Tag: outdoor track

O’Toole Gets USATF-NE Honor

Rising mile star and recent grad of Middlesex High School (Concord, MA) Garrett O’Toole was just recently named Athlete of the Month for June 2014 by the USATF-NE. Here’s the full release:

Middle distance runner Garrett O’Toole is winner of the USATF - New England Athlete of the Month for June 2014. The graduating senior at the Middlesex School in Concord MA. At the Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord On June 5, the Weston Mass. resident ran 4:01.89 for the mile. That performance not only set new Massachusetts and New England High School records for the mile, but it also put him among the top 10 all-time U.S. high school milers. Garrett has excelled at distances ranging from the 800m to the 3000m this outdoor season. He’ll enroll at Princeton University this fall.

Here’s an interview that Mike Giberti got with Garrett after he competed in the 400m for a tune up at the USATF-NE Open & Masters Track Championship just over a week ago:

Congrats Garrett!

O’Toole Tunes Up With Fast 400

Garrett O’Toole finished 4th in the 400m in 50.37 at the USATF NE Open and Masters Track & Field Championships. Not too bad, especially for an 18 yr old who specializes in the mile. You may recall Garrett running the fastest mile in the country for a high schooler this year (4:01.89) back a few weeks ago at the Adro Mile (part of the Adrian Martinez Classic).

Slo-Mo Steeple Action

Check out this (seemingly) synchronized steeple jump captured by Mike Giberti at Sunday’s USATF-NE Open and Masters Track & Field Championships. In the video you’ll see Jeff Ragazzini and Mike Carlone, who finished second and third, respectively. Jeff ended up running a 10:03.9 to Mike’s 10:18.10, so they weren’t in sync the whole way. The race winner was 19 yr old Paolo Tavares in 9:43.

Leonhardt Nabs First USATF-NE Title

Kerri Leonhardt ran a 17:40.49 to win the 5,000m at the USATF-NE Open & Masters Track Championships. For Leonhardt it was her first USATF-NE title.

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).

Fans Go Topless For Jenkins

Derderian Jenkins Outdoor track Shirt I

Nate suffering to finally take the lead.

On Saturday evening, the fourth and final New Balance Boston Twilight Meet of 2014 was held at Bentley University. Nate Jenkins was on the track struggling through what was looking to be only a mediocre 5,000m race (for him, at least). All of a sudden, there was a call from the stands. A promise of some nudity was made, the fires were lit, and the beast within took over and propelled Nate to victory.

Greater Boston Track Club coach (and USATF-NE president) Tom Derderian was there, right in the middle of it all:

“Before the race Nate saw me in the flowered Hawaiian shirt I wore and admired it profusely. During the race he ran well off the lead so the only thing I could think of to urge him to the very limit of his fitness was the shirt off my back. So I yelled, ‘If you win I will give you this shirt.’ Now, I don’t know what, if anything was going on in Nate’s oxygen starved brain, but he won the race and kept running to the infield to collect his prize.

“I happily peeled off the shirt and handed it to the gleeful winner who, brain now flooded with oxygen and endorphins, ran around in circles on the infield like a puppy waving the shirt as if it were a national flag handed to an olympic gold medalist.”

“Maybe or maybe not, Nate remembers any of this.”

Does Nate remember? Yes. Yes he does. How could anyone forget something like this? Here’s the race, from Nate’s perspective:

“First I LOVE hawaiian shirts. I have a few and I wear them in warm weather pretty constantly. Tom’s was particularly top notch and I was also after seeing it wishing I had worn one down to the meet myself as it was pretty darn warm out.

“In the race I got gapped when the young’ns dropped a couple quick laps which was ok as I felt strong at the time but I’m not in very good shape and pretty soon I was struggling. I felt I wasn’t losing much more ground despite the slow laps and was trying to steal myself for a big push over the last few laps but to be honest I wasn’t feeling all that confident, I’ve only successfully done this a couple times on the track, and as I said I’m not in great shape.

“Suddenly Tom yells “I’ll give you this shirt if you catch them” or something along those lines. It was the last mile of a 5k so my memory of the event is somewhat internally focused. Anyway this actually got me fired up. It took what was a poor race and gave it purpose. I immediately just thought this would be awesome. If I could just walk the leader down and get the win and the shirt. I know Tom is and would actually give up the shirt and it would be awesome. So I buckled down without trying to go crazy. I closed some but not a ton and as I went by Tom repeated his call to arms. Now I was fully consumed by the idea. Again it was a silly thing but it was perfect for that moment. Obviously I have run much faster and been in better shape but this turned a middling performance into something real fun and with real purpose for me. Now the gap was closing fast and I knew I had to get the lead quick because most anyone can run me down in the last 200 if I don’t get a chance to ‘soften them up first’ I think I got the lead with about 600 to go and upped the effort considerably at that point and then again with 400 to go. At this point I was hurting pretty good but all I could think about was not wasting the effort but getting rolled up in the last 200. Coming into the home stretch I actually got very good knee lift even though I was hunching forward and tightening my upper body too much but I knew I would hold off any challengers. In the end I ran the last 200 in about 32 which is awful close to what I finished most of my ~14:00 type 5k’s in.”

“After that it was just FUN. It was awesome Tom would go through with pulling off his shirt and I wanted to make as big a scene out of it as I could. I mean those who know Tom know he is up for a good gag but he is still the head of USATF-NE and at least the USATF part of that is a pretty stodgy not in touch with athletes, not fun group ,so if Tom, who is the sort of polar opposite of that, is going to be this good of a sport I thought it should be seen. Frankly it made my spring. It was a ton of fun. Now I plan on taking pictures whenever I wear Tom’s shirt and tagging him on facebook for a never ending running joke. Which will be fun to do and annoying all at the same time which is pretty much my sense of humor in a nut shell.”

While it may not be exactly like young ladies throwing panties at Mick Jagger on stage (at the height of his prime, not these days), it still is a very entertaining story. As Tom said while this was being put together: “It was great fun which is the whole point of racing, right?” Yeah you can make an argument that winning, PR’s or just flat out pushing yourself should be the point, but if you’re not having fun then just what exactly is the point? Here’s to hoping that more shirts are ‘transferred’ at the next track meet.

Derderian Jenkins Outdoor track Shirt IX

Nate celebrates with his new shirt, his wife Melissa, and Uta (his four-legged training partner).

Thanks to Nate Jenkins and Tom Derderian for making this happen. All photos are courtesy of Tom Derderian, and the winning 14:41.39 was courtesy of Nate Jenkins. That time, by the way, is the new lead time for the track 5,000m portion of the new All Terrain Runner series.

Martinez Classic Wows the Crowd in Concord

By Mike Giberti

It’s quite a rare occurrence when national and world class athletes gather to compete at a community track located in a town park. But the Adrian Martinez Classic did just that and took a huge leap in competition this year. The evening of Thursday, June 5th, 2014 was the 6th running of the Martinez Classic meet. In the past, it has traditionally been held as a night of mile races for all abilities and experience levels that concluded with “elite” sections. These elite heats attracted local sub-elites and were usually won in around 4’10” for men and 4’45” for women. But this year, Hoka One One took over sponsorship, the elite sections featured some of the best in the nation, and there were high performance 800m and 5000m sections added to the schedule as well. And yes, new Hoka athlete and Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano was in town along with 800m specialists from the Brooks Beasts Track Club and other professional track and field athletes.

There wasn’t a dull moment to be had in Concord that evening. Facility records were broken left and right in front of a great crowd. A lot of fast local guys in here as well. Here’s a breakdown of what went on in each of the elite races:


Men’s 800m: Four guys finished in 1’46” with Brooks Beast Cas Loxsom leading the way in 1:46.38. Lowell, MA native Brian Gagnon finished 3rd in 1:46.62 with a strong last 100m while GBTC’s Alex Engel came in 9th for a 1:50.73.

Women’s 800m: It was a really tight race every step of the way. The rabbit pulled them through 400m in 60 and they held on to finish between 2’02” and 2’08”. Dana Mecke took the win in a lean with 2:02.85 while Stephanie Charingo and Nicole Sifuentes followed in 2:02.92 and 2:02.94, respectively.

Men’s Mile: This was the race to watch if you were to be there for only one event. The rabbit did a poor job as they weren’t even close to the intended pace of 2’26” through 1k, but a negative split show was put on and Leo Manzano unexpectedly got taken down in a kick by three other runners. Team USA/Saucony athlete Mark Finan ran his first ever sub 4 mile to take the win in 3:58.73, edging out New Zealand great Hamish Carson and Providence’s Julian Oakley who both ran 3’58” and change. Leo dropped back to 4th in 3:59.31. Though the most impressive run of the day was Middlesex High School senior Garrett O’Toole, who shocked the crowd with a US #1 High School Best Time of 4:01.89, nearly gunning down Manzano. O’Toole will attend Princeton in the fall. Other local athletes in the race included Pat Fullerton (4:05.82) and David Goodman (4:08.25 – a track mile PR). There was also a ‘B’ section of the men’s HP mile that featured a number of local athletes from New Balance Boston, Greater Boston Track Club, and the Western Mass Distance Project.

Women’s Mile: The adidas athletes who were in town were the class of the field. The race was a bunched up affair until the last lap, when Morgan Uceny and Violah Lagat took off. Lagat went around Uceny on the final turn and ran off with a 4:29.43, beating Uceny’s 4:29.89. Morgan Uceny was also in town last weekend at the third New Balance Boston Twilight Meet to run a 2:00.29 800m in a combined men’s and women’s section.

Men’s 5000m: Local stud and (Level Legion member) Brian Harvey did a fantastic rabbitting job, dragging Travis Mahoney, Mitch Goose, and Team RUN’s Jeff Veiga with him. Mahoney and Goose took it down to the final 400m, when Mahoney blasted off like a cannon with a 58 on his last lap to sneak under 14. Mahoney won in 13:59.13 with Goose second in 14:04.63. USATF-NE Road 5k Champ Veiga finished 4th in 14:13.39.

Women’s 5000m: Amy Hastings, the top American in the Run Westfield 5k broke away halfway through the race and ran it in for a solo 15:25.94. Former Dartmouth standout Alexi Pappas came all the way from Oregon to place second in 15:43.72, barely missing her PR. The USATF-NE Women’s Road 5k Champ, Larissa Park, was also racing the 5k this evening. Park finished 9th in 18:27.11.

We also can’t leave out the Men’s Master’s and Senior’s Miles, which were won by GBTC member (and also a member of the recent World Master’s 4x800m record-setting team) Chris Blondin and Whirlaway’s Paul Hammond, respectively.

Full results of the 2014 Martinez Classic can be found here.

Olympians Headline Tonight’s Adrian Martinez Meet

adrian martinez classic logo 6.3.14Does it get any more exciting than this? Leo Manzano coming to town, going up against local studs like Pat Fullerton and David Goodman in the mile. In the women’s 5k Larissa Park of the SRR will try to take down her chief rival Amy Hastings. Okay, maybe they don’t have a rivalry but it’s still exciting to be lining up with world class talent.

From the race director:

These athletes collectively make up the fastest evening of races in New England this Spring. There are six Olympians in the field: Leo Manzano, Amy Hastings, Geena Gall-Lara, Anna Willard, Morgan Uceny, and Ugandan Olympian Julius Mutekanga.

Manzano is the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist. Other world medalists include Gall-Lara, who won gold in the 4×800 at the World Relay Championships two weeks ago; and Casimir Loxsom, who won silver at the World Junior Championships in 2010.

Here are the heat sheets, starting with the men’s Mile, Heat A:

Adrian Martinez Men's Mile Heat AMen’s Mile, Heat B:

Adrian Martinez Men's Mile Heat BMen’s 5,000m:

Adrian Martinez Men's 5k Heat AMen’s 800m:

Adrian Martinez Men's 800 Heat AWomen’s Mile:

Adrian Martinez Women's Mile Heat AWomen’s 5,000m:

Adrian Martinez Women's 5k Heat AWomen’s 800m, Heat A:

Adrian Martinez Women's 800 Heat AWomen’s 800m, Heat B:

Adrian Martinez Women's 800 Heat B

Races start tonight at 5:00 pm at Emerson Field in Concord, MA!

Vassallo Continues Hot Streak, Earns Title

Dan Vassallo is in pretty good shape. Pat Rich, who is pretty quick himself, came into the shop the other day talking about a recent 5 mile race where Dan bested him by over a minute. That race was the Backshore 5 Miler back on May 9th in Gloucester, MA. Vassallo won that won handily with a 24:52 solo effort (Rich ran a 25:56 also by himself for second place). Because of performances like that, people were listing him as their pre-race favorite. Here’s our Q&A with the 2014 USATF-NE outdoor track 10,000m champion.

Did you focus your training with a fast 10,000m in mind, or is this a byproduct of training for another peak race?

NB Twilight Vassallo Derderdian

Vassallo cruises alone in the dark, courtesy of Tom Derderian.

I have not really been training for a 10,000, as I’ve just been trying to maintain a good base for a fall marathon and peppering in a few workouts to stay sharp for whenever I feel like hopping into a race.  I PRed in the 10 mile in Virginia in April, and after that, I scoped out the Twilight Meets.  I was happy to see that the meet with the 10,000 didn’t conflict with weddings, bachelor parties, or a 5K road race in June that is pretty important to me, and thrilled to discover that it fell in the two weeks in between the spring MBA and summer MBA semesters – so I could sleep more than 5-6 hours a night.  I guess I’d been focused on the race since I found out it would work with my schedule.  I did a few 10K-specific workouts, but nothing that would take away from my base training.  I felt I had an outside shot at running sub-30:00, but a more realistic expectation of running around 30:15.

This was a pretty big PR for you. When was your last attempt?

My last honest attempt at a 10,000m PR was in April 2011, and I was unable to run what I wanted to.  Since then, as you know, I pretty much spent two years being injured and accumulating ping pong balls.  My 10k PR was at Lone Gull in 2009, when I ran a 30:39.  In fact, most of my PRs were in 2009.  Jess Minty, who also flirted with a 10K PR Saturday, has a pretty similar story, and I think we are both equally thrilled to finally be back to where we were five years ago.

How long were you with eventual winner Byrne?

I warmed up with Jake, and I knew that if the rabbits were going to do 71s, it might be disastrous to stay with the rabbits for an extended period of time.  Also foolish, though, would be trying to run 72s by myself.  So I stayed at the back of the single-file lead pack for maybe seven laps until I couldn’t hold on anymore.  There were a couple of other guys who fell off the pace later, and they fell off harder than I did.  I’m really happy to see Jake run under thirty, as I think that’s his first time under that mark.

What did you think of racing in the dark?

NB Twilight Outtage Derderian

Checking the results by the light of the race clock, courtesy of Tom Derderian.

Running in the dark was cool – much cooler than running in the dark all winter.  I guess it gave me the opportunity to feel the way my college teammates felt during the 4×800 Blackout Relay.  It probably didn’t have an impact on how fast I ran one way or another.

What does it mean to you to be NE champ?

I’m a little bashful to admit that I didn’t even know this was a championship race – just knew it was an opportunity to run a fast 10,000.  But it’s really just another reminder for me about how nice it is to be healthy and running close to my potential every once in a while.  This is probably already my best year since 2009, as I’ve been able to get almost 2,000 miles in so far, PRed three times (10 mi, 5 mi, 10K), and have only run one bad race.  What really matters, though, is whether I can keep this going until November 23rd in Philadelphia.

What’s next?

Next is the Cabot Trail Relay in Nova Scotia with sixteen of my closest friends from Maine.  Depending on how much abuse Smokey Mountain puts on my legs, there may be a few more races in June.  At least one.

Lastly, what were your splits?

No idea what my splits were.  I don’t think I ran any laps slower than 74, and I know my first mile was 4:44.  My five-mile split may have been 24:09?  I just remember calculating how slow I could go while still catching my old PR.

You know you’re in good shape when you’re figuring out how slow you can run and still get a PR. Dan’s time for this race was a 30:16.3.

Nash Takes 10,000m Crown, PR’s

Here’s our Q&A with Melissa Nash, the Bentley grad and 2014 USATF-NE outdoor track 10,000m champion. Melissa ran a 34:36.9 en route to the win on Saturday in a race that was held in the dark due to a power outrage at the track.

Is this your first NE championship?

No, this is not my first NE championship. I have won the 5k indoors twice (2011 and 2013).

Did you jump into this race or is track your focus right now?

Minty Nash NBB Twilight Derderian

Nash leads Minty as they fly around the track in the dark. Courtesy of Tom Derderian.

Track is my current focus and I did have this race be my main focus for the season so I am extremely happy my training came together. Now, I will switch gears and try to run a PR in the 5k in a few weeks.

What is your 10,000m PR?

Previously, my 10k PR was 35:19, which I ran last year at the NBB Twilight meet. Now it is 34:36.9.

It looks like you and teammate Jess Minty worked together. Was that part of a plan going in?

Jess and I were very fortunate to have a pacer through the first 5k, Viviana Hanley from Harvard, then after that we worked through the field until I pulled away with 1.5 miles or so to go.

What did you think of racing in the dark? Do you think it negatively impacted your time?

The dark actually wasn’t an issue for me. I am not sure if I was just really focused on the laps, but I didn’t really notice the darkness until after finishing. I could never see the first place woman, but I was running for time and knew she was too fast for me. With a 43 second PR, I think I would be greedy in saying that it impacted my time.

What does it mean to you to be NE champ?

Being NE Champ is a great feeling and having these championship races recognizes that track in New England is still relevant.

What’s your preferred race: road, track or XC?

XC is my favorite season as the courses and conditions challenge you in a different way.

Congrats to Melissa! The inquiry about racing in the dark wasn’t just a goofy question. One quick look at the results shows that 5 of the 9 women didn’t finish the race (including the pacer). That’s a very high percentage. Did the dark have something to do with that? Did some of them not even start? Did they take a wrong turn in the dark? Hopefully no one got hurt and it was just a fluke thing.

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