Tag: Sean Duncan

Lone Gull 10k Preview

The 2014 Lone Gull 10k appears to be wide open. According to USATF-NE president Tom Derderian, last year’s Champion Sean Duncan is sitting out due to injury. The status of the defending women’s champ Steph Reilly is uncertain, although she was last spotted kicking some serious ass at the Level Renner 10k back in mid August.

Duncan’s out, Reilly is uncertain…so who’s it going to be? 2013 runner up Nick Karwoski moved across the country to train with the US Triathlon team. Eric Ashe is focused on the Twin Cities marathon and a shot at the OTQ. Looking at the current standings, Sança, Veiga, Vassallo, Jenkins and Mish are names that jump out. We won’t make the same mistake twice though…we should probably name Jeff Veiga as the favorite. But, he seems to win when we snub him so perhaps we’ll go ahead and name Brad Mish the favorite (the guy gives a pretty entertaining interview).

For the ladies, Jess Minty and Alyse Rocco finished 2-3 last year, respectively, and both could be contenders tomorrow. Alyse just won the XC Grand Prix opener and seems to be ready. Can’t rule out Nicole Casey, who is currently sitting atop the standings. The race for the proverbial season series cup for the ladies is wide open, and the fact that none of the top 4 point getters picked up any at the 5 miler only made things closer. Jesseman, Sandahl, and Paulson are a few more names to watch, especially on the heels of Paulson’s recent 15k title.

For now, here’s our coverage from last year, including Sean Duncan’s victory dancing. Who will be busting some moves in the parking lot this year?

Duncan Wins USATF-NE 5,000 Title

Sean Duncan (WMDP) made a late break to bust open a close race and won the 5,000m at the USATF-NE Open & Masters Championship. Sean ran a 15:06.71 on a very hot day (mid-80′s).

One Last Thing From New Bedford

One last thing from the New Bedford Half Marathon. I know the last item we posted claimed to be the finish raw footage, but this one actually contains the footage from the finish line. Normally we don’t post everything, but this time we decided to do it a little differently, so you’re seeing pretty much everything we captured that day.

Here is the view from the finish line, courtesy of Mike Giberti. As you already know, Ruben Sança and Kim Smith won it. Featured here at the end is our Finish of the Week, featuring WMDP teammates Jesse Regnier and Sean Duncan. Jesse seems really determined to get Duncan’s scalp, and our best guess is that Jason Ayr talked so much about accomplishing that feat at the Jones 10 Miler that Jesse need to get it for himself. Both ran a 1:09:36, but it looked like Regnier got him at the line.

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.

Duncan, Fitzpatrick Win in Wayland

GBTC Wayland

GBTC team shot from Wayland. Courtesy of Tom Derderian.

Sean Duncan and Sidney Fitzpatrick were the big winners at the Wayland XC Festival, which was held back on October 13th. That was the latest in the USATF-NE XC series.

Sean ran a 15:45 and Sidney ran 18:00 for their wins (full results here). The GBTC men topped the host HFC Striders squad by a score of 21-56. One of the victorious GBTC’ers, Caleb Evanter, contributed a solid write up about the event:

It was a fun race. It was very much a cross country race, in that the distance was relative and there were hills and turns and uneven footing. There was no pavement and no cars visible from the course. The first mile goes around some baseball and soccer fields and is flat after a hill at the very start. The second mile features a short steep uphill and a stretch on an undulating trail that seems better suited for mountain biking. The third mile is basically the first mile backwards. The finish is 300 meters on a track.

Sean Duncan took the lead from the start and had a gap on the field from the beginning. From my spot behind them in the race it looked like Justin Lutz and the rest of the chase pack let Duncan take it out and tried to make up the ground at the end of the race. Lutz probably gained some ground during the final mile, but not enough to make it a race. He was comfortably in second. My splits were about 5:13, 5:35 and 5:49 for the final 1.1. I moved up on a bunch of people in the final two miles so that shows that probably most people ran significantly slower over the more challenging second mile.

Ryan Irwin was considerate enough to not give me a go of it with a sprint to the finish. Men and women, open and masters all raced together. There were 10 and under and 11-14 races too. Before the race Sydney Fitzpatrick asked us about whether or not to wear spikes on the course. Given that she won, I assume she made the right decision. Finally the Wayland XC Festival was notable for having four Caleb’s run in it, two in the 11-14 race, one who came in 3rd in the 10 and under race and myself.

Although New Balance Boston didn’t field a team for the race, Sydney Fitzpatrick did her best to make sure the green & white was noticed. For her efforts, we got this from Sydney:

The goals Coach Green gave me was to just go out, compete, and remind my body about the feel of cross country racing again. I feel like I ran a very smart race, and knowing who Steph Reilly is, my goal was to conserve energy early on, work my way up to her, and put myself in a position to win. I felt really strong during the race, and was able to execute today. I am very optimistic about what myself, and my team can accomplish this fall at the upcoming invitationals (Mayors Cup, New England’s, Club Nats). Training has been great thus far this fall. NBB has some great depth this year, and I feel more than lucky to have so many teammates to workout with on a regular basis. We are all very motivated and looking forward to the rest of our fall season.

We weren’t lucky enough to get something so detailed from Sean Duncan, but he did take a break from one of his epic workouts to tell us: “The victory was quite satisfying. All I do is win. My ultimate goal is to win a race in every town in America, and now I can finally cross Wayland, MA off the list.”

Okay, maybe Sean didn’t say that. We just needed to squeeze one more quote in, real or imaginary. As far as the team scoring went for the ladies, the Millenium Running team led by Jennifer Mortimer took the title, followed by the WMDP and GBTC squads, respectively.

Next up on the circuit is the Mayor’s Cup, which will be this coming Sunday at Franklin Park. More to come on that one.

WMDP Struts Their Stuff

The Chicago Marathon

the western mass distance project struts their stuff in the midwest

“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.” – Haile Gebrselassie

[Editor’s Note: This was submitted by an Anonymous Wolf about the WMDP team’s experience at the 2012 Chicago Marathon. Since we’re in the midst of fall marathon season and Chicago was just last weekend, we thought it was appropriate to re-share.]

WMDP in Chicago
Chicago, IL – The men of the WMDP Wolves toed the line of the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th, 2012 with vague expectations. We expected it to be long. We expected it to be painful. We expected it to change us as runners. However, what we did not expect was the degree to which each of these expectations would be met.

The race was the reason for the formation of this rag tag group of Western Massachusetts runners. As with any training plan, this one began with a base and became more defined throughout…and so did the powder blue of the WMDP. What started off as a reason to send sarcastic emails and trash talk to each other progressed into serious training advice, Grand Prix wins, and a large group of teammates descending upon Chicago on October 7th.

The gun went off and we immediately grouped together like penguins in an Arctic storm. The feel was intimidat- ing, but much more bearable with the group. In an event requiring such mental strength the age old saying “two heads are better than one” holds true, and eleven heads are even better than two.

The first 8k passed by like we were standing still. It was more a game of consciously selecting our pace, constantly checking with each other if the group agreed. I am unsure if there was any passing going on, though there may have been hundreds of others still around us. All that’s clear to memory is turning to Dave, turning to Kevin, turning to Nico, looking for a quick nod at each mile marker. It was shortly after this point that Duncan let the group ahead drag him in their wake. We opted to hang back. It would later become clear that everyone involved made the right decision.

The next portion, 10k through 13.1, seemed to be a one mile transition from floating to tempoing. The pace remained perfect and the now group of four looked smooth. As a foursome we now rolled through Chi-town alone, feeding off the “Western Mass!” yells that occurred every 1200 meters or so, compliments of Sean Duncan’s warning ahead. We imagined floating off the back of Coach OB’s little green Tacoma, rolling through the country roads of Hadley listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Becoming aware of where we were in the race and the crew I was rolling with, I began to get a little giddy, maybe displaying more comfort than was warranted.

Entering the third quadrant of the race, the group was cut down again. This felt a lot like the end of a long summer at summer camp. We were approaching the infamous 20 mile mark and the cool, calm, and collective four had to dismantle. Enough piggy-backing. It was now a long and lonely battle we each had to bear…alone (and that’s not easy for a pack of wolves).

I’ve heard about the wall. I’ve also wussed out in races ranging from 1 mile to the Half Marathon, but I can say with 100% honesty: I did not bag this. This just happened. I found the wall.

Mile 23 felt like someone from the crowd ran out and gave me a bear hug, one which the spectator decided to hold tighter and tighter through each remaining mile and not let go. The difference in the end of the marathon and the end of a 10k is in the 26.2 you’ve earned so much more of what’s behind you. Fading in a 10k with 1200 meters to go results in a bad feeling, may be a bad time, but another opportunity next week and only 5.5 invested miles. A marathon, however, is your baby by mile 23. You’ll fight to the death to protect it.

As we congregated at the finish line, watching our teammates pour in and crowd the finish chute with blue jerseys, I must say I was living my best running experience to date.

“Four under 2:30!”… “Six under 2:34!”… “Peabody! You crazy bastard!”… “Eight under 3:00!”… “Get me an IV of beer… seriously…”

We shared a large portion of that race as a unit; we all had similar experiences (confirmed through conversations that followed), but we all came out with a different number. The number is more than a PR; it’s the title to an entire story.

I can’t tell the story of my teammate’s numbers. I imagine there were loud drums in the background of the story titled 2:24:59 (Sean Duncan) as it was told in a heroic war-like setting. The story of the 2:33:20 (Matthew Peabody) taught a message of dedication and self-belief, an inspirational story to say the least. The story of 2:25:43 (Kevin Johnson) was a comeback tale teaching lessons in maturity and control.

At the end of the day your marathon PR will by no means change the world, but it will change yours, and that seems a significant enough change to me. Many could RUN one, I recommend RACING it.

An anonymous WMDP Wolf wrote this article. This article originally appeared in Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

Sean Duncan: September AoM

Press release from the USATF-NE:

Sean Duncan of Western Mass Distance Project and Gardner, MA is the USATF – New England’s Athlete of the Month for September 2013. The distance runner had a full month of quality performances, highlighted by a win in the New England 10K Road Championship at the Lone Gull 10K on September 15 with one of the association’s fastest times for the distance this year, 30:50. The previous week, he’d won the WMDP Cross Country Festival 8K, the second race on the 2013 USATF NE Cros Country GP, by 29 seconds. He closed out the month with a eighth place finish at the Nahant 30K, the NE title race, which clinched his victory in the 2013 Road Race Grand Prix.

Check out the full list of USATF-NE Athletes of the Month.

Congrats to Sean on racking up yet another accolade. The release does a good job in listing what he’s accomplished, but one little nugget is left out. In placing 8th at Nahant, Sean not only clinched the Grand Prix but he also showed off just how tough he is. Leading up to the race, Sean was pretty sick and it was a toss up as to whether or not he’d even run it. Sucking it up and running a 5k when you’re feeling like crap is one thing, but to gut it out for a full 30k is quite another. And he didn’t just run it, he placed 8th. Feeling like garbage, Sean still picked up a couple of Grand Prix points. Not too shabby.

Part of what we want to do here is to  help connect the runners to the audience. We want the personality to show through, and that doesn’t necessarily happen if you’re just seeing a name in the results or reading a summary of the race. We hope that the video interviews with the runners could help accomplish that. Sean is a man who is clearly having a great time on race day, and it really comes out in the interviews we’ve had with him. Here are a couple of recent examples, first is Sean after his victory at the Lone Gull 10k (you can see the full scope of his “duncing” moves at about the 6:20 mark):

Next is Sean after winning the WMDP XC Festival:

If he keeps this up, not only will people get to know him pretty well, but they might even get sick of hearing about him.

Duncan, Rocco Win in Westfield

Sean Duncan and Alyse Rocco were victorious in the second annual WMDP XC Festival, which was held back on September 8th at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA. Yeah, we’re a little behind in getting this out to the masses, we know. Early September still didn’t feel quite like cross country weather. The weather is a little cooler now, we’re that much closer to October, and now it feels right to start covering it. Plus it took a while to find time to do the video.

Anyway, the host team (Western Mass Distance Project) did a fine job of putting on the event and also in defending their home turf. The Wolf pack won both the men’s and women’s races as a team even with some of their key runners sidelined.

In the men’s 8k race, the Wolves were led by the one-two punch of Sean Duncan (25:18) and Kevin Quadrozzi (25:47) . Duncan looked to be in command the whole way and cruised to the win. Just behind the top two were Ryan Irwin and Charly Allan of GBTC, leading the GBTC surge that saw them place 7 of the next 12 scorers. It wasn’t enough to overcome the Wolves and GBTC just lost out by a score of 30-34.

Duncan gets to bask in the glow of victory (and possibly dance some more) as he’s been doing quite regularly lately, but he couldn’t quite avenge last year’s loss. Last year’s winner Brian Harvey was off racing his debut marathon at the Via Lehigh Valley Marathon, which he won in 2:31:33. We’ll have to wait a little to see them go head to head later in the season.

For the ladies, quality over quantity seemed to be an underlying theme on the day. There were only 29 finishers, but the top ten all went under 20 minutes for 5k. That theme can also be used to describe the training of winner Alyse Rocco (GBTC). At the time Alyse had only been running about 20 miles per week, which seems low but some people can excel on lower mileage. It’s not necessarily the mileage but what you do with it, and she must be making all of those miles count.

Alyse ran a 17:54 and went under 18 minutes for the first time. Second place was about thirty seconds behind (Julie McGilpin, 18:25.79). Once again the GBTC team would fall short, as they lost to the Wolves again, this time by a score of 25-34.

Included below are race highlights and interviews from the day’s races.

Another theme of the day seemed to be people posing for still shots when video was being taken. There was clearly some miscommunication and it was all in good fun. The first one I can say with certainty that the proximity to the speakers had something to do with it. The second one (as seen at the end of the video)…sure, loud speakers there too. Why not? I think I like these results better than had they come out as planned. It’s always spontaneous on the Level.

The next race in the series will be the Wayland XC Festival, to be held on October 13th in Wayland, MA.

Lone Gull 10k: Duncan Finds His Rhythm

Sean Duncan (WMDP) and Olympian Steph Reilly continued to tear up the USATF-NE Grand Prix series with their wins at the Lone Gull 10k on Sunday in Gloucester. Both runners shot out to the lead early and held it, but ran a little conservatively and weren’t quite sure of what to expect in terms of competition.

Sean knew there were runners in the field that were capable of giving him a run for his money, especially with Nate Jenkins lurking somewhere out of sight. When he felt a presence coming up on him later on, there was some surprise to see that it wasn’t Jenkins but instead newcomer Nick Karwoski (Whirlaway). Nick surprised a few people that day, including many Whirlaway teammates who didn’t see a welcome email but were shocked to see an unknown giant in a Whirlaway singlet chasing down Duncan at the end of the race. The element of surprise wasn’t enough and Nick wasn’t able to reel in Sean. Sean’s 30:50 was good enough for a seven second cushion, and added even more points to his series total.

With only two series races left (30k & marathon), Sean appears to be in command. In fact, coupled with his win the prior week at the WMDP XC Festival, he now leads in two series (road and xc). It appears that 2013 is Duncan’s year. It’s not over yet and it may be premature to celebrate, but I think it’s okay to start the celebratory dancing. Just a little bit. Maybe for 16 seconds or so.

Steph Reilly also has a commanding lead in the grand prix standings and further asserted her dominance on Sunday. Reilly cruised through the streets of Gloucester and comfortably ran a 34:58. Her next closest competitor was Jess Minty of New Balance Boston, who ran a 36:27. Steph is more focused on coaching her Bryant University team right now and is just trying to get through this phase unscathed. You wouldn’t know it from the way she’s racing.

Binney Mitchell (GMAA) and Christen Doneski (Whirlaway) were the top masters. As far as teams go, Central Mass Striders took the titles in both men’s open and masters. Having Jenkins and Dan Vassallo finish 3-4 is a great way to start the day. The New Balance Boston women claimed the open team title, while Whirlaway was able to score the masters team title.

For more on this event, check out:

Race pics by Ted Tyler
Race pics by Krissy Kozlosky (featured image on the main page is hers)
Full results

*Sorry for the video quality. For some reason YouTube isn’t uploading it in HD. We hope you can enjoy the dancing and the interviews without that video quality. We’ll try to fix and re-upload later.

Ritchie Returns to Form at Hollis

In the men’s race at the Hollis 5k (June 13th), Tim Ritchie led the way with a 13:47. For Tim it was his first race since the Boston Marathon, and what a race it was. The top four all went under 14 minutes:

Tim rolls on the downhill course, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

2 JEFF VEIGA…………….13:53.7
3 PAT FULLERTON……..13:59.2
4 NICK KARWOSKI……..13:58.9

As usual, Tim wasn’t letting the fast downhill course or the ideal conditions distract him from his goal of leading the BAA to the title. “The team win was the only thing on my mind. The personal win and the fast time were unexpected bonuses. I wanted to help Eric, Brian and I get up front and take the top spots. I was not too confident in a kick at this point in my training so I wanted to get it going from the start. The hope was to clear out everyone except Eric and Brian so we could go 1-2-3. It was good to have others in the mix though – made the race exciting, tough and fun, but also meant I had to work the whole 3.1 miles. We ended up 1-5-6 [Note: 1-3-4 when you take out the two non-scorers], but still good enough for the top team on the day.”

Tim’s plan held up, as his Unicorns won it by two minutes over the WMDP Wolfpack. Sean Duncan led the Wolfpack with a 14:27 8th place performance.

Right behind Tim was Jeff Veiga, the All-American from UMass Lowell. Jeff recently graduated and is relatively new to the road racing scene. This was only his third race for RUN and his first Grand Prix event (as a team scorer at least).

Jeff, who only weeks ago placed 4th at DII NCAA’s with a 4th place finish in the 10k (30:41), was not short on confidence as he entered into the USATF-NE fray: “My training wasn’t really consistent leading up to the race and I wasn’t taking it too seriously either. But I knew going into the race that I was just going to go out with whoever took it because there wasn’t any real stud in the race that I couldn’t run with. So I showed up just trying to get the W because time didnt matter, especially on a downhill course. Ritchie probably knew he had it the whole way but I tried to put up a decent fight.”

Just behind Veiga was Pat Fullerton, and although he didn’t factor into the scoring, Pat still ran a heck of a race. It was a PR* [note: should that be the shorthand notation for a downhill PR? If it’s not already, let’s make that official] for him, just like it was for many in the race. But since it’s downhill it doesn’t really put things in perspective. You get a better sense of the progress he’s made when you compare that to the 14:34 Pat ran on the same course last year.

Pat was eager to see what he could do on the fast course against some stacked competition, but that didn’t mean he was exactly resting up for it. “I wasn’t tapering, I ran more miles this past week than I usually do. It was a big race for me because at the Jack Kerouac race I was with the leaders with a mile to go and lost by 30 secs. So I just wanted to show up and run to my ability and I think this time I did! I’m still new to this 3k/5k distance but I’m getting better every race so I can’t complain!” Hit up McDonald’s, Pat. You earned it.

The Masters

Chris Magill won the 5k crown by narrowly edging Joe Navas. Chris was just under the 15 minutes barrier (at 14:58.1) while Navas was painfully just over the mystical barrier (15:00.4). Magill and Navas finished 21st and 23rd overall, respectively. Finishing in between them was Brandon Newbould, one of quite a few runners (including the aforementioned Sean Duncan) in the race who were pulling the badass double of a downhill race at Hollis followed by an uphill race at Mt. Washington two days later.

There was a tense moment at the end when Navas was sneaking up on Magill in full on distance running ninja mode. Joe had the element of surprise and was about to make his last strong move when Dave Kanzanjian started cheering for Joe loudly. Normally that’s helpful for runners, but in this case it seemed to wake up Magill: “I did hear someone cheering for Joe and I knew I had to kick it in to the finish. Navas is an extremely tough competitor. Also, I knew I had to give it my all to help out the BAA all stars (Ritche, Ashe, and Harvey) get the team title.”

The Whirlaway men’s team rode Navas’ second place performance to a second place finish of their own. Dirigo RC brought their ‘A’ game and bested the Whirlaway squad by about 36 seconds. Leading the way for Dirigo was Andy Spaulding (15:16).

Photos courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky. Check out her page for more great shots from the race.

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