it’s easier to do with people, thus the reason for running….my coach wanted me to run between 1:11-1:12…” informed Smith who often meets up with professional runners Molly Huddle (who had a successful 1/2 marathon debut in New York City earlier the same day) and Amy Hastings.

Karwoski,  who recently moved to Brookline, was making his initial 13.1 jaunt, appeared satisfied with his performance. “I raced quite a bit indoors (4-3Ks and 2-5Ks) …I’ve worked out with Ruben enough where I know what kind of athlete he is,” noted the Dickinson College graduate. “The last 3 miles were pretty tough in the wind and up that hill. I’m going to Utah to do some skiing and then get ready for outdoors. I’ll do a few steeplechase races…hopefully Mt. Sac and perhaps Payton Jordan and see if I can qualify for USATF nationals in either the steeple and/or 5K.”

Dan Vassallo, 28,  who has shown tremendous consistency in New Bedford, finished 3rd  in 1:07:08 while Robert Gibson, 24, was 4th and pre-race favorite Eric Ashe, in the midst of a very heavy training block as he gears up for his Boston Marathon debut, finished 5th.

Andrea Walkonen, 27, a former Boston University All-American  ran a solid 1:13:12 (5:36 pace) to finish second while Hilary Dionne, 28, Cambridge, Ma, also gearing up for next month’s Boston Marathon, demolished her previous best in finishing in 1:14:52, was third. Erica Jesseman, 25, last year’s runner up and coming back from injury, was 4th while Katie Edwards, 31, was fifth.

In the men’s master’s division, Mike Galoob, 40, who appears to be everywhere, ran  1:10:44 to beat out last year’s runner up and fellow Rhode Islander Chris Magill, (who had raced the USA Masters Indoor national championship 2 days prior) by 31 seconds while in the women’s master’s division, new master runner Caroline Bjune of the BAA dominated the division running 1:25:10 over Whirlaway’s Christin Doneski.

The men’s team competition was won again by Western Mass Distance Project despite the absence of last year’s overall winner Kevin Johnson. Nicolai Naranjo, 25, ran a credible 1:07:59 for 6th overall while there was only a 23 second gap between their 2nd and 5th runners. On the women’s side, Dionne led the BAA women’s team to victory.

Also of note was Sarah Prescott  finishing her 100th consecutive grand prix race, quite an accomplishment. All seemed to go smoothly with tighter security in the Southeastern seaport.  In total, there were 2,846 finishers.

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.

New Bedford Quick Reax

Congratulations to Ruben Sanca (65:51) and Kim Smith (71:08) for winning the 2014 New Bedford Half Marathon. Mike Galoob (70:45), whose hot streak continues won the masters division along with Kim Aguir (79:12) on the women’s side. 50+ awards went to Spyros Barres (75:01) and Maria Servin (88:41).

The team competition broke down this way: Western Mass Distance Project edged out the Boston Athletic Association in the men’s open while BAA open women also placed second to an unnamed team of women featuring Andrea Walkonen, Jodie Conway, Jenna Krajewski, Christine Irish, and Molly Rouillard.  In masters competition the BAA edged out Whirlaway on the men’s side for the win, and the Whirlaway women won.

Full NBHM results here.

Below are a bunch of videos we took during the race. Don’t worry, though, much more extensive coverage is coming soon.







Olympic Athlete Joins New Bedford Field

Jim Dandeneau is proving to be the ultimate source! According to Jim, Kim Smith has decided to throw her hat into the ring in New Bedford this morning. The former PC standout (and Olympian) automatically becomes the favorite amongst the woman, and has some of the faster local men nervously looking over their shoulders.

Kim Smith ftr

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today as we’ll be getting live updates out as often as we can. We’ll be using Instagram for instant race video. Hopefully the cell service down there is up to task.

Another New Bedford Elite Drops

Kozlosky Carver Jenkins

Jenkins, in his pre-Bronchitis days. Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

I’m afraid we have something that tops the SI cover jinx: The Curse of the Jim Dandeneau New Bedford Favorites Preview. Another pre-race favorite has withdrawn due to illness. This time it’s Nate Jenkins. Come on! This one is also really disappointing because from Jim’s preview it sounded like Nate was ready to drop a serious time in the half.


The race will still be pretty competitive, but Nate’s presence will be missed up front. The important thing is, Nate hopefully learned not to eat any mystery cake that was sent to him by R. Sança the night before a big race. All kidding aside, we’re hoping for a speedy recovery for Nate.

Favorite Withdraws From New Bedford

An elite has dropped out of the New Bedford Half Marathon due to illness. Megan Hogan (Fleet Feet Albany) told Level Renner on Friday that she’ll be unable to compete due to a bout of food poisoning. In an exclusive communication with Level Renner, Hogan said, “I probably won’t be racing this weekend. I had food poisoning this week.” Barring a remarkable recovery, she won’t be on the starting line. We’ll pass along any updates and wish Megan a speedy recovery. Perhaps this makes 2012 champion Hilary Dionne the clear favorite now?  Or will somebody else emerge from the pack? Stay tuned to Level Renner’s Twitter feed during the race as we will be giving updates on both the women’s and men’s races.

Dionne just after Heartbreak Hill (courtesy of Joe Navas)

Dionne just after Heartbreak Hill (courtesy of Joe Navas)

As for the men, we know Eric Ashe is riding a hot streak but there are several others that we can’t count out: Ruben Sanca, Dan Vassallo, Nate Jenkins to name three. A source who wishes to remain anonymous told us, “Careful calling Ashe the favorite. Ruben is very motivated.” Our source went on to tell us that Sanca is studying New Bedford’s course profile like Peyton Manning studies his playbook. Let’s not forget that Sanca has won this race before. He ran 65:26 in 2011 and is yet to properly defend his title. Coming off knee surgery, Sanca could be looking to make a statement along with some of the other regional elites.

Ruben Sanca. Photo by Luke Maher.

Ruben Sanca. Photo by Luke Maher.

Prescott to Join the Century Club

As we turn our attention to this weekend’s big event, the New Bedford Half Marathon, we’d be remiss to overlook this story. Sarah Prescott will be running her 100th consecutive USATF-NE Grand Prix race. From an excellent piece that appeared in a USATF-NE blog post:

A runner since 1978, Sarah started entering Grand Prix races in 2000 when the club team she was a member of participated in the team competition. Motivated by seeing her name in the standings, she never looked back. Throughout this time, not only has she been a consistent name in our race standings, but she’s even found her way to the top of the results page many times too. She placed sixth last year in the series for the women’s 45-49 year old age group, and finished fourth the year prior. [click here for the full post]

Cape Cod Marathon Prescott
Here’s an interview we recently did with Sarah as she gets ready to cross the line for the 100th consecutive time:

Do you treat these races any differently than any other that you’ve signed up for? Have you run through injuries in these races to keep the streak alive that otherwise would’ve kept you from running other races?

I’ve needed to remember that life ebbs and flows and it’s fine to have different goals for different years and different stages in your life. There are PR races and there are slower races. There are races where you are helping a friend with their goal or simply training towards another upcoming race. It’s about accepting that races can be for various reasons depending on our life situation and cherishing the gift of just being out there running and being part of the running community. I love the camaraderie. Relative to injuries, my friend, Kara Haas says: “Injuries are as much a part of running as the training is – it’s what keeps us hungry and appreciative.” We’re all familiar with them and yes, a few times I’ve run through injuries to keep the streak alive. Fortunately, nothing too serious!

How have you been able to avoid scheduling issues with work, family, etc. that seem pop up at least once a decade for most runners?

At least once a decade… you make me laugh, Eric! Some races landed on Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, but I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who’ve mostly not been too hard on me for dashing to an event right after a race. Last year, I also remember changing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court parking garage after work, heading to Hollis 5K.

Has there been a point where you thought ‘okay, I might be crazy for running though this…’?

Yes, a number of times! But being a runner means we’re pretty crazy to start with!! At one New Bedfordhalf marathon I had a shin tendon issue and Coach Braz and I talked for weeks whether I’d be able to do it. He correctly predicted that if I decided to run the race, I’d need to take off about 6 weeks afterwards to let it heal… he was totally correct. My inflamed shin ballooned the next day and I needed 6 weeks.

Has hitting 100 straight been a goal for you? If so, what would the new goal be?

Yes, for the past few years, reaching for 100 has kept me pushing through. I think it was my Whirlaway teammate, Reno Stirrat, who brought it to my attention that 100 might be reachable. At the time, I was not sure whether I’d be able to pull it off.  Being quite undertrained at this moment, I’m still just hoping to be able to get through 100… so one goal at a time.

You’ve clearly conquered the road GP world and need a new challenge. Why not start a streak for consecutive Mountain Goat years?

Eric, I know you’ve done some USATF NE Mountain Series races, so you can appreciate their uniqueness and substantial challenge. I never say “never”, but part of me wants to say, “Eric, are you trying to kill me!?!

I think you need to run 200 consecutive races for them to name the Iron Runner jackets after you. Are you going for it?

Eric, you never fail to make me laugh, I love your sense of humor!!! Ok, you seriously must be trying to kill me !! 200?!?!

What other running streaks do you have going on?

Eric, that’s a great question. Come to think of it, I guess I’ve strung together things like 12 NewBedford Half marathons. Perhaps I should actively keep track of something like that, huh?

How will you celebrate the achievement?

A sigh of gratitude for this journey… thanks so much to you and my awesome running friends, coaches, teammates, family and co-workers who are always there with encouragement, support, commiseration, advice, fun and keeping me going!!! Without all of you, I’d never have made it through one USATF-NE GP season, to say nothing of 14+ consecutive seasons. I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of you!!!

Good luck to Sarah this weekend in New Bedford!

Ashe, Hogan are the Favorites in New Bedford

By Jim Dandeneau

Ashe Kerouac Kozlosky

Eric finishing up at the 2012 Kerouac 5k, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Eric Ashe, a Brighton resident, and Megan Hogan, Ballston Spa, NY, appear to be the favorites heading into the 37th running of the New Bedford Half Marathon set for Sunday March 16th at 11:00am. Ashe, 25, a 2010 Boston University graduate, who hails from Hanson, MA, is a member of the powerful men’s Boston Athletic Association team. On January 17, Ashe ran a spectacular 1:05:01 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, arriving an agonizing 1 second from automatic selection into the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.  On February 23, he followed up with a stellar 50:43 performance at the hilly DH Jones 10 mile race.  Ashe, an assistant men’s track and field coach at his alma mater, who also works part-time at a running store, recently returned from an altitude stint in Montana. “It was a skiing vacation… a once in a lifetime opportunity….It was at 7000 feet and I was able to get in 7-10 miles a day running and my heart rate up to about 170,” stated the reigning USATF New England Cross-Country champion, who normally logs 90-100 miles a week, often with BAA teammates. “This is my first New Bedford 1/2 marathon, I hope to challenge for the win” added Ashe who is presently training for the Boston Marathon, his second marathon. He was victorious in his initial 26.2 trek, claiming the 2012 Cape Cod race.  “I’m not dwelling on Houston, I’ll have other opportunities,” noted Ashe.

Hogan, 26, a 2011 George Washington University graduate, quickly regained fitness after leaving Team USA Minnesota, a professional running club, and taking some forced time off due to injury to jump start her career as an interior designer.  “ I got a stress fracture before I left Minnesota  which prompted me to move on from running and pursue a career in the field I studied in college, which is Interior Design. I was offered a great position at an Architecture Firm in my home town almost immediately after I started my search.  I took a break from running, which I thought would be permanent, but after awhile I started to miss it and I slowly threw some runs in here and there….. About a year ago, Renee Tolan (one of my current teammates) approached me about joining Fleet Feet (racing team). At first, the thought of being on a team again was extremely unappealing and I told her I just I wanted to run for fun. She explained to me that the team would just be for fun, no pressure, and she asked me to think about it for a week. Long story short, she is very convincing, and I joined the team. It was the best decision I have made since I moved back to the area. My teammates have become some of my best friends and I have enjoyed every part of it.” On 09/15/2013, Hogan, who ran her debut at the distance at the Saratoga Palio half marathon in 1:16:35, followed that effort up with in 1:13:18 run at the Hartford half marathon in October.  Hogan, who did not even begin running until her sophomore year at Mt Ida College (Newton, Ma) where she was playing basketball, eventually joined the cross-country team prior to transferring to GWU, becoming a 2-time cross country All-American. At DH Jones, she broke a 30 year old course record in running 55:28.

Top contenders on the men’s side include 2011 New Bedford Half Marathon winner Ruben Sanca, 27, a 2012 Cape Verde Olympian in the 5000 meters and Nate Jenkins, the 2012 runner up.  Sanca, a University of Massachusetts Lowell graduate, has returned to fine form after knee surgery last year.  “I’m finally healthy and training is coming along…I’ve learned I need constant maintenance and I visit a chiropractor 2 times a week for active release therapy…I know the New Bedford course having run there in 2011 and believe I can compete to win.”

Jenkins, 33, a 2:14 marathoner and 7th place finisher at the 2008 United States Olympic marathon trials stated, “ I don’t really know what to expect. Looking at some of the work I’ve done and if the conditions are good…I think a 1:04 (finishing time) may be in the cards. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked if the wind is bad and I’m not quite as fit as I’m thinking and I go out and run 1:06…All that said, if the weather conditions are good, I would not be disappointed to at least run in the 1:05’s.”

On the women’s side, 2012 champion, Hilary Dionne, 28, returns after missing last year’s event due to being in Washington, D.C. for a friend’s wedding. “I raced the Rock n Roll USA Half-Marathon in the morning before the wedding. I placed first among the women in 1:16:12, my current half marathon personal record”, noted the Cambridge resident and Dartmouth College graduate who is also prepping for the Boston marathon. .  “I’m expecting to shed some time off of this after a strong training season. But, of course, it also depends on the competition and how the race plays out. “

Defending champions Kevin Johnson and Stephanie Reilly will not return. Johnson has been hampered by injuries during the last year and with increased responsibilities as a PH.D candidate at Dartmouth College. Reilly, a 2012 Olympian from Ireland, acknowledged she is simply not fit enough yet to compete. Top local athletes vying for the $250. cash prize for first New Bedford resident include, on the women’s side, Patricia Carreiro, 35, who ran 1:30:29 last year. She has claimed the top New Bedford resident the last 3 years. Among the men, Mark Amaral and Nathen Brito lead the pack.

In the men’s master’s division, Kevin Collins, 43, Liverpool, NY,  who ran  1:09:23 last year to claim men’s master’s title, will return.  Top challengers  include Mike Galoob, 40, Peacedale, RI and last year’s second place finisher, Chris Magill, 41, Cumberland, RI.  On the women’s side, Sheri Piers, who ran 1:20:42 last year, will not return. Mimi Fallon (Walpole, MA), Christin Doneski (Hopkinton, MA) and Cheryl Cleary (Rutland, MA) will likely lead the women’s master’s division.

The New Bedford Half Marathon, the second leg of the competitive New England Grand Prix series, has a prize purse of $9,900 which includes $1,000 to the first male/female across the finish line and $500 to the first place male/female open teams consisting of five members. Last year, on the men’s side, the Western Mass Distance Project, led by Kevin Johnson, upset the Boston Athletic Association, while in the women’s division,  Dirigo Racing Club from Maine edged out Team Run.

BAA claimed both prizes. A course record bonus $2,000 will be paid to the male or female who can run under 1:01:58 (set by Great Britain’s Geoff Smith in 1985) or 1:08:32 (set by Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989).

Once again, there will also be plenty of blue courtesy of Team Owen. For the fourth year in a row, up to 200 local athletes will be donning the blue-and-white shirt in memory of Owen Simmons, raising money for the SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. Since 2011, over $75,000 has been raised for this charity.  Visit http://www.firstgiving.com/gsf/2014-team-owen-NB-Half to learn more.

Organized since 2010 by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick under Dan McCarthy’s direction, the New Bedford Half Marathon has seen an increase in participation. In 2013, there were 3120 finishers. A new kid’s day event this year will take placeMarch 15 which includes hula hoop contests, exercise stations, face painting and much more   Registration is open thruMarch 15.  Visit www.newbedfordhalfmarathon.com for more information.

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