Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Atlanta, GA

We had a fantastic weekend at the Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta.  No description of the course can do justice to just how hilly it was, so much so that many athletes literally walked up the monstrous hill on the final loop.  These are not scrubs we're talking about, but rather the best marathoners in the country.  If many athletes of that caliber were reduced to walking, you know this course was really, really hard.  And it was quite windy out there, which didn't help matters.  Despite the robust conditions, our crew ran to the absolute best of their ability, and represented GRC with great distinction. 

Kieran was an outstanding 86th in 2:23:50.  Kieran's race plan, which worked to perfection in Los Angeles in 2016, was to stay within himself for the first half of the race, and then begin a relentless march forward picking off runners who got out too aggressively.  The hills got to Kieran earlier than he had expected, however, which precluded him executing the plan quite the way he intended, but he moved up 20 places on the final loop, which is all the proof we need that he ran hard all the way to the tape.  Kieran holds himself to a very high standard, and even though he was shooting for a better placing based on his incredibly high fitness level and his amazing success in 2016, he was thoroughly satisfied with his race because he knew that he gave it everything he had.  From my perspective, 86th place in the Trials is an objectively excellent result, and I am extremely proud of Kieran's accomplishment.  Kieran is going to take up tennis for the next few months (and use his free AlphaFlys as his tennis kicks), but he will be back better than ever once the qualifying window opens for 2024.

Dan was 96th in 2:24:45, and he was justifiably thrilled to be in the top 100.  To my way of thinking, Dan's top 100 placing was nothing short of miraculous given that less than a year ago he had never run a race longer than 10k.  After his meteoric rise on the roads in 2019, Dan was confident that he could compete on the national level, and while the hilly course did not suit him, and he didn't feel great after mile 10, Dan was able to hold his position throughout the long and arduous journey to the finish.  Dan is a tremendous talent, and he is planning to take a shot at the venerable club record of 2:15:13 in the late spring.  Given his remarkable progress in the last few months, I would not bet against him.

Zach was dinged up from his epic PR at CIM, and despite his best efforts to resolve his nagging injury he was unable to get healthy soon enough to reach race fitness.  This was Zach's third Trials, and he was determined to be part of the event even if it would be to a limited extent.  When his injury started to flare up on the first loop, Zach wisely called it a day.  Zach will surely be back for his fourth Trials in 2024.

For the women, Maura was an outstanding 108th in 2:44:13.  Maura's tactics were perfect, and she steadily moved up through the field over the last 15 miles.  Maura's time was a PR, and as difficult as it was to PR on that course, Maura's performance is all the more impressive given that this was only her second serious attempt at the marathon, and her training cycle was exceedingly short because of a nagging injury that prevented her from working out or doing real long runs until the middle of January.  To run what surely would have been worth sub 2:39 (or faster) on a reasonable course, off of a six week training cycle, is incredible, and demonstrates Maura's immense potential in the marathon.  Maura is only starting to scratch the surface of her ability at the longer road distances, and she will be a real threat to place in the top 25 in 2024.

Kerry was in the best shape of her life, and she looked great at the half way point.  Unfortunately she was afflicted by a crippling cramp around mile 16, and despite her best efforts to run through it, the pain was so severe that she had no choice but to abandon the race at mile 21.  The marathon is a cruel event, and despite her outstanding preparation it was just not Kerry's day.  Kerry will be back better than ever, and she'll continue her development into a national caliber marathoner going forward.

We also had a large crew of former GRC superstars in Atlanta.  Teal was a strong 130th in 2:45:27.  I had the pleasure of watching the race with Rusty, young Maya, and Teal's parents, and with the help of her incredible support team, Teal will surely be back for her third Trials in 2024.  Kelly was 264th in 2:52:17.  After experiencing stomach trouble throughout the race Kelly was happy to finish, and she came across the line with a smile on her face.  Catherine was 315th in 2:55:32.  This was Catherine's third marathon in three months, as she was able to rebound from her failed attempt to qualify at CIM with an outstanding run in Houston.  Her extremely short buildup for Atlanta went very well, and we were cautiously optimistic that she was ready to go.  It all caught up to her after halfway, however, and she was glad to finish in one piece.  I'm happy to report that Catherine will be returning to the area over the summer, so she is not only a former GRC superstar, she is also a future GRC superstar.  Hannah was 350th in 3:00:01.  Hannah looked very good for about 12 miles, at which point her achilles tightened up so badly that she had to stop to stretch it.  She was able to continue, but from there she was forced to stop and stretch every 2 miles.  Despite that ordeal, Hannah finished with her head held high.  Kristin was unable to start due to injury, but she was happy to be in Atlanta to cheer on her peeps.  For the men, Matt was a strong 108th in 2:25:42, and Patrick was 140th in 2:30:25.


In non-Trials action, Margaret was seventh in the half in Atlanta in 1:22:03.  That was an excellent performance on the now infamous Atlanta hills, and it is yet more evidence that Margaret is ready for a huge spring.  Finally, Brian Rich made an outstanding GRC debut, running 14:43.8 in the 5000 at BU Last Chance.  That was a 12 second PR, and we're going to see many more big PRs from Brian in the months ahead.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

2020 RRCA Club Challenge Ten Miler

The sun shone down on the Pacers // GRC - NB harriers at the 2020 RRCA Club Challenge Ten Miler in Columbia, Maryland last Sunday (February 24), which was a radical departure from the previous year's wind and rain. Though conditions improved significantly, the up and down nature of the course still provided a serious challenge to all runners. GRC finished a close second to Falls Road Running in the overall coed race, which scores 6 men and 6 women, in 594 to 610

The men's team was able to pick up a trophy for the overall men's team competition with a narrow victory over Falls Road Running 54-57. The team had top ten finishes from Patrick Hanley (3rd, 51:29), Sam Doud (6th, 52:42), Stewart Reich (9th, 52:55), and Mark Hopely (10th, 52:58).

The women's team was led to a second place overall team finish by Natalie Patterson and Stephanie Berger who were 6th and 7th, respectively. Though they had two strong front runners, the GRC women had to rely primarily on mid-distance track runners to fill out their team, which, according to coach Jerry Alexander, "says a lot about the commitment to the team...for them to race a distance that is way out of their comfort zone."

Men's Results
3. Patrick Hanley - 51:29
6. Sam Doud - 52:42
9. Stewart Reich - 52:55
10. Mark Hopely - 52:58
12. Josh Sutterfield - 53:10
14. Kyle Wagener - 53:24
15. Jerry Greenlaw - 53:28
21. Luk Olenginski - 53:43
22. Jim Heilman - 54:02
24. Alex Dolwick - 54:16
27. Alex Doran - 54:47
28. Sean Barrett - 54:51
29. Dylan Hernandez - 54:55
32. Lucas Meyer - 55:09
34. Trever Reed - 55:28
35. Sean O'Leary - 55:35
36. Joe Zamadics - 55:58
51. Matt Hassett - 57:04

Women's Results
6. Natalie Patterson - 62:27
7. Stephanie Berger - 62:36
16. M.E. Rauch - 66:13
28. Alexa Squirini - 68:50
29. Jackie Kasal - 68:56
30. Chelsea Vane - 69:01
33. Angelina Oputa - 69:48

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Run for the (Mill)roses

This Saturday, the GRC track crew took to the Big Apple to once again put up an incredible showing in the Distance Medley Relay at the Millrose Games. The strength and depth of our mid distance crew was clearly evident with two full teams ready to roll for both the men and women.

Before the gun could even go off, our fearless teams were facing new challenges. Gina McNamara - the anchor for the Women's A team - tweaked her knee early in the week, and it was ruled a game time call whether or not she would ultimately race. While not exactly adversity, Zartosht Ahlers stepped up on the men's B team to run a 400 meter sprint to ensure a full crew could hit the starting line. Zartosht, along with Meghan Grimes are both former NIRCA Club runners from Princeton and the other Georgetown Running Club (the one affiliated with the university) respectively. For them to go from club teams in 2019 to the prestige of a meet like Millrose says much about their talent and ability to compete.

The GRC men were second in a club record 9:57.67, and the women were third in 11:44.3. The fields in both races were extremely competitive this year, and several teams in each race were faster on paper, but we rose to the challenge and proved once again that competing as a team brings out our best.

Elias got the men started with an excellent 3:00.93, which is the fastest 1200 in team history.  Elias bided his time and closed very hard in the last 200.  Scott ran a strong 51.74, followed by Jordan who ran a patient 1:55.19, and he also made a strong move on the last lap. Daniel T ran an excellent tactical race on the anchor, bringing it home in 4:09.83. After getting  the baton in third and sitting on the second place team for 1200, Daniel closed in 61 to secure second place, and to get us comfortably under the 10 minute barrier.  There is much more to come from this crew. 

Jackie got the women started with a very strong 3:37.44, which is the fastest lead off leg in GRC history.  Sarah C got the baton in seventh place, and her excellent 57.93, which is the fastest 400 leg in GRC history, moved us into fifth place.  Jesse ran a strong 2:15.15, which maintained our position.  Gina ran an outstanding 4:53.8 to bring us home in third place. Despite the uncertainty, Gina delivered a big time performance for her team, and her excellent run put us back on the podium.  After assessing the field, it was clear it would take an excellent collective performance for us to get into the top three, and the women delivered.

We also had strong performances from our B teams. The women finished ninth in 12:12.82. Liz T led off with a strong 3:43.97. Maggie continued her comeback tour with a 61.74.  Meghan ran an excellent 2:15.59, which was the fourth fastest split in the field.  Meghan's progress has been remarkable, and she will be a force to be reckoned with outdoors.  Stephanie B ran a strong 5:11.7 anchor, and barely missed catching the team ahead of her.  The men finished eleventh in 10:37.34. Tom got it started with an impressive 3:10.38. Tom got out hard, coming through 600 in 1:32.4, and he hung tough to the finish.  Zartosht ran 57.97, and while no one will confuse him with Fred Kerley, he gave it everything he had, and then some.  Jim B ran a strong 1:57.84, which is his best performance in a GRC singlet, and Adam anchored in a solid 4:31.17.  It was great to see so many of our young athletes have the opportunity to compete on the big stage at Millrose, and several members of this years B teams will make a strong case for inclusion on next years A teams.




Monday, February 17, 2020

Colonial Half Marathon, BU Valentine Invitational recap and results

Road Racing

The duo of Mark Hopely and Natalie Patterson represented the GRC road racing crew this past Saturday, February 15th at the 41st annual Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg, VA. The two put up strong performances running 1:10:19 and 1:23:03, respectively, to both finish third. These times are especially impressive considering they were running what Mark dubbed as "America's hilliest half." These two are fit, and given a more forgiving course, are poised to rewrite their own record books this Spring.

Results here.
          Patterson, left, and Hopely, right, bring home hardware for their efforts at the Colonial Half

Indoor Track


Several members of the GRC indoor track team doubled back from the Millrose Games last week for a showing at the BU David Henry Valentine Invitational this past weekend.

On the women's side, Maggie Shelton led off the action running a strong 2:59.46 in the 1,000m, which puts her at #2 on the GRC all-time list for that event. Gina McNamara was next up for GRC, posting a 4:53.53 in the full mile. This is a new club record for the track mile, besting the previous top GRC mark by 0.36 seconds. Gina had been battling knee issues since her DMR leg at Millrose but was able to rally in time for her performance.

Elias Graca and Scott Gulizio started off for the men's team in the 800 the following day. Elias ran a speedy 1:52.91, breaking the second GRC track record of the weekend by 0.30 seconds. Scott was not far behind in a quick and even split 1:53.28, which now places him third on the GRC all-time list.

Tom Kelly was next up for the men in the full mile, running a strong 4:26.73. This is a season best for Tom and is surely a good omen for his progression to continue as track season heads outdoors. Adam Hearn was the club's representative in the 5,000m, running 15:29.76. Adam came through the 2k comfortably poised for his goal of a 14:50 finish when he decided that indoor 5,000m races weren't difficult enough already and finished the last 3k with only one shoe. Jokes aside, Adam still ran formidably after losing his shoe to another runner's spike, and will return to the track for outdoors with his shoes tied tighter than ever.



                       Hearn, right, catches up with a friend from the B.A.A after his 5,000m race


Results here.

Women's 1000m
Maggie Shelton - 2:59.46 (GRC #2 all-time)

Women's 1 Mile Run
Gina McNamara - 4:53.53 (club record)

Men's 800m Run
Elias Graca - 1:52.91 (club record)
Scott Gulizio 1:53.28 (GRC #3 all-time)

Men's 1 Mile Run
Tom Kelly - 4:26.73

Men's 5,000m Run
Adam Hearn - 15:29.76





Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Love the Run You’re With 2020

 No photo description available.

Several GRC harriers began their seasons at the Love the Run You’re With 5k on February 9. In past years, the race had taken place in Pentagon City, but Pacers debuted a fresh, new course in the Congressional Cemetery for 2020.

The women were led by Emily De La Bruyere who finished 2nd in 17:26 despite having been in New York City the previous night to serve as an alternate for the Millrose DMR team. Erin Melly finished 4th in 18:32 followed by Liz Reynolds in 9th, Hallie Fox in 10th, and Chelsie Pennello in 11th.

Sam Chauvin was the men’s top finisher at 3rd place in 15:43. He was followed by Jim Heilman in 5th, Alex Dolowick in 6th, Josh Sutterfield in 8th, John Prizzi in 15th, Dickson Mercer in 18th, and Charlie Ban in 19th.


Women
2. Emily De La Bruyere – 17:26
4. Erin Melly – 18:32
9. Liz Reynolds – 18:46
10. Hallie Fox – 18:55
11. Chelsie Pennello – 19:12

Men
3. Sam Chauvin – 15:43
5. Jim Heilman – 15:56
6. Alex Dolowick -16:01
8. Josh Sutterfield – 16:13
15. John Prizzi – 16:52
18. Dickson Mercer – 17:01
19. Charlie Ban – 17:10

Monday, February 3, 2020

Weekend Results: 2/1-2/2

Mike Cody 4 Mile Classic
Memphis, TN

1. Adam Hearn - 21:02

Penn State National Open
State College, PA

Men's 800:
7. Scott Gulizio - 1:54.68

Villanova Invitational
Staten Island, NY

Women's Mile:
5. Liz Tawa - 5:09.12

Monday, January 27, 2020

Patriot Games Results: Men & Women win DMR's

Patriot Games
George Mason - Fairfax, VA

Men's DMR:

1. GRC A - 10:11.67
1200: Dan Trettel - 3:04.49
400: Scott Gulizio - 52.2
800: Jordan Burton - 1:54.5
1600: Elias Graca - 4:20

4. GRC B - 10:50.24
1200: Tom Kelly - 3:13
400: Zartoshy Ahlers - 58.8
800: Jim Belfatto - 2:00.4
1600: Adam Hearn - 4:37

Women's DMR:

1. GRC A - 12:12.02
1200: Jackie Kasal - 3:43.8
400: Sarah Cook - 59.18
800: Jesse Carlin - 2:14.9
1600: Stephanie Berger - 5:13

2. GRC B - 12:21.93
1200: Gina McNamara - 3:38.4
400: Maggie Shelton - 62.3
800: Meghan Grimes - 2:17.6
1600: M.E. Rauch - 5:23

Women's 800:
13. Maggie Shelton - 2:24.42

Men's 3000:
16. Zartosht Ahlers - 9:15.04


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Weekend Results: Houston Marathon, Terrapin Invitational

Terrapin Invitational
PG Sports Complex

Mile:
1. Dan Trettel - 4:16.29
2. Elias Graca - 4:16.67
4. Jordan Burton - 4:21.26
8. James Belfatto - 4:26.62

5000:
2. Zartosht Ahlers - 15:51.17

600:
2. Jesse Carlin - 1:36.31

800:
1. Meghan Grimes - 2:17.57 (GRC debut)
8. Maggie Shelton - 2:28.03

Mile:
1. Gina McNamara - 4:59.52
8. Jackie Kasal - 5:12.27

3000:
4. Stephanie Berger - 10:19.41

Houston Marathon

57. Jerry Greenlaw - 2:27:12
101. Graham Tribble - 2:36:09

Houston Half Marathon

157. Jim Heilman - 1:11:43 (PR)

USATF XC Championships
San Diego, CA

43. Sean Barrett - 34:29
44. Ryan Speir - 34:39

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Weekend Results: Great Dane Classic

Great Dane Classic
Staten Island, NY

1000:
12. Maggie Shelton - 3:06.97

Mile:
9. Liz Tawa - 5:08.80

Sunday, January 12, 2020

GRC 2019 Team Awards

Women's MVP--Maura Linde

Photo by Run Washington - Charlie Ban
Maura started 2019 with a bang by qualifying for the Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston, running 2:44:26 in her first serious attempt at the distance. Maura's performance is even more impressive given that she had a stomach virus the week of the race and couldn't keep food down until 24 hours before the gun went off. After a quick turnaround from Houston, Maura had an excellent track season, placing second in the Penn Relays Olympic Development 10,000 in 34:26, which is third on the GRC all-time list, and running a big PR of 4:32.85 in the 1500, which is fourth on the GRC list. Maura kept the momentum going in the fall, running a huge 10 mile PR at Army of 57:00, and a road PR of 27:22 for 8k, both of which are second on the GRC list. Maura finished the year with a strong 50th place at Clubs XC. 



Men's MVP--Dan Meteer

Photo by Swim Bike Run - Brian Knight
In 2019 Dan transformed himself from a recent college graduate with solid but unspectacular track PRs into a national caliber marathoner, and in the process he had arguably the best year in GRC history. Dan got started by anchoring our DMR at the Millrose Games in an excellent 4:09.3, which was a big PR. Dan made a quick transition to the roads, and in his half marathon debut he ran 1:07:33 at DC RNR despite a wrong turn that cost him approximately 20 seconds, and he was second at GW Parkway in his 10 mile debut, running 50:22. After demonstrating the potential to excel on the roads, Dan turned his focus to the marathon. Dan's outstanding 1:04:53 at the Indianapolis Half Marathon, which is second on the GRC all-time list, was proof positive that he was ready to do something special at the full distance, and he did not disappoint. Dan's phenomenal marathon debut of 2:17:38 at CIM qualified him for the Olympic Trials with room to spare, and is third on the GRC list. 
Image result for erin melly grc running

Women's Newcomer of the Year--Erin Melly

Erin was a three-time NCAA regional qualifier in the steeplechase during her stellar career at Columbia, and in her first year with GRC she made a successful transition to longer road distances. Among her strong performances, Erin ran 29:15 for 8k at her local turkey trot, 37:11 for 10k on a hilly course at Cow Harbor, and 62:01 in her 10 mile debut at GW Parkway. Erin finished the year with a solid performance at Clubs XC. We'll see much more from Erin in the months and years to come.









Men's Newcomer of the Year--Keith Carlson

During his senior year at Willamette College, Keith lowered his 5000 PR from 15:02 to 14:27. Keith continued that dramatic upward trend this fall despite getting a late start due to injury. Keith made his GRC debut by winning Veterans Day 10k in 31:34, and he ran 14:52 for 5k at a turkey trot in Illinois. Keith saved the best for last by finishing his season with an outstanding 65th place at Clubs XC, which is tied for the seventh best performance in GRC history. With good health in 2020, Keith will be a threat to crack the GRC all-time list in numerous track and road distances.



Nina Brekelmans Award--Zak Miller

PictureZak earned this award through years of hard work and perseverance. Like Nina, Zak is not the most talented athlete who has run for GRC, but he is one of the most dedicated, and that dedication has produced dramatic results. When Zak joined GRC in 2014, his marathon PR was 2:41:51. Zak chipped away at his PR gradually, and his resolve to improve never waivered despite a series of injuries and several instances of bad (or terrible) weather on race day that hindered his performances. When Zak ran a PR of 2:31:58 at the New Jersey Marathon in April, it was clear that breaking 2:30, a goal which was not even remotely realistic when he joined the team, was within reach. Zak had a great training cycle in his buildup to Chicago, and on race day his years of hard work paid off when he ran an outstanding 2:28:43. Zak is an inspiration to our young marathoners, and he will continue to lead by example going forward.


Lauren Woodall Roady Award--Jesse Carlin

Jesse almost singlehandedly established GRC as a force in the middle distances. Jesse was a two-time All American at Penn, and as a postgraduate she placed third in the 2009 USATF indoor 800. When Jesse joined GRC in 2016, we had a fledgling middle distance program, but the team was almost entirely distance focused. We were able to build our middle distance group around Jesse, and that crew quickly developed into one of the strengths of the team. At Jesse's urging, in 2017 we entered a team in the distance medley at the Millrose Games, and our goal was to make a respectable showing. With the benefit of an excellent 800 leg from Jesse, we exceeded our expectations by winning the race. That victory set the tone for the middle distance group going forward. With the help of Jesse's vocal leadership, the middle distance group has grown in both size and quality. As Jesse continues to pursue excellence on the track, she serves as a wonderful example to our young athletes of what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of the sport.