Tag: Race Preview

A Couple of Coaches in the Spotlight at Falmouth

The elite miles at the Falmouth Road Race are an excellent excuse to get into town a little early and check out some exciting race action. It’s even an opportune time to rub elbows with some of the sport’s elite. It’s where we scored our Chris Solinsky interview a couple of years ago. We’ll have some people down there again this year, with Jim Dandeneau and Joe Navas both cranking out the quality. As we count down to the men’s mile race, Jim Dandeneau breaks down the field for tomorrow tonight’s race:

  • Ben True.  After running 27:49 at Beach to Beacon 10K two weeks ago,  he turns his attention back to the track in Falmouth in advance of chasing the 13:00 minute barrier for 5000 meters over in Europe (Zurich 08/28/2014 + Brussels09/05/2014). This competitive mile in Falmouth will be a great test and tune up in his quest to become just the 6thAmerican to do conquer the feat.
  • Sam Chelanga. The 2 time former NCAA Cross-Country champion and collegiate record holder in the 10K (and training partner of Ben True) steps down in distance to compete in his first ever mile race on the track. It will be very interesting to see how he hangs in there with some of the best milers in the United States.
  • Will Leer. The outspoken bearded one is having the best outdoor season of his career having recently won the Morton Games mile in 3:51.72. This former Division III star will certainly be a force to be reckoned with and is probably the favorite for this event.
  • Donn Cabral.  This Connecticut native, a Princeton alum and steeplechase specialist, appears to have gotten back close to his 2012 Olympic form.  As a new member of the NJ NY Track Club and presently training under the direction of Frank Gagliano (“Gags”) he will be chasing his 3:56.41 PR.
  • Kyle Merber. The 23 year old Columbia alum appears in great shape following his 3:55:08 finish last weekend at the Running Institute Ron Warhurst mile in Michigan, just off his 3:54.76 lifetime best.  Merber, who recently signed a with Hoka One One and is also training under the tutelage of Gags. The American collegiate record holder in the 1500(3:35.59) seems prime for a top finish.
  • Garrett Heath. For some reason this Stanford alum always seems to fly under the radar despite a 3:34.12 1500 best. In January, at a cross country race in Scotland, he pulled off a shocking upset, defeating Olympic gold medalists Kenenisa Bekele and Asbel Kiprop.   Last weekend, Heath finished ahead of Merber,  running 3:53.61 narrowly missing defeating Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis.
  • Jordan McNamara.  One of the most consistent performers in the 1500/mile event over the last few years and owner of the Falmouth meet record as the 2011 winner (3:54.89) he is returning from an injury suffered earlier in the year however, as always, expect him to be in the mix over the last 300 meters.
  • David Torrence. The 28 year old California native with a 3:52.01 lifetime mile best has amazing range, having run 1:45.14 for 800 meters and 13:16 for 5000 meters. The American indoor record holder at 1000 meters, (2:16.76) don’t be shocked to see him breaking the tape.


Not only does Sam Chelanga train with Ben True but the two coach each other. It’ll be interesting to see who beats their coach tonight. The loser can always say ‘yeah, I coached him to that win‘. Can’t wait for this battle!

Mount Washington Road Race Preview

By Paul Kirsch

There was a time when you knew if certain runners showed up at Mount Washington, that the battle on the mountain would be for second or third place because the winner was a given.  This year’s race is as far away from that as one could possibly imagine with a men’s and women’s field that is going to leave us all waiting until late morning on June 21st to know who the winners will be.

Every year, Dave Dunham makes his prediction list of who he thinks has the odds of winning the race.  This article won’t attempt to make any similar predictions. We’ll leave that to Dave. 

On to the preview…

The Men

Kirsch Dogs Mt Washington IILast year Eric Blake reminded us what patience, perseverance, and hard work can do for you as a runner.  After a hamstring injury in 2011 that left him with months of rehabilitation, Blake came back in 2012 and had a strong showing at Mt. Washington with his 3rd place finish.  He wasn’t back 100% but just being back in the field and making another US Mountain Running Team (his 6th Team) was quite the accomplishment.  But then, in 2013 he was back firing on all cylinders and it showed.  Blake broke the magical one hour barrier; one few have ever broken at Mt. Washington.  He continued his success, winning the Pikes Peak Ascent, not your typical feat for a runner who lives and trains in Connecticut.

In 2014, Blake will be part of what promises to be quite a showdown, with Sage Canaday and Joe Gray returning to the mountain as well.  Canaday ran last year with tired legs after racing an Ultra just before Washington, which left him a little flat compared to his sub 59 minute win in 2012.

Gray has yet to win Mount Washington but he has been on fire in the last year.  In 2013, he finished 2nd at Washington and had a dominating win at the 2013 US Mountain Champs at Mt. Cranmore.  He followed that with a 7th place finish in Poland at the World Mountain Running Championships, finishing as the top American.  As the year went on, Gray continued to get stronger, winning the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December, finishing 8th the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country Race, and followed it with a 4th place finish at the USATF Cross Country Champs in February 2014. This doesn’t even include his success on the road.  When the gun goes off for the 2014 Climb to the Clouds, you can be assured Gray is going to be there in that lead pack.

There are a several newcomers taking on the Hill for the first time this year that could also create some waves:

The first is Ryan Bak, whose resume includes competing in the Olympic Trials at both 5000 meters and the Marathon, a 5K PR of 13:35 and a marathon PR of 2:14:17.  Bak has planned on Washington in previous years but had to back out due to injuries.  This year he is competing at both Washington and at the US Mountain Running Champs at Loon Mountain in July.

The second newcomer is Zach Miller, a member of the Nike Trail Elite Team and  winner of the 2013 JFK 50 Miler.  Miller has set several Ultra course records this year and could be a threat at Washington.

Joining them will be Emanuele Manzi of Italy, who has been a longtime member of the Italian Mountain Running Team, helping to win numerous team medals, as well as a silver individual medal in 2001.  Italians have dominated the world of mountain running for many years so it will be interesting to see how Manzi tackles the hill at Mt. Washington.

While Blake, Canaday and Gray are sure to be in the lead pack along with some others, never discount the rest of the field, which includes three time winner Simon Gutierrez, and other former US Mountain Team members Ryan Woods, Matt Byrne, Kevin Tilton and Peter Maksimow.

The Women

Only three US women have ever won individual medals at the World Mountain Running Championships.  This year’s Mt Washington field will include all three of them:  2011 World Champion Kasie Enman, 2012 Bronze Medalist Morgan Arritola, and 2007 Bronze Medalist Laura Haefeli. This alone would be an impressive field but it also includes two-time winner Brandy Erholtz and Valentina Belotti, the 2009 World Mountain Running Champion and 2010 and 2012 runner up at Worlds.

Kirsch Dogs Mt WashingtonHaefeli won her first Mt. Washington last year at age 45 and is a former Masters Course record holder at the event.

Enman finished 3rd in 2012 and is pretty up front that Mount Washington is not her favorite kind of Mountain Race- it would be more to her racing style if they removed the paved road and added in a few sections of New England rocks and roots on the way to the summit.  But, it’s hard to count out a former World Champion and Olympic Trials Marathoner from any race.

Brandy Erholtz finished second last year as she “took it easy”, being four months pregnant.  She is back to her regular form this year, recently winning America’s Uphill in Vail this Winter and she just finished second at the Black Canyon Ascent in Colorado.  Erholtz has two Mount Washington wins under her belt and knows the course as well as anyone.

Morgan Arritola is a 2010 US Olympic Nordic Skier who competed in her first official mountain race in 2012, where she set the course record at Mont Ventoux in France. Later that Summer she went on to win the US Mountain Running Team selection race at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH and finished in 3rd place in Ponte di Legno, Italy at the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships.  Arritola was also winner of the 2013 Mountain Championships at Mount Cranmore, showing her versatility in up/down races as well.  Arritola has only lost one mountain race she has competed in- that 2012 World Championship.

One of the two runners who beat Arritola in 2012 will be at Mount Washington- Valentina Belotti, from Italy. The 34 year old Belotti has been a dominant force in Europe, where she has been on the podium in 3 out of her last 4 World Mountain Running Championships (she was injured in 2013).  Belotti recently won the Taipei 101 Run Up for the third year in a row.  The Run Up is a stairclimb event that shows Belotti’s strength in an climbing discipline.  With Arritola and Belotti both in the field, it gives you visions of the epic battle of Melissa Moon and Anna Pichrtova from 2005 where Moon finally took the lead on the last ascent before the finish at Washington.

Joining the above competitors will be New England’s own Carolyn Stocker, who holds the under 20 course record at Mt. Washington and has the potential to be in the lead pack at the race. Stocker was injured last year at Washington but is an experienced mountain runner who also competes for the University of Maine in Cross Country and Track.

Late entrant Shannon Payne, of Boulder, CO, could also be a factor in this year’s race.  She just beat Erholtz at the Black Canyon Ascent, missing Mt Washington winner Kim Dobson’s course record by only 6 seconds.  Payne is fairly new to mountain running but has plenty of experience on the roads, trail and in cross country to be part of the contenders.

There’s still some lingering snow up on Mount Washington at the moment with the Auto Road finally open to the summit and the race just a month away.  .

On a side note, I am really excited that this year’s Mt. Washington Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place just before the awards on race day, where we will all get to witness Dunham and Craig Fram getting inducted.  If you will be at the Hill Climb, be sure to be there for the beginning of the awards ceremony to witness New England Mountain Running History.

About the Author

Paul Kirsch is the elite liaison for the Mount Washington Road Race, a member of the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame Committee and a staff member of the US Mountain Running Team.  When he isn’t posting pictures of his dogs on Facebook, he is probably out running with them in the mountains and trails of the Mount Washington Valley. He has run the Mt. Washington Race 13 times and is looking forward to his 14th time this June. Paul also just recently ran up the auto road with his two dogs on Alton Weagle Day. It served as a good preview and so a couple of pics from that adventure were included here.

VCM Preview: David Berdan

We continue our lightning round of Vermont City Marathon elite runner previews with David Berdan. We basically just asked one simple question to many of the elites: Are You Ready? They had free reign to answer in any way they saw fit. Here is David’s response:

I guess I can give a quick introduction for those of you who do not know me. My name is Dave Berdan and I live in the Baltimore, Maryland area with my wife (Amanda) and two boys (Evan-5 and Colin-3). I am currently a middle school science teacher and varsity cross country coach at the Garrison Forest School. In a few weeks I am excited to be starting a new position as the Head Cross Country and Assistant Track (Distance) Coach at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Am I ready for Sunday’s Vermont City Marathon? I think I am as ready as I can be… I have had a shorter buildup for Vermont City than previous marathons, but it has gone really well. In March I went to the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach with the hopes of running under the 2:18 Olympic Trials standard, but a case of the norovirus and later a cold that turned into a sinus infection ended that goal as I dropped out half way into the race.

I would say that I have two goals for tomorrow. Goal number one is to run under 2:18 (qualifying for the Olympic Trials) and if sub 2:18 does not happen I want to be competing for the win. I do not care about place if I run under the standard. Qualifying for the Olympic Trials has been a goal of mine since graduating from Elizabethtown College in 2004. Unfortunately USATF keeps making the standard a little bit faster. Back when I first started marathoning the standard was 2:22, now it is 2:18. During the fall of 2011 I was able to run 2:21 at the Baltimore Marathon. 4 years earlier that would have been enough to qualify, but in 2012 they lowered the standard to 2:19.

I feel like I have yet to figure out the marathon, or at least the specific training for myself when it comes to the marathon. I have completed buildups where I feel like I did too many marathon specific workouts and not enough shorter workouts, ones where I did the complete opposite and did not get in enough marathon specific workouts, and this time around where I feel like I have had a good mixture of both. Coming off of dropping out at the Shamrock Marathon I took one week completely off and then started building back up the following week….this left 9 weeks of training before Vermont City. I started the buildup with some shorter workouts touching on paces that I had neglected in my buildup to Shamrock. You can check out the details of my training on my blog at www.daveberdan.wordpress.com or from updates on Twitter @Dave_Berdan. In the beginning I did some shorter workouts like 200s, Renato Canova style hill circuits, and vO2 max workouts. From there I started adding in some longer workouts that had a higher volume and had a lot of miles at marathon race pace or faster. Races during my buildup included a 10 mile race in Alexandria, VA (George Washington Parkway 10 miler) on April 13th in 51:24 and the Frederick Half Marathon on May 4th in 1:07:17. I was happy with both races as the first one was only a few weeks after starting training again and the 1:07 included splits of 4:55-4:54-5:05-4:54-5:00 for miles 2-6.

I have also spend some extra time paying attention to some details that I have not cared about in the past. The number one detail that I changed was my diet. In the past I would eat like most other marathoners, not caring about anything because of all the miles I was running. This time around I focused on a diet that was higher in “good” fats and on the lower end carbohydrate wise. With that being said, I did adjust my diet based on the length of the workout completed that day or scheduled for the next day. I also took out pretty much all processed carbohydrates and sugar from my diet. I did “cheat” sometimes, but overall this was a HUGE change to my previous diet. I also completed nearly every single run and longer workout without eating any carbohydrates before or during the workout. Now, with all of this being said, I did make a complete 180 degree change to my diet in the past two days. I have been eating a significant amount of carbohydrates with hopes of topping off my muscle/liver glycogen stores before the race. I am hoping that in doing all of this my body has become more efficient at tapping into my fat stores and will benefit me in the later stages of the marathon.

Another detail that I have added is massage. My previous experience with massage was a random one after a race sometimes. This time around I scheduled a massage 4 times with my massage therapist Nic Ebright. My last massage was yesterday morning and I feel like they have had a significant impact on my recovery from training/racing.

I am looking forward to my time in Burlington! I have never been there before, but have heard a ton of great things about the city and the race!

VCM Preview: Tyler Andrews

We continue our lightning round of Vermont City Marathon elite runner previews with Tyler Andrews. We basically just asked one simple question to many of the elites: Are You Ready? They had free reign to answer in any way they saw fit. Tyler was living/working/training at altitude in Ecuador before coming home to run the Boston Marathon this past April.

I think I’m about as ready as I can be. This race is going to be an experiment for sure. I would say of all the people I’ve spoken to about my plan to run another Marathon five weeks after Boston, the majority (runners or non-runners) say something along the lines of “are you crazy??” I think there’s a lot of truth to that. There aren’t many people who can turn around and run another race that quickly after what was a very hard effort in Boston just five weeks ago. I don’t know if I’m going to be one of the people who can, but there’s only one way to find out, right?

In terms of my preparation, I did recover very quickly from Boston. I was surprised by how quickly I went from feeling extremely sore – like, not being able to walk down the stairs – to feeling pretty good and doing some quicker, easy runs. My coach and I began talking pretty quickly about running a second race (either a half or another full Marathon), but we didn’t want to commit to anything before I had a couple weeks of recovery under my belt.

I took it super easy for a week or so and then started “testing the waters” with some faster running. About 10 days after Boston, I did a 12km progression run in ~38’45 (averaging about 5’12 pace) starting easy and finishing at about 4’45 pace. This was a great confidence booster that I was able to mechanically run quick and my aerobic capacity still felt great.

The big test came in the one longer workout I did at about the halfway point between the Marathons. I did a 20 mile run, starting moderate (~5’50/mile) and then 15 miles of fartlek with 1km at “tempo” pace (3’03/km or about 4’55/mile) and 1km at “uptempo” (3’33/km or 5’44/mile). So this was 15 miles of work at an average of 5’18 pace and the whole run was 20 miles at about 5’30 pace with the warm-up.

This workout was the real “I’m ready” signal for me and my coach, and so it wasn’t until after this that we announced publically that I’d be running at the KBVCM. I’d been talking to the race director already at that point and they knew my situation and were super accommodating to my reticence to commit, but were excited to hear I’d be competing.

Then, the last few weeks have just been maintenance and tapering. I ran the Bedford Memorial 12km 8 days ago, but used it as a workout really, trying to average about goal Marathon pace on a very hilly course. Other than that, just some easy running and light workouts.

I’m really excited for tomorrow. The course looks great – very spectator friendly – and the KBVCM folks have got a great field put together here. It’ll be really fun to mix it up at the front of the race and see what I can do against some other really great runners. It’s an honor to be invited here and I’m just going to do my best to represent STRIVE well and see what happens!

You can follow Tyler’s training and progress with STRIVE on his blog at www.strivetrips.org/the-blog. You can also read contributions from Tyler on the Level.

VCM Preview: Quick Hits from the Elites

We continue our lightning round of Vermont City Marathon elite runner previews with some quick responses we received back from a couple of the invited runners. We basically just asked one simple question to many of the elites: Are You Ready? They had free reign to answer in any way they saw fit. Unfortunately, it’s not good news from the men’s side.

Matt Pelletier

After missing 2 months with a sacral stress fracture, I’m not expecting much tomorrow. My plan is to be conservative and hopefully pick off some of the front runners later in the race. I’d like to be able to run with those guys, but I’ve only had about 2 months of running and won’t be able to sustain the pace they plan to run.

Jonathan Charlesworth

Unfortunately I had a bad case of achilles tendinitis during my marathon buildup. I finally took some time off over the last few weeks in the hopes that it would recover before the marathon, but it’s still pretty bad, so I won’t be racing this weekend.

Karen Benway

I’m feeling relaxed and ready to give it my best shot. My expectations aren’t super high. My training was kind of spotty, and I’m nursing a hernia that’s going to need to be repaired soon. It’s worse when I run fast, so I haven’t done any speed. I’m definitely not in my best shape. I’ll do the best that I can with the fitness I have and let the cards fall where they may.

Joanna Johnson

I’ve been looking forward to this race for months! I’ve never run Vermont City before but I’ve heard great things about it and I’ve been impressed with their hospitality. This is my fourth marathon and training has been going better than ever so I’m looking forward to an exciting race!

Three out of four of the responses here just weren’t the type of thing we wanted to see. Kudos to Matty and Karen for gutting it out, and here’s to a speedy recovery for Jonathan. Hopefully they’ll be healthy and ready to roll for the next one.

VCM Preview: Meg Lout

We continue our lightning round of Vermont City Marathon elite runner previews with Meg Lout. We basically just asked one simple question to many of the elites: Are You Ready? They had free reign to answer in any way they saw fit. Here is Meg’s response:


I have an amazing running coach (Kelly Liljeblad) and PT (Brian Loeffler) at On Track, and they have gotten me healthy, and I’ve been mostly injury-free for the last year. I trained hard to race Boston this year and knew it would be tough to recover and train for a fast VCM, but I can’t pass up VCM!

After Boston, I lowered my weekly running volume, but continued with speed workouts and medium long/long runs to maintain at least some of my pre-Boston fitness. I try to eat well and also do minimal core strengthening during the last few weeks.

My mental training is also a big part of VCM because I keep thinking I’ll be tired from Boston. I don’t want to sabotage my race without giving my legs a fair shot, so I am focusing on positive thoughts and the excitement of feeling excited and healthy.

Race Strategy

Since running Boston, I am still unsure if my body is recovered enough to race VCM. I do know that I feel healthy, although I plan on starting slower than my goal marathon pace during the first 17-18 miles so I have something left in my legs to finish feeling less fatigued. Once I am on top of Battery hill, I will pick up the pace if I feel good. (I’m getting exciting writing about it!) I’d rather finish VCM feeling stronger and enjoying the race than to finish with a faster time and feel horrible the last 10k.

It’s also going to feel warm for me, so I am taking a conservative approach to pacing myself. I am hydrating today and plan to drink as much as I can at aid stations, and take gels every 45 minutes (“nutrition plan”). Mentally, I break up the marathon into segments (usually by gel packets), focus on good form (especially when I’m tired), and try to stay positive and believe in myself and my training plan. I tell myself that the painful parts of a marathon are temporary, and I think of my friends and runners who inspire and support me. I imagine my coach and what she would say as I am running, and that always helps me to run wisely. I am thrilled to be an invited athlete, so I must not expend too much energy being excited!! I also try not to let myself run with faster paced runners, which will be a challenge in the beginning. It would be great to run with another runner with similar pace goals as mine. I love when that happens!

Is Ferenc the Hero for VCM?

We kick off our lightning round of Vermont City Marathon elite runner previews with The Last Hero and Only Hope, or Josh Ferenc as he’s more officially known. We basically just asked one simple question to many of the elites: Are You Ready? They had free reign to answer in any way they saw fit.

The question was asked: Are you ready?

To be perfectly honest, I’m more unsure than I’ve been in a very long time. To really elude to my true thoughts could admit weakness and of being vulnerable, and I just won’t do that. I’ll never bet against myself, I’ll never count myself out, no matter what. I have to be realistic. I haven’t done any individual specific training for this marathon other than some solid long runs on the weekends. No workouts that would give me the feedback that would offer any clarity now.

Throughout this process of getting to Sunday’s marathon in Burlington I have been asking myself a lot of questions and doing a lot of self reflection on my daily runs. In my vision quest for answers in the universe of nature, I’ve captured the attention of my beginnings from the Quarry of the Gods. Through my question asking I was presented, not with answers, but questions to my questions.

Shot of Ferenc finishing the 2012 VCM that was featured in the Nov/Dec '12 issue of Level Renner. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Shot of Ferenc finishing the 2012 VCM that was featured in the Nov/Dec ’12 issue of Level Renner. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

In the booming ominous voice only my ears and body could handle I was asked: Where have all the good men gone and where are all the Gods? Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?

This was a stealthy shock of electricity to my soul and I knew. I knew I needed to become a white knight upon a fiery steed. I need to forego my nights where I toss and I turn and I dream of what I was to need.

The Old Gods smiled a sinister smile upon me and one spoke clearly: I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero, till the end of the night.

Then the giggles of the fair beautiful goddesses chimed in a sultry whisper: He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.

I understood these beauties, they needed me to fulfill a destiny and they wanted me to hold out to the morning light, they wanted me to be sure and be larger than life. So far, all of the requests and questions were within my abilities.

The Massacre of Sleepy Hollow is still fueling my confidence and the taste of souls still drips from my jowls. Relaxing has been the hardest part as I’m super anxious to hit the streets and see where my fitness lies. Do I go out to run 2:25, or play it safe (if it’s considered safe and not too fast) of 5:40′s? Who the cuss knows?!!!

So I counseled my own again. Through a vivid dream I was reached and told that somewhere after midnight in my wildest fantasy somewhere just beyond my reach, there’s someone reaching back for me, and the gods would be pulling me through the race if I needed them too.

I would need to consider the elements. I would be racing on the thunder and rising with the heat, I would be a Superman and sweep the goddesses off their feet.

It was beginning to get clearer and clearer of my goal and what I would need to do. Up where the mountains meet the heavens above out where the lightning splits the sea I could swear that there’s someone somewhere watching me through the wind and the chill and the rain and the storm and the flood I can feel the approach like a fire in my blood.

I’ve convinced myself that, “I got this,” and just need to get to the starting line. I feel like I have more people cheering and rooting me on this time around, which adds a bit of pressure. Well, in actuality, I’m the only one that adds any pressure. With a little help from my friends (Gods) everything will work itself out. I can only do what my fitness and physical capabilities will allow. The good thing is, I’m cussing awesome at subjecting myself to races and I will be able to tough, grit and grind.

To all those thinking positive thoughts, thanks. To all those thinking negative thoughts: that adds friction and friction makes fire; so, also thanks because I’m going to light a fire late in the race and will need that fuel!

I’ll need a miracle, but I’d rather be a hero. There needs to be a hero, and who better then the Last Hero Only Hope?!!!

For more on Josh, check out this segment that a local news station in Vermont ran on him recently:

Three’s Company: Josh Ferenc aims to be top local marathon finisher for the third straight year

Thanks to Scott Mason Photo for the pics featured here.

VCM Elite Women Preview

The following is a release from the Vermont City Marathon about the elite women’s field for this weekend’s race. We published the men’s preview earlier, and should still have more to come on this as the weekend rolls around.

KBVCM Invited Athlete – Top Women’s Seed Highlights – 2014

Heidi Westover – Walpole, NH.  Heidi is our 6-time KBVCM Women’s Open Champion/defending champion but just informed us that she has suffered a hamstring injury and cannot compete!  We are hopeful that we can bring Heidi to Burlington to share her racing insight/perspective.

nedlo race

Meagan Nedlo – Salem, MA.  A first-time KBVCM participant. Meagan ran 2:39:08 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012 and ran 1:17:40 at the Hartford ½ M last Fall.   Meagan is now this years top Womens seeded athlete. Meagan has run strong in a number of New England middle distance races over the past couple of years.  Meagan is focused on KBVCM and hopes to achieve the Women’s OT std this year.

Joanna Johnson – Albany, NY.  Another first-time KBVCM entrant, Joanna has recently run 2:48:43 at the Cleveland Marathon in 2013 and ran 2:52 at the Columbus M in 2012.  Joanna  is in good shape and hoping to PR at KBVCM and achieve the 2:43 OT standard as well.  We look for Joanna to be  a strong challenger for the women’s podium this year.

Meredith Lambert – Philadelphia, PA.  First time KBVCM racer who ran 2:52:40 at the Philly Marathon in the fall of 2013.  Meredith has a marathon PR of 2:44:39 and is hoping to be at or below this PR at VCM this year.

On our Women’s Masters front, we have Mary Currier (Burlington, CT) returning again this year.  Mary is a frequent KBVCM entrant and past Women’s Open Champion (’97).  Mary has taken the Women’s Masters title many times over the past 7 years and is a top 10 overall women’s finisher at VCM.

Also entered is Karen Benway (Waterbury, VT) who is another frequent KBVCM participant and finished 3rd Women’s Master in 2013.

The dreaded “injury-bug” has impacted several top Women Open athletes who were planning to race with us this year so we expect some new faces to come from the Preferred Corral women’s field to reach the top 10 overall women’s finishers this year.

Top Vermonters:

Meg Lout – Colchester, VT.  Meg joins our 2014 Invited Athlete field with a strong finish at the Boston Marathon (2:58:43).  Meg has run well in numerous Vermont middle distance races and hopes to have the stamina to improve her marathon PR at VCM this weekend.  Look for Meg to be among the top 10 overall Women’s finishers.

Anne Treadwell – Burlington, VT.  Anne returns to KBVCM as a top Women’s Master Athlete.  An accomplished middle distance runner in Vermont, Anne resides in Burlington and works as a writer. Anne finished 2nd Women’s Master in 2012 and has solid marathon and ½ marathon PR’s (3:06:29 and 1:25:51) both as a competitive master’s athlete.

New News:

Several Ethiopians have registered for KBVCM in the past week. In the women’s division, Dehininet Jara ran 2:42:31 to win the Cowtown Marathon (Feb ’14) and has run 1:14 in the half marathon.  She was 2nd women’s finisher this past weekend at the Green Bay Marathon in 2:41.  As with Suleman Abrar, can she recover quickly enough to stay with the lead womens group at VCM?

Dehininet resides in the Baltimore, MD area and will travel to Burlington with her personal rep/agent.

VCM Elite Men Preview

Here’s a release from the Vermont City Marathon highlighting this year’s invited athletes. The men are up first, to be followed by the ladies shortly.

KBVCM Invited Athlete – Men’s Top Seed Highlights – 2014

Blair Teal – Gastonia, NC.  First time KBVCM participant who has run 2:20:31 in 2011 and 2:21:20 in 2013 in North Carolina marathons.  He is in great shape and looking to break the 2:18 (O.T. std mark) in Burlington.

Dave Berdan – Owings Mills, MD.  Another first-time KBVCM runner who has run 2:21 in the past year and several low 2:20’s marathons over the past couple of years.  Recently ran 51:24 in a 10-miler in the Baltimore area.  Dave is also in great shape and focused on the 2:18 O.T. goal at VCM.

pelletier m vcm mason resize

Pelletier strikes a familiar pose at VCM (2012), courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Matt Pelletier – W.Greenwich, RI.  Matt is a 4-time KBVCM Overall Champion who ran 2:19:02 as a runner-up last year in a classic battle with Chris Zablocki.  Matt’s coming off a winter injury and is focused on running strong again at VCM but not sure if he will be in shape to break the 2:20 mark.

Tyler Andrews – Concord, MA. Another first-time KBVCM racer who recently finished Boston in 2:21:30 (1st sub-25 year old finisher).  Tyler hopes to recover over the next few weeks and run as part of the lead-pack aiming for a sub-2:20 finish.  Tyler is the WR-holder 1/2M treadmill at 1:07:18!

Michael Wardian – Alexandria, VA (DC suburb).  Mike is a multi-time KBVCM Men’s Open Runner-up who is now a Masters athlete and just ran 2:23:30 at Boston then 2:27:45 a week later at the Big Sur marathon.  Mike recently won the North Pole marathon in far northern Norway.  Mike is also the 4-time US 50K championship winner.  An “unofficial” ambassador of KBVCM.

Several Open Men will be running KBVCM as their “inaugural” marathon who have fast 1/2M results over the past 18 months….Will Sanders (Andover, MA), Timothy Mulligan (Whiting, NJ) and Jonathan Charlesworth (Boston, MA) could run in the mid-2:20’s.

We also have a strong Masters Men field (behind Wardian).  1st time KBVCM participant James McQuade (New York, NY),  2010 VCM runner-up Bob Landry (Ludlow, MA) and runner-up Tom Thurston (Waterbury, VT) entered.  All three of these men have the potential to run under 2:40 this year.

Top Vermonters:

Josh Ferenc – Saxtons River, VT.   Josh is returning to KBVCM for the 3rd consecutive year in 2014.  Josh has taken the top Vermont Men’s title the past two years with very solid 4th and 6th place Overall finishes.  Josh’s marathon PR is 2:30:51 which he set in 2011 at  KBVCM.  Josh won the Stowe 8-miler and FJG Race to the Top of VT (Mt.Mansfield) in 2012 and has an ultra-marthon/mountain-trail running background.  Josh is a science teacher at Bellows Falls High School.

Tom Thurston – Waterbury, VT.  Tom has become a perennial top Men’s Master finisher at KBVCM having placed 3rd in 2011 and 2012 and made a last mile surge in 2013 to grab the 2nd Master Men slot.  Tom has lowered his marathon PR each of the last 3 years finishing in 2:41:50  in 2013.  Tom works as an elementary school teacher in Waterbury and has an Olympic Trials bicycling background.  We will be looking for Tom to run strong again in 2014.

New News:

Several Ethiopians have registered for KBVCM in the past week.  In the men’s division, Getachew Asfar has run 2:24:22 Cowtown Texas Marathon (Feb ’14) and 2:20:49 at the Kentucky Derby Marathon (April ’14) .  He has a PR of 2:15:59 at the Akron Marathon in Sept. 2013.

Suleman Abrar ran 2:25:16 at Balbao Spain in 2013 and won the Cleveland Marathon last weekend in 2:24:15.  Can Suleman run in the low 2:20’s or faster a week after his win?  We’ll see this Sunday.

Both of these athletes reside in the Baltimore, MD area and will travel to Burlington with their personal rep/agent.

Who’s Headed to Holyoke?

The 39th St. Patrick’s Road Race is less than 24 hours away now. The big question remains: who will be headed out to Holyoke, MA to compete this year?

Looking at last year’s results, all we can do is speculate. Alistair Cragg won last year in 29:20, but as of the latest we’ve heard he hasn’t committed this year. But, he is nearby and can easily show up morning of to show everybody what’s up. Unfortunately we have learned that last year’s runner up, Philemon Terer, will not be making an appearance. Bob Rosen let us know that he’s currently back home in Kenya and focusing on training and overcoming a lower leg injury he suffered during an intense period of training last fall. Too bad we won’t get to see him compete up close again this time. In the Quad Cities Marathon last year Philemon ran a 2:14 and shattered the old course record. I’m sure we’ll be hearing of him in the future.

Zach Hine finished third, but again no commitment there and since he’d be coming from CO it’s hard to imagine that he’d make the trip last minute. You never know.

We do know that there will be some wolves on the loose in Holyoke. Kevin Johnson, Brian Fuller and Kevin Quadrozzi will all be there representing the Western Mass Distance Project. This race is on their turf and from what we’ve heard, wolves can be very territorial. If you decide to run from them, be prepared to run quickly and all the way through the line.

For the ladies, alas, we can only speculate about Amy Hastings as well. Amy dominated last year while running a 33:32. Like Alistair, she’s based in RI and could easily show up morning of. Kim Smith flew under the radar and surprised many people by showing up to New Bedford at the last minute. Would not be surprised to see something similar here from any one of the many elites in the area. Again, that’s all speculation though.

We do know one thing: it’s going to be big, it’s going to be fast and it’s worth checking out. See you in Holyoke! And be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram since we’ll be on the back of the lead truck and covering it live.

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