Saturday, January 30, 2016
Avid racer Frances Loeb was overheard divulging on Wednesday evening, under the deceptively protective shroud of night and the Wisconsin Avenue tunnel, that, although race expectations are low, she planned to don spikes for her 5k. You heard it here first, folks! Meanwhile, youngster Meghan Lockett, who will be debuting for the GRC, made sure to Amazon Prime some flats for delivery prior to her 3k race Saturday afternoon. This will be the first race for Mego in over two years, but she is pumped to tackle the oval and put an end to her race-less streak. Keeping her footwear selection to herself, Kerry Allen is approaching the 5k with even more unfamiliarity, never having raced on an indoor track, and never even having run a 5k on an outdoor track. While we all have the utmost of faith in her fitness and preparation, let us hope that her lap counter is paying attention!
There will be a lot of action and plenty of results for our analysts to pore over in this early season showcase! In addition to Frances and Kerry, the women's 5k lineup also includes Stephanie Reich, with Kyle Wagener and Luk Olenginski holding down the men's 5k race. Meghan and Chelsea Bollerman will race the 3k later in the afternoon.
Tune in throughout the day for times, commentary, and maybe a photo or two, if we're lucky!
1. Frances Loeb 17:31.31
2. Stephanie Reich 17:46.22
7. Kerry Allen 18:28.79
6. Kyle Wagener 15:45.95
7. Lukasz Olenginski 15:48.17
17. Chelsea Bollerman 10:46.83 (won her heat!)
Monday, January 25, 2016
Nina came to competitive running later in life than most of her teammates, but like other areas of her life she pursued running with tireless dedication and obvious passion.
“Nina was not the most talented athlete at GRC, but she was one of the hardest working and committed runners I've ever coached,” said GRC Coach Jerry Alexander. “She was willing to do whatever it took to contribute to the team, and her enthusiasm and drive were an inspiration to her team.”
When injuries or overseas travel kept her from competing with GRC, Nina still took great pride in her teammates’ achievements. In an email from Jordan she wrote “It's been really fun to follow your racing results and see massive PR after PR. Wish I were there to enjoy these moments with you!”
Nina also made an impression in the running community in Jordan while studying there for a year after having received a Boren Fellowship. She won the Dead Sea half marathon, her first attempt at the distance, and has been memorialized by her friends there as their “Dear Champion”. Nina was due to return to Jordan, to work on a Fulbright grant studying women’s athletics as a means of encouraging confidence and self esteem.
The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS), in partnership with the Brekelmans family, established the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund to support students of the Masters of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program, particularly those with a demonstrated interest in promoting women's empowerment in the Middle East.
Nina graduated from the MAAS program in May 2015. The endowed scholarship fund will honor Nina's memory and accomplishments by supporting MAAS students who demonstrate an interest in women's empowerment.
For more information on the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Scholarship and the 5k race and to register, please visit www.ninabrekelmansmemorial.org.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Down in Houston, Outlaw ran strong even splits to finish 33rd in 2:27:09. He made sure to represent our new sponsors with pride with a clutch post-race Insta:
Thankful for my better half @livewell_lizgreen #sendem #sent #smashed #smoked #toast #grc #newbalance @runwashington @runpacersA photo posted by @justjerryg on
Zak made the podium one state over at the much smaller Louisiana marathon, crossing the finish line for 3rd in 2:33:21. For his efforts, Zak will receive a Top Finisher Commemorative Art Print by Thomas "Tuna" Seither. The word on the street is that any genuine "Tuna" artwork can net a pretty pay day on the black market...
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Women's MVP - Frances Koons
Frances's accomplishments in 2015 were unlike anything we've ever seen at GRC. Frances was the first GRC athlete to compete on a national team when she represented the United States at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country meet, and she placed 8th overall, and was 3rd American; she was the first GRC athlete to run in a US track championship, when she placed 12th at the USATF Indoor Championship in the 2 mile; and was the first GRC woman to win at Penn Relays, when she claimed the title in the Olympic Development 5000. Frances set club records on the track in the 1500 (4:30.9), mile (4:53.89), 3000 (9:41.4), 2 mile (10:06.2), 5,000 (16:27.8), and 10,000 (33:17), and on the roads in the 8k (26:27) and 10k (34:13). 2016 will be another year of firsts for Frances, when she becomes the first GRC athlete to compete in the Olympic Trials on the track.
Men's MVP - Kieran O'Connor
In 2015 Kieran continued his remarkable transformation from a talented novice to a true national class athlete when he qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon by running 1:04:38 at the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in October, which was a PR by an amazing 80 seconds, a club record, and arguably the best performance ever by a GRC man. That performance was the culmination of an outstanding year, which also included a huge marathon PR of 2:20:47 at Grandmas in June, which is second on the GRC all time list, and a club record 14:35 road 5k at Clarendon Day in September. Kieran has also become a vocal leader of the team, and his leadership has helped our younger athletes understand the level of commitment necessary to excel at this level. Kieran is ready for another major breakthrough in the marathon, and will be looking for a huge PR at the Trials.
Women's Newcomer of the Year - Hannah Rowe
Hannah joined GRC in June after completing her collegiate eligibility as a graduate student at George Washington University, where she became the first GW athlete ever to earn all-conference honors in the Atlantic 10 in track. Hannah immediately made her presence felt by running 17:35 for 5k on the roads in her GRC debut, which places her 4th on the GRC all-time list. Hannah excelled at a variety of road distances, including her stellar 59:21 at Army 10, which is also 4th on the GRC all-time list. Hannah was a key contributor in cross country, and was our third finisher at Clubs despite being far less than 100 percent healthy. Hannah has a great future with GRC, and will be a fixture on the all-time lists on the track and the roads for years to come.
Men's Newcomer of the Year - Cabell Willis
Cabell was a revelation in the spring, when he ran a succession of PRs on the track, and established himself as a legitimate A team athlete. His 3:53.91 1500 is 3rd on the GRC all-time list, and his 14:41 5000 was a huge breakthrough. He also ran 1:56.8 for 800, which is 4th on the GRC all-time list, and capped his spring season with a 4:11.8 road mile, which is a club record. Cabell excelled in the fall in cross country, finishing second overall at the Gettysburg Invitational, and he was third man on the GRC squad that won the USATF East Region championship, and he was our fourth finisher at Clubs in a 10k PR of 32:06. Cabell will continue his assault on the record books this spring on the track at 1500 and 5000.
Lauren Woodall Roady Award - Susan Hendrick
Susan has been instrumental in the growth of GRC's women's team into one of the top non-professional teams in the country. Susan has superb credentials--she has run 4:17.8 for 1500, and was 7th in the USATF indoor 1500--and she was the first high-profile recruit to join GRC when she signed on in the spring of 2011, when the women's team was in its infancy. While Susan's contributions to GRC are impossible to condense into a few sentences, it's accurate to say that since coming on board she has been a team leader on and off the track. Susan is the club record holder in the 800 (2:16.01) and road mile (4:49), and is third on the all-time list in the 1500 (4:35.8) and 3000 (10:03.1). In additon, she was directly responsible for the recruitment of several GRC stars, and has served as a mentor to many of our young athletes.
Nina Brekelmans Award - Dickson Mercer
Two of the many wonderful qualities that we will always remember about Nina were her passion for running, and her dedication to public service. Because Dickson shares those qualities, he is a fitting winner of the inaugural award in Nina's honor. Dickson is an experienced and accomplished marathoner who is not known for his speed, yet in 2015, at age 33, Dickson ran his first full track season since college because he wanted to have some fun with the sport he loves. The results were impressive, capped by his huge PR of 8:52 for 3000. Dickson also has a history of public service as demonstrated by his work, along with his wife Emily, in the Peace Corps in Niger, and his demanding stint as a guide for elite visually impaired runner Aaron Scheidies in the 2012 Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. Dickson has also dedicated himself to GRC, and his contributions to the team include sharing his vast expertise in the marathon with his younger teammates.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Yesterday afternoon during a workout at BCC track, Olympic Marathon Trialist Kieran O'Connor put in a 31:18 10k, making the performance the fifth fastest track 10k in GRC history. What is more remarkable than the record itself is what O'Connor did after covering the ten kilometers: he kept going. For four more miles. You see, O'Connor's effort was not part of a 10k time trial, but was instead en route to a 10-mile tempo run, which he completed in 49:42. That's right -- "Rube" O'Connor busted out a sub-50 minute 10-mile tempo run during a workout at BCC. O'Connor's tempo was so scorching that it ground into dust his three-man pace team. As the run progressed, the pacing coverage bent and eventually broke as the pacers were unable to recover quickly enough to maintain their alternating 2-mile shifts, leaving O'Conner to run portions of the workout unassisted. Left in O'Connor's wake was a pile of discarded and exhausted pacers, whose Herculean efforts assisted Rube's run. This blogger did not even attempt to offer assistance -- even for a couple hundred meters -- and instead cowered on the side of the track, fearful of becoming one of the faceless rabble of pacesetters left in O'Connor's dust.
Saturday, January 9, 2016
“At Pacers, we are more than our stores and the races we host. We truly celebrate running in the District, including our top athletes,” Dalby said. “The men and women of our new racing team are national champions and Olympic trials qualifiers in some cases, but they also are working professionals who squeeze in their training around full-time jobs and family life. We are so excited to become the official title sponsor of the club and further the efforts of Coach Jerry Alexander and his hard-working runners to make GRC one of nation’s top running clubs made up of athletes who have full-time careers outside of running."
Since GRC was founded in the mid-2000s, runners have joined the team for a simple purpose: to be surrounded by likeminded runners who want to run as fast as they can. Athletes gather for track workouts after work on Wednesday nights, for Saturday morning practices, and for Sunday long runs. They also travel to races together, encouraging and inspiring each other to fulfill their potential in the sport.
To finance racing kits and warm-ups and to travel to events such as the national club cross country championships, the GRC have hosted an annual race, the Father’s Day 8k, to generate a small budget, and paid out-of-pocket costs to close the gap. With this partnership, GRC’s top athletes will have shoe and gear support – something they have not had in recent years – and, for the first time ever, a stable budget to send athletes to national championships and premier road, track, and cross country events.
“This new partnership will allow our athletes to compete at the highest level outside of the D.C. area without having to make decisions based on finances,” Alexander said.
“That organizations as respected and established as Pacers and New Balance have pledged their support to us is a huge milestone for our team, and we are extremely proud to represent them both locally and nationally.”
Pacers Running has been supplying the District with running apparel and accessories since 1991, recently adding a fifth local store to its offerings in the Navy Yard neighborhood. The company also hosts a number of popular races throughout the year, from Crystal City 5k Fridays to the Crystal City Twilighter and George Washington Parkway Classic. GRC athletes compete in road races from the mile to the marathon, at top track and field competitions, and annually at the national club cross country championships, where – competing alongside professional running clubs – they have finished as high as 9th in the country.
On Feb. 13, in Los Angeles, a record number of GRC athletes – Emily Potter, Teal Burrell, and Kieran O’Connor – will represent the club at the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials. To qualify for the race, Potter, a mother of two young children who often trains while pushing a jogging stroller, clocked a 2:42:56 at the Edmonton Marathon to get under the 2:45 standard. Burrell, who ran her first marathon before joining GRC in 4:07, qualified by running 2:42:13 at the California International Marathon in 2014. O’Connor, who was still relatively new to running when he joined the GRC two years ago, has since lowered his personal best in the marathon to 2:20:47. He qualified for the trials in October by running 1:04:39 at the Philadelphia Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon.