Tag: On Location

Level Franchise in Kentucky?

I run into mini-bouts of insomnia from time to time. Okay, maybe not full blown insomnia, but the sleep is hard to come by. Combine that with my healthy love of the movie (and book) Fight Club, and it makes my imagination run wild. I’d be lying if I wasn’t secretly hoping to find other Level Renner cells set up when I got to Kentucky to cover the club cross country nationals. “Have I been here before?” I’d ask. They’d reply with, “is this a test, sir?” Yes!

I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

Okay, I’ll ease up on the Fight Club references in the off chance that there are any non-Fight Club fans out there reading this. Assuming Tyler Durden hasn’t been making trips to KY and setting up shop, I’ll be out there (solo) taking care of business. That doesn’t mean I’ll be alone. As you can see from this list here, there are plenty of local teams and runners that’ll be out there. In fact the number is much greater than I initially thought as I was reminded that a couple more of the Greats will be out there: Greater Lowell Road Runners (aka the Angry Chickens) and the  Greater Springfield Harriers.

While everyone is going out there focused and determined, we’re only human and naturally some fun will be had after the race. As one anonymous Wolfpack member so eloquently put it:

“Please make the Level piece something that tells the tale from the start line, to the finish, and far beyond. I’d say some Saturday night video interviews would prove useful for future referencing while painting the true picture of what taking part in Nationals is all about. After all, aren’t we all just Galen Rupps who drank in college?

Side note: since I offered the Saturday video idea I would appreciate no videos be captured of my night, but if KY is anything like Charlotte I’d imagine some Facebook defense will be required on my part come December 9th.

This should be a good one.

Oh, and the nightlife after Nats is the only time when not respecting the process is actually respecting the process. The meaning inverses somewhere between 8k and 10k depending on how your race is going…

In the meantime; respect the process.”

– #AnonymousOnTheLevel

You can’t see it, but a single tear just rolled down my cheek. That…was…beautiful. He (or she?) couldn’t have said it any better. An epic post-race gathering could get more people thinking about getting involved in cross and making the trip to Nationals. How could it not? We might not be able to totally transplant the Whip City vibe all the way out there, but I’m sure there are suitable alternatives.

Now, to the ugly side of the business. Every year hundreds of journalists freeze or starve to death while covering club nationals. Please don’t let EJN become another statistic. For about the cost of an airline ticket, a hotel room and a couple of reasonably priced meals, you could adopt a struggling “journalist” and provide him with an airline ticket, a hotel room and a couple of reasonably priced meals. If your business steps up, you’ll get credit on all posts we do for this event (even throw in some status updates and tweets). To sweeten the pot, it also comes with an ad in the next issue of Level Renner.

See Y’all in Kentucky

We’re going. That’s it. Plane tickets have been purchased. Level Renner can not be contained, can not be stopped. We will be at cross country club nationals in spectacular Lexington, KY on December 8th, covering the runners of clubs such as Greater Boston Track Club, Western Mass Distance Project, Boston Athletic Association, Dirigo RC, New Balance Boston, and possibly even Central Park Track Club.

It was just too great of an opportunity to pass up. Who wouldn’t want to go to Kentucky…in December…and freeze? Sounds bleepin’ glamorous to me! Our razor thin budget doesn’t really allow for things like airfare, hotel rooms and food. To make up for that, I will be jammed into a large dog crate and stowed away with all the checked bags on the flight. For food, I’ll consume nothing but packets of oatmeal and raman noodle. As far as sleeping goes, well, let’s just say that sleeping in a bed on the road would be akin to selling out. No, no, no, that just won’t do. We need to adhere to our punk rock style, which means most likely I’ll end up sleeping on the floor of someone’s hotel room. Rock ‘n’ roll!

Start of XC NE’s (Men’s Open), courtesy of Joe Navas

Expect a lot of updates on this, including posting and tweeting from the road whenever possible. The coverage should be epic. There needs to be a plank-off happening at some point during this trip (chugging optional?). If there’s wifi in the hotel, maybe we can do a live feed via some sort of internet wizardry? Who knows? The Kentucky sky’s the limit.

Attention any businesses, stores or people who look and act like the monopoly man, this is your chance to be part of it all: we are looking for someone to sponsor all of this. The race is Saturday, December 8th in Lexington, Kentucky. The sooner we can reach an agreement, the sooner that your business can name can start getting plugged. Even this one could’ve been sporting somebody’s logo. Yup. Just think of all those viewers that could’ve been alerted to the sale at Wilson’s Widgets at the same time that they learned of the Level’s trip. To sweeten the pot, whoever sponsors this will also get a complimentary ad in the next issue of Level Renner. We’re surprisingly affordable, contact us to talk details.

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].

Cape Cod Marathon: Video Sneak Peek

Since time is tight and the Frankenstorm of the Century may destroy the internet forever tomorrow, we had to release a sampling of our Cape Cod Marathon video coverage. This one’s all Jesse Regnier:

That’s how you close out a race! More to come, keep checking back here.

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].

1st WMDP XC Festival a Success

Some of the area’s best runners ventured out to Westfield, MA on Saturday to line up for the First Annual Western Mass Distance Project XC Festival. Those who made the trek out west were rewarded with a fast course, good competition, spectacular fall weather and one heck of an after-party.

The New England championships will be held on this very same course (Stanley Park) on November 18th, so this made for a great chance to preview it before the big day.

Amidst the sounds of Zeppelin and Rage, Brian Harvey (BAA) sat back in the early stages as the race looped the fields a couple of times for the men’s 8k. He turned it on when it mattered and emerged from the woods with a comfortable lead (winning in 24:49). The women’s 5k race was a bit more dramatic as Kyle Linn Feldman used a late surge to out-kick Erin Dromgoole (NBB) and break the tape in 17:32.

The BAA swept the team awards, placing four in the top five and seven in the top thirteen to easily take the men’s team title and then placed all five scorers between fourth and eleventh to take a much closer women’s race. [See full results here.]

Brian Harvey spoke to Level Renner after his win:

Is it just me, or is the banner in the background spectacular? We also caught up with women’s champ Kyle Linn Feldman:

As some of you may recall, there was some smack talk between Eric Ashe and Sean Duncan on the Level Renner Facebook page.  It’s all in good fun and only serves to (hopefully) generate some more interest in the event, along with provide some extra motivation to the competitors. Both were two weeks removed from lightening fast races over longer distances, with Eric running a 67:29 at the BAA Half and Sean a 2:24:59 at the Chicago Marathon. We got both of them on camera after the race to talk a little about their rivalry:

We like to throw some fuel on the fire where we can. Duncan, we need to get footage of you out-kicking Ashe to make a game out of this! Speaking of rivalries and competition, the boys (and girls) in blue have really burst onto the scene in 2012. Not only are they making races more competitive with their deep, talented team but they’re also making things more fun. This was the first event that they have hosted and it also marked Jason Ayr’s first crack at directing a race. Duncan got back on camera, joined by Ayr and Kevin Johnson, to talk about their team, the event and upcoming races:

All in all it was a successful event. The group was somewhat small, but that only seemed to heighten the sense of camaraderie in the air. After they battled fiercely out on the course, everybody came together for a big group picture and then, a little later, for some pizza and beers at Whip City Brew. Respect the process. Leave it all out on the course. And then, when the work is done, take a moment to celebrate with your fellow runners before starting up the process all over again.

We need to take this opportunity to give a few shout-outs. We were able to provide some prizes to the top finishers of this race thanks to some of our sponsors. Skechers kindly contributed a free pair of shoes to the top three male and female finishers, along with free water bottles to just about everybody there. The good people at Sigvaris pitched in with a pair of compression recovery socks to the female champion. The very lucky ones scored themselves a Level t-shirt. Thanks to Skechers, Sigvaris and, of course, to WMDP for putting on a great event.

Men’s XC: Dartmouth, Biwott Emerge New England Champions

By Paul Cina

Cross country teams of all divisions traveled to Stanley Park in Westfield, MA for the New England Championships last Sunday. While some consider the meet as just a mid-season invitational, others see it as a huge indicator of their team’s fitness before heading into the championship part of the season.

New England’s is traditionally held at Franklin Park in Boston, however due to renovations the race directors had to seek a new location. Stanley Park was the alternative. Two men’s races, consisting of varsity and sub-varsity, took place over the 8-kilometer course. The course is run with loops around flat grass fields, and a large “teardrop loop” on narrow dirt trails in the woods. There are only a few small hills over the last mile, as well as solid, compact dirt trails, resulting in very fast times.

The men’s varsity race got off to an exciting start as a mystery runner took control of the race from the gun. Spectators’ jaws dropped when they saw him gap the field only 600 meters into the race, leaving everyone to question, “Who is that?” His uniform read American International College, and many mistook him for Glarius Rop – the defending Division II Northeast Regional champion, and 3-time Division II cross country All American from AIC. However, this was not Glarius, but a 22 year old freshman named Michael Biwott from Kapsowar, Kenya.

Biwott dominated the race, extending his lead and cruising through the line in a time of 23:56.16, securing the victory by nearly 25 seconds over Boston University’s Rich Peters (24:21.04). Silas Talbot of Dartmouth took third (24:24.34), while Boston College claimed the fourth and fifth spots with Louis Serafini (24:30.31) and Jordan Hamm (24:30.53), respectively.

Dartmouth College took the team title with a total of 83 points, placing 3 harriers in the top 20, and all 7 in the top 50. Boston College was second (123 points), followed by Yale (142), Boston University (156), and Tufts (169) to round out the top 5 (full results here).

Twenty three runners were able to break the 25 minute barrier, and among them several set personal best times on the 8k course, namely freshman Wesley Gallagher from NortheasternGallagher was Northeastern’s top finisher with a time of 24:42.72 for 12th overall and awarded All-New England honors, and was the top freshman (other than 22 year old Biwott) in the race.

The men’s sub-varsity race also proved to be fast and competitive. Junior Ryan Laemel of Yale University was the top finisher in a time of 25:26.24. Senior James Glover, who was second overall (25:36.28), led Boston College to a first place team finish. Boston College put five of their runners in the top 12 and captured the victory with 34 points over Tufts University (47 points). The full results can be found here.


Tufts 10k

Chelsea Reilly addressing the crowd after her big win.

Jemutai with an insurmountable lead (courtesy of Brendan Kearney)

Hellen Jemutai rolled into Boston like a hurricane and came out of it with a lot new fans (along with some cash and hardware). On Sunday she came in third at the BAA Half with an impressive 1:13:35. As if that wasn’t enough, she laced ‘em up again on Monday and won the Tufts 10k for Women with 32:30. As awe-inspiring as that double was, it wasn’t the story on Monday.

Chelsea Reilly, running her first ever 10k, came away victorious. Her 32:41 paced her four seconds ahead of second place Tara Erdmann and, more importantly, gave her the 2012 US road 10k title.

Here’s some race footage:

Looking at the results makes her performance seem even more impressive.

32:41 5:16 Chelsea Reilly
32:45 5:17 Tara Erdmann
32:51 5:18 Emma Kertesz
32:51 5:18 Neely Spence
32:52 5:18 Jennifer Rhines
32:56 5:18 Stephanie Rothstein
33:00 5:19 Mattie Suver
33:05 5:20 Annie Bersagel
33:06 5:20 Brianne Nelson
33:12 5:21 Katie McGregor
33:27 5:23 Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz
33:36 5:25 Delilah Dicrescenzo
33:43 5:26 Kellyn Johnson
33:49 5:27 Mary Kate Champagne
33:49 5:27 Andrea Walkonen
33:50 5:27 Magdalena Boulet

Included in that list are women who have Olympic Trials experience and even a couple of Olympians. Chelsea didn’t even have 10k experience!

The top ten Americans were brought up on stage and introduced to the crowd and given their awards. Chelsea was given the chance to address the cheering spectators and had this to say:

Madgalena Lewy-Boulet continued on her road to recovery from a torn plantar fascia by winning her age group. Although it must have been disappointing to not finish in the top ten, the former Olympian could take solace in knowing that her pupil won the whole thing. That’s right, Magda coaches Chelsea Reilly. What better way to affirm your training plan than to have your athlete win a national title?

In the team competition (won by Adidas McMillan Elite), a few local clubs showed up in force and finished high up in the standings. The New Balance Boston ‘A’ team (led by Mary Kate Champagne), GBTC ‘Red’ (led Kyle Linn Feldman) and the BAA (led by Heather Cappello) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively. New England was well represented here, especially with teams like NBB and GBTC entering multiple squads.

Brielle Chabot was one of the top regional finishers (second on her BAA team) and had this say about her race:

The ladies owned the streets of Boston on Monday, and made good use of them. They put on an impressive show of speed and strength, especially by Jemutai and Reilly. With the race over, they’ll disperse and head home, some to gear up for cross country (Boulet), others to take time to rest up after a busy summer/fall (Erdmann). But it was fun having them converge right here in our backyard to put on a show. Who else is fired up to go for a run?

L-R: Tara Erdmann, Kellyn Johnson, Neely Spence, and Delilah Dicrescenzo.

Notes: As soon as this was written, formatted and set to be published, the site crashed and all was lost. Instead of rewriting, etc., I basically tried to recall exactly what I did to replicate it. That can be dangerous, so hopefully I didn’t leave out anything or make any horrible mistakes. Anyway, the PA system was so overwhelmingly loud by the elite staging area that it was nearly impossible to get an interview with our subpar equipment. By the time I ran into Brielle, things quieted down a little, but then the awards ceremony started. Soon after that, people scattered and that was it. For once I was in the right spot, but the conditions didn’t help at all.

Hocking, Chabot Victorious at Kerouac 5k

It was a big day for the BAA at the Jack Kerouac 5k in Lowell this past Sunday, as the unicorn was proudly displayed on the singlets of both the men’s and women’s champs. They even went 1-2 in the men’s race en route to winning the open team title. [See full results here.]

Speaking of the men, the pack charged out off the line but the eventual leaders and top finishers were just behind the initial front-runners. A common theme heard amongst some finishers afterwords was ‘I saw my first my split and knew I took it out too fast’. It came down to a pack of four that controlled the race once it got going: Sean Duncan, Dan Hocking, Nate Jenkins and Eric Ashe. Dan Hocking used a strong finish to secure the victory:

Right behind him was teammate Eric Ashe:

In the women’s race, Brielle Chabot started gaining separation just after the second mile and ended up winning with a comfy six second cushion. However, the unicorn was an endangered species in the women’s race and they didn’t score as a team. Whirlaway (led by Helen Dinan) and GBTC (led by Alison McCabe) runners were close behind her and they took first and second in the open team category, respectively.

For the masters, Joe Navas (Whirlaway) took the top spot with his 15:41 on an all-Joseph podium. Navas beat out Ekuom and Koech in a closely contested race. Christin Doneski (Whirlaway) won the women’s masters race with her 18:09. Joe wasn’t camera shy after his win:

More race day notes: Compared to last year’s 5k championship (Rhody 5k on June 5th, 2011), times were a little faster up front. In 2011, only one USATF-NE runner broke 15:00, while in Lowell four guys were comfortably under. Was it because of the more ideal weather in September or a deeper field? Perhaps a combination of both. Whirlaway was dominant across the board, with five first place teams and one third place finish. Their women’s teams were especially impressive in taking the open, masters and seniors crowns. On the men’s side, they took top honors in the masters and seniors races. The Whirlaway open men’s team only placed third, and there’s no word at this time on whether or not they will be shunned for that (go easy on ‘em Dave!).

The Western Mass Distance Project crew was out in force again, but not full force. They will have a crew out in Chicago racing the marathon this coming weekend, so some didn’t make the trek to Lowell while others raced but kept things in check. Be on the lookout for a nasty blue cloud heading out west. Good luck to them!

If you haven’t seen it already, you can find more race footage here. In the market for some race day pics? Check out: Ted Tyler and Krissy Kozlosky. One more GPS race to go for 2012, see you all on the Cape for the marathon!

New England Teams Make Statement

Unranked Dartmouth runs tough

By: Dan Gordon

With many of the best teams in Division I in attendance, the 39th annual Paul Short Invitational kicked off the unofficial start to the collegiate XC season this weekend, as 37 teams brought their “A” squads out for the first time.

In the men’s Gold race, many anticipated a close race coupled with fast times. Comprised almost entirely of long stretches of freshly mowed grass, the course does have the ability to be run lightning fast, a fact proven 3 years ago by UNC’s Ryan Hill (23:40 in 2009).

Much to everyone’s chagrin, anyone expecting lighting just needed to look up, as torrential downpours soaked the course hours before the gun went off, turning the long rolling hills into 400 meter slip & slides.

Running with the likes of nationally ranked teams such as Villanova, Georgetown, and Princeton, the best teams New England had to offer made the trek down to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to show they too could hang with the big boys.

Unranked Dartmouth turned in what many consider the surprise of the day.

Not content with seeing their female counterpart (Abby D’Agostino) have all the glory, the Dartmouth men’s cross country team turned some heads by scoring 175 points and finishing fourth in an extremely deep field of 37 teams. Villanova (#22 in D1) took the team title, scoring a ridiculous 69 points, and placing three runners in the top 10. [Note: See full results for the men’s gold race here.]

Former New England mile champ Will Geoghegan led the way for the Big Green, placing fifth overall with a 24:15. Joining Geoghegan were teammates (and former Massachusetts H.S. standouts) John Bleday and John Gault, who finished 23rd and 30th, respectively. Cornell Senior Nick Wade, another Massachusetts product, had a fantastic day for the Big Red, securing a 15th place finish and proving that middle distance runners can in fact, run cross country.

Also in the top 30 was UMass Lowell’s Jeff Veiga, who finished 19th after hammering the first mile, a move that put him in third place, a step behind Bleday and Geoghegan. Two years removed from a third place finish at the NCAA D2 Cross County Championships, Veiga looks to be in fantastic shape after red shirting last year with an injury.

Top 15 team finishes were also captured by Providence College, who was 5th (194), Yale University 7th (255), Harvard 13th (421), Brown 14th (454), and Boston University 15th (497).

To read about the women’s race, check out D’Agostino Shines at Paul Short by Paul Cina.

D’Agostino Shines at Paul Short

By Paul Cina

Several New England teams traveled down to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday for what’s considered the opening weekend for many of the top cross country programs around the country.

Over the past few years the Paul Short Invitational has developed a reputation for two things: loaded fields and rain. For the third straight year the seemingly flat, “fast” course turned into something more of a sloppy pigpen with muddy fields, slick sharp turns, and large deep puddles.

Headlining the women’s gold race was Abbey D’Agostino from Dartmouth College who last year finished third at the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships, won the outdoor NCAA 5k, and finished fifth in the Olympic Trials 5k.

D’Agostino showed why she’s the favorite for this year’s national XC title by winning the 6k course comfortably in 19:58, well ahead of second place finisher Katie Kellner of Cornell University. Note: see full results here.

By the time the women’s gold race was run the course was already chewed up from the numerous races prior, which may have been the reason for the considerably slow first mile of 5:34. However, the pedestrian start would eventually pick up as the leaders began to take off as they approached the second mile.

“I just tried to grind it out starting at ‘3k-ish’ and that’s where it started to break up,” said D’Agostino.

With a little more than a mile to go, there was still a large group of about 10-15 women in the lead pack. Over the last mile however, Abbey D dropped the hammer closing in a 4:50 and putting a 24 second gap on the field, and securing a comfortable win.

One mile to go (women appear at :18):

Dartmouth College would stand as the top New England team in the race with a 5th place finish (out of 40 teams) with 149 points. Cornell University took the overall victory, having three women finish in the top 10, with 55 points.

Finish line footage:

Top 10 team finishes were also captured by Providence College who was 6th (167), Brown University 8th (196), and University of New Hampshire 9th (331).

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