Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Conqueror - Late Winter/Early Spring 2018

The Winter 2018 Edition of the Conqueror was compiled and edited by Urvi Mujumdar and Carrie-Anne DeDeo. Special contributions from Shane McNally, Tina Mack, Julie Holt, Jesse Morrow, Nichole Bukowski, and Brian LaValle, as well as many words of wisdom from the peanut gallery in our Boston Marathon feature. Interested in contributing to the next edition? Send an email to

President’s Corner 
Happy Spring, I think. Is it here yet? I can't tell for sure. This winter was full of exciting achievements, awards and PRs (and lots of hardware), saw the addition of new coach Rick Muhr to the team, and included another year in the books for the Gobble, An Ras Mor and of course the Wintah Challenge. Still, I think most of us are ready for milder weather and the arrival of the day around which the running calendar revolves: Marathon Monday.

It is no secret that Marathon Monday is my favorite day of the year, and I am enjoying the buildup to "runner Christmas." I love how our team comes together for our pre-marathon events, I love the adrenaline of our cheer zone at the 30k, and most of all I love the spirit of camaraderie and excitement that the marathon brings. 

In this issue of The Conqueror we have included advice and tips from you all to our Boston Marathoners, and I'll include mine here: my number one recommendation is enjoy the race and take it all in. Boston is unlike any other marathon in the world. Most people will never get the opportunity to have this experience, so make the most of yours! I have so many incredible memories from race day 2015, not the least of which is rounding the bend and seeing the SRR tent at the 30k mark, but my favorite moment was coming up out of the Comm Ave tunnel and realizing that I was about to make the famed right on Hereford, left on Boylston. I still well up thinking about that moment and the last stretch along Boylston Street, where I actually wanted time to slow down so I could savor every painful, wonderful step. Everything after I crossed the finish line is a blur, but I'm glad I took the time to take everything in during the last few minutes of my race.

Whether you're running, volunteering, or spectating, have a fantastic Marathon Monday. Happy Running!

- Julie Holt, President


Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Board of Directors:
President: Julie Holt
Vice President: Nichole Bukowski
Treasurer: Brian Tinger
Secretary: Melissa Glotzbecker
Members at Large: Irene Lanois and Jason Lachapelle

As their first order of business, the incoming Board approved the following appointed coordinators:
Volunteer Coordinators: Liza Neustaetter and Jenny Brown
Membership Coordinator: Dennis Shay
Welcome Wagon: Kari Lavin
Marketing Coordinator: Jesse Morrow
Long Run Coordinators: Deb Downs and Scot DeDeo
Casey's Coordinators: Irene Lanois and Doug Lipinski
Webmaster: Sara Radkiewicz 

SRR welcomes Coach Rick Muir! Rick has been a runner for 43 years and a running coach for 22 years. He has had the honor and privilege of coaching over 10,000 runners to the completion of their first marathons. The following are several of his personal best times:

100K: 8:41:17 (finished fifth in the national championships)
Marathon: 2:33:13
Half-marathon: 1:12:12
10K: 32:25
5K: 16:05

Rick says, "I am extremely excited to join the SRR family of runners. I am looking forward to sharing my running and coaching experience to help others realize their potential and become lifelong runners. I also look forward to learning from the collective experience of everyone at SRR in my pursuit of being the best possible runner and coach!" 

Coach Rick had the special experience of appearing on a panel with Meb Keflezighi in Austin, TX.
(Photo courtesy of Rick Muhr.)

Get ready for the next season of SRR Kids! Co-coordinator Shane McNally shares five reasons you should consider getting involved:

1. Free pizza and 5K! If you volunteer with the Kids Program, you’ll have a great time hanging out with a terrific crew of coaches and coordinators. A team in every sense of the word, we support everyone’s achievements, from the kindergartener running her first mile to the coach aiming for a marathon PR. And after we run a 5K together, we all celebrate with a pizza party!

2. Volunteer and have fun! Looking to get more involved with the club and gain meaningful volunteer experience? Coaching involves a commitment of an hour each week and a 5K at the end of the program. Not available every Wednesday? We’d love the additional help on weeks that you’re free. Or consider pacing a kid at for the end-of-season race. 

3. Share your knowledge and gain coaching experience. As an avid runner, you’ve learned a lot about this wonderful sport. Consider passing this knowledge on to a young person just starting out running. Past coaching experience is not required; your own experience as a runner is sufficient to benefit the kids in the program.

4. Be a kid again! You may be a very respectable doctor, lawyer, or computer programmer during the day, but at SRR Kids, you’ll get the chance to hop like a bunny and play tag like a five year old. 

5. Make a difference! The SRR Kids Program offers you a chance to connect with kids and make a positive difference in their lives. By getting involved with SRR Kids, you’ll help to combat forces like excess screen time and promote a healthy lifestyle. If you want to pass your love of running onto a new generation, join us!

The SRR Kids Program began this spring on Wednesday, March 28, and will run until Saturday, May 19. Practices take place on Wednesdays from 6:15-7:15pm at the Tufts outdoor track. The season ends with a 5K in which kids run with adult pacers. Coordinators Shane and Darren are always looking for coaches to help out. Email for more information. 

Fun with SRR Kids. (Photo courtesy of Shane McNally.)

Upcoming SRR volunteer opportunities:
Marathon Monday Cheer Zone & Elite Water Stop - Saturday, April 14, through Monday, April 16

Check out our weekly runs--Monday night’s Bur-run and Casey’s on Thursdays:

  • Seth Maleri reports from the Bur-run: “Come out on Monday night for a 5K and food afterward. The Burren has a new and improved beer list. Love, Seth.” 
  • Check out the following link to sign up to help out with timing or for upcoming events at our Thursday night weekly run held out of Casey’s Pub in East Somerville.

Become an SRR Ambassador & Share What You Love:
Joining a new community can be intimidating. Sometimes you need someone to ease your fears and make you feel welcome. SRR is launching a brand-new Ambassador Program to support new club members by giving them someone to talk to, ask questions of, and establish a connection with. 

As a club ambassador, you will be given a special t-shirt to wear once a month to a weekly run (the Bur-run, track, or Casey’s) or to one of our races or other events. You will introduce yourself to the community during pre-run announcements, so that people know you are the one to go to with questions and for more information.

This is a great opportunity to support SRR and the community by continuing to do what you already do--run and have fun! If you are a regular Bur-run, track, or Casey’s participant and enjoy helping people to learn more about SRR, please join this new initiative!

We will be kicking the program off after the Boston Marathon. This new program will also count toward volunteer points, which we use as one criterion in selecting recipients of Boston Marathon invitational numbers.

To express your interest, please fill out this Google Form for Community Ambassadors. If you have any additional questions, contact SRR VP Nichole Bukowski at 

Want to Become A More Resilient Runner? 
Our club VP Nichole Bukowski is leading a workshop in Waltham on Sunday, April 8. This workshop is geared for runners of every ability and will help you to feel and perform better! Nichole will teach you how to develop greater physical and mental resilience to up your game and keep you doing what you love with more strength, confidence, and ease.

The workshop will address how, when, and why to incorporate strengthening postures, myo-fasical release, deeper stretches, breathing exercises, and mindset strategies in order to make you more efficient and conditioned in body and mind. During the class, you will be guided through yoga strength and mobility postures and breathing exercises for efficient oxygen intake and carbon dioxide release--resulting in more energy and stamina--as well as mindset preparation exercises to give you the mental edge and post-exercise stretching and rolling routines to maximize the impact of each workout.

Nichole has a rich history of competing in sports and teaching fitness classes. She has completed 22 marathons and is currently training for her 14th Boston Marathon. She finished an IronMan this past fall and played on a Division 1 field hockey scholarship for the Boston College Eagles. She believes the true game-changer that fuels her and continues to ignite the fire of the human spirit within her is a balanced routine of self-care strategies that extend beyond the miles she puts in hitting the pavement, trails, and treadmills. 

Come learn how to become a more resilient athlete, mover, and human being.

April 8, 1-3pm
$35 (workshops are non-refundable)
To sign up, visit either of the following:

(Photo courtesy of Nichole Bukowski. Photo credit: Lucie Wicker Photography.)

Merchandise Update:
Laura Buso reports that buffs are in. They’re $15 each, and they’re a limited run, available from the SRR online store

Special Feature: SRR Runs Boston!

Congrats again to SRR’s ten invitational runners! Find out more about them in our weekly Facebook posts. This year’s invitational runners are:

Mary Booras
Charoma Blyden
Molly Crellin
Ryan Doherty
Chris Lupien
Andy Marinelli
Liza Neustaetter
Sara Radkiewicz
Leevi Raassina 
Dennis Shay

Everything You Need to Know for the Boston Marathon (from marathon coordinator Tina Mack):

Planning is underway for this year's Boston Marathon, taking place on Patriots’ Day, Monday, April 16. Please make sure your membership is up to date at Some perks require six or more months of club membership.  Please let Tina know if you have any questions! (You can reach her at

Course Long Run
The Boston Marathon course long run was a success on Saturday, March 24. Thank you to all drivers and volunteers.

SRR Sean Collier Memorial Run & Pre-Marathon Pasta Dinner
The Sean Collier Memorial Run & Pre-Marathon Pasta Dinner will be held on Thursday, April 12, at Casey's in East Somerville. Runners will leave the bar just after 7pm to run the 4-mile Casey's course. After the run, we’ll come back to the bar for a pasta dinner celebration. We will also be collecting funds for the Sean Collier Scholarship Fund.

The party starts later!!! In a bold move, the BAA has pushed back our Party Bus arrival time. The SRR Party Bus will leave the Assembly Square T Station at 7:45am. No more early wake-ups! 

If you are parking at Assembly, please use the paid MBTA parking lot. The non-MBTA lots at Assembly will tow cars left over three hours. The Party Bus price is $30 (signup). The bus will wait in the Athletes’ Village, so you will have a comfortable place to sit before your start time. There is a bathroom on board the bus. There is no bag check at the start of the marathon. Anything you take on the bus you will have to discard or carry during your run. 

On marathon day, Tina will meet the bus to check everyone in and to pick up any personal items (wallets, phones, etc.) that need to be taken to the Post-Marathon Hospitality Suite.  

SRR Post-Marathon Hospitality Suite
We have a room reserved at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, a short walk from the finish line at 50 Park Plaza, Boston, for you to clean up and catch up after the race. The room will be stocked with post-race food and friends. Tina will be in touch in April with detailed instructions about the hotel and information about bag collection for the room. This perk is available to SRR members (of six-plus months) only.

SRR Elite Water Stop & Cheer Zone
The SRR Elite Water Stop Team will be providing an elite-style water stop for SRR members at the 30K mark. Need to pick up a specific kind of gel, feel like changing your socks after 18 miles, or just want a hug before Heartbreak Hill?  Carrie-Anne, Urvi, and the whole SRR crew will be there for you! You pack up and label your snacks, and Urvi and C-A will make sure you have just what you need to finish the race strong. They will be in touch in April with collection times and locations. Here is the form for runners to sign up in advance with bib numbers, special requests for the cheer zone, and so on. Volunteers can sign up here.

Also located at the 30K, the Cheer Zone is where all the cool kids hang out on marathon day! The Cheer Zone is open to SRR members, families, friends, and non-members. Really, it is just a big SRR party. MORE COWBELL! 

Head to the Burren in Davis Square at 5pm on Marathon Monday to have a pint, scarf some munchies, and talk split times, chafing, and race-day weather. Sign up here if you plan to attend.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on Marathon Monday. Good luck with your training! Still have questions? Email

Advice and Motivation for the Boston Marathon
We asked the peanut gallery for any and all tips, tricks, and motivation for the Boston Marathon Class of ’18 and for those doing other spring marathons. Here’s what we heard from the SRR community! Thank you to those who contributed.

Ryan Doherty:
On Marathon Monday, I am looking forward to the entire experience, from the bus ride to Hopkinton to the crowded start to the epic finish--and everything in between. Since this is my first marathon, I'm excited to see if/how all this insane training actually works! At this point, my motivation is just proving to myself that I can actually do it. (There have been days in training when I doubt myself!)

Kieran Condon: 
I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who volunteers at the 30K mark. I have done Boston the last six years, and through good years and bad years, this location has always inspired me. Even when I have been walking a lot of the back half, I always run through here! This is one of the things that I think makes the club special to me. Look forward to seeing you all again on April 16! Here is hoping it is not too warm…

Kimi Macdonald:
Everyone dreads the Newton Hills but expects them to start after the Mile 18 firehouse. But the first one is over I-95 as soon as you go through Newton Lower Falls. Be smart about that one so you don't burn out before 18 like I always do! If you're having a bad day, don't be a Scrooge, and be sure to soak up the experience--high-five ALL the kids, drink the beer (remember: unopened cans), smile for the cameras, help another runner. You won't always have the opportunity to be on that side of the barriers on Marathon Monday. <3  

There's always some drunk college kid at BC (or BU, let's be honest) wearing a horse mask giving out beer to the runners. Speaking from experience, TAKE AN UNOPENED CAN, NOT A RED SOLO CUP--for your own safety! Breathe deeply before you run past the VFW in Natick. So much cigar smoke ;)

Brian LaValle:
My advice for any first timer? Slow it down, breathe, and find your natural pace. Don’t look at your watch too much, and try to savor the experience. Think of just getting to the SRR tent. The shot of adrenaline from the SRR cheering section will give you the strength you need to keep those legs moving to the finish. 

Warning: This advice is the EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT A COACH WILL TELL YOU TO DO!!! My advice for seasoned marathoners? If the weather is good, go out fast and hold on! You’re gonna hit the wall at some point, so you might as well have minutes in the bank to draw from. Just get to the SRR tent!

Bradley Harris:
No matter what happens on race day--performance of a lifetime, not what you planned, extended walking breaks, or ending your race before the finish line--always remember to hold your head high. You are in the goddamn Boston Marathon!

Scot DeDeo:
My favorite experience with the Boston Marathon begins with one mile to go as you run under the "Boston Strong" bridge. At this point, any pain you’re feeling becomes irrelevant, and the finish pulls you in. As you turn onto Boylston, the world stops. Take in the crowds, the other runners, and the sight of the finish line. You have done it. Running Boston is an accomplishment that no one can ever take away from you. Be proud of yourself.

Sara Saba-Sher:
The best advice I ever received was from Coach Joe. He told me that you shouldn't feel any pain at all the first 13 miles. It should just be pure fun--high-fiving the spectators, smiling, waving, etc. He said if you feel pain, then you need to slow down! That advice is dead-on, and I use it for every marathon. Also, draw strength from the crowd. Everyone in Boston loves Marathon Monday, and their excitement and fun is contagious! I like to think about the Red Sox playing downtown and all the great Boston sports teams!

Also, for me, the best approach is to treat the race like 26 mini mile races. I set a mile pace and try to hit it for each mile consistently. I use a regular Timex watch (I think Garmins are too much information for during a marathon) and hit lap after each mile. Then I only think about the mile I am in--not the previous miles, not the future miles, and not the overall time. I don't stress out tons about being off the pace for a mile or two; I just restart the race with the next mile. 

For the 2013 Boston Marathon, I was coming off a year-plus of injury. I had done a lot of cross training during that injury with Rachel Shanley. She got me to go to yoga, lifting classes, and boot camp much more than I ever would have on my own! Rachel also agreed to run to the SRR support table with me during the marathon (she had a marathon number, but was still injured, so she couldn't run the whole marathon--an uninjured Rachel is way faster than I will ever be!!!). We ran together, and I was feeling great! I was way ahead of my projected time, and Lee says while he was tracking me, he was freaking out that I would crash and crawl through the last few miles! Lee, my parents, and my aunt were sitting in the VIP bleachers at the finish line. Rachel stopped at the SRR table, and I was exhilarated passing my teammates and hearing their words of encouragement (hands down the best part of the Boston Marathon!). As I ran through the hills in Newton, I was feeling really strong and still way ahead of my projected pace. I was getting nervous that I would crash at some point but just went with it. All of a sudden, this man stepped out of the crowd. He was wearing a 1980s track suit (he looked like a character in Hot Tub Time Machine or something), and he made eye contact and pointed straight at me and said, "You’ve got this!" It was the weirdest sensation; I got tingles throughout my entire body, and I clearly remember thinking, "I do. I have this." I couldn't stop smiling. I picked up the pace even more and ended with a PR and a negative split. I saw Claudia and Lee at the finish, and I told them immediately, "I had an out-of-body experience during the marathon." They laughed and congratulated me, but it was a feeling, I will never forget. I had run about ten minutes faster than the years prior (which turned out to be a crucial ten minutes), and my parents and aunt left the bleachers immediately to meet me at a designated meeting spot. My dad didn't want to hang around, so we immediately left. While we were in the car in the parking garage, the bombs went off, and the rest is history. People think that I remember that out-of-body experience because of what happened after the marathon, but Claudia and Lee can vouch that I said it before anything bad happened. I do feel like I had the marathon I did to get my family away from the finish. I wish everyone had been so lucky that day. 

Good luck to the runners! Boston is an experience like no other! I can't wait to get back out there :)

Emma Kosciak:
This is a tough course, and most folks in fact do not run well here. (The stats are something like only 10% of BQers run a BQ time at Boston). This is, of course, with the exception of Deb Downs who for some reason completely owns Boston like a boss. So, don't be upset if your "goal time" doesn't happen. Trust me, you'll be in good company when you go back to the club and tell them your woes. (Joe is famous for saying he is only 1 for 9.) It happens to all of us. However, with the right mentality, it could still be the best race of your life--the hometown crowd, the history, make sure to SOAK IT IN! I started at a BQ time in 2013, but cramping got the better of me. My 16-year-old cousin jumped in to run a few miles with me (this was before the bombings of course), and with all the family and friends we saw along the way, we ended up having the time of our lives! Read the infamous blog of Jesse Morrow for some inspiration on how to handle that moment when everything you've trained for turns against you, and it turns into an amazing day after all. 

Urvi Mujumdar:
The experience of running or cheering Boston with SRR is unparalleled! Whether you’re at the pre-marathon events at the Bur-run or Casey’s, doing the final track workout (Lou Ristaino), shopping at the expo, cheering or receiving cheers at the 30K--it’s amazing and surreal. I want to give special shout outs to my hubby, Jesse Morrow, who always puts his doubts aside and gives it his all AND to my new training buddy, Ryan Doherty, who has lifted me up with her dedication and love for the sport. I wish them and the rest of the SRR crew a special Boston experience. I also want to take a moment to thank the board and SRR’s marathon coordinator, Tina Mack, and all the designees and volunteers for putting the whole SRR Boston experience together! It truly takes a village, and it’s a fun one!

Sarah Bolt:
Marathon day is long and stressful - and fun and exciting! - even before you get to the start line! Be mentally prepared for a long morning, stay calm and save your mental and physical energy as much as possible. Try not to let the stressed out runners around you stress you out even more! Go into the day with your own vision and goals and stick to it. Everyone will be chattering about their paces and strategies, but trust your own training and game plan!  

Victor Gonzalez:
Best piece of advice I can give all the first timers is to have a small disposable water bottle with you at the starting line of the race. The first few water stops are chaos, and when you come upon them,  all hell breaks loose, it's like the parting of the red sea. Everyone is running left and right to grab water, so the idea is as everyone runs outwardly, you as a runner with his/her own disposable bottle of water run to the center... it's amazing how clear the pathway becomes as everyone else is scrambling. The crowd starts to thin and the water stops start to clear up by mile 3 or so, so you just need a water bottle large enough to get you through the first few stops. Little 8 oz gatorade bottle will do the trick, doesn't haven't to be anything big or fancy. Good luck all of you! 

Mariah Tinger:
When you reach mile 11(ish) and the Wellesley scream tunnel (you’ll hear it coming!), go to the right for kisses or to the left so you don’t get trampled by those going for kisses! Either way, it’s a lot of fun! And you’ll know you are almost halfway done! Seeing teammates at the SRR 30K tent is another highlight--I yearn for those yellow and black balloons! The energy and enthusiasm from SRR will give you a boost, and the finish will be practically in sight. To quote an SRR great (Kevin Guarnotta), a marathon is a 10K with a 20 mile warmup. Throw down when you hit Mile 20! Know that it will probably hurt, but that you will find strength you didn’t know you had. The combo of these two makes the success of finishing taste even sweeter. Go get it!

Toe the Line - Upcoming Races

USATF Grand Prix
The USATF New England Grand Prix kicked off on March 18 with the New Bedford Half-Marathon, followed by the Nealon 15K two weeks later on March 31. SRR paid club members’ entries to the Nealon 15K (and one other USATF Grand Prix race) this season.
To be eligible for SRR paid entry for other races, you must be a current member of USATF with SRR declared as your USATF member club.  Also, consider doing 5 of the races to have SRR pay for your USATF membership next year. 
Here is the full USATF Grand Prix Schedule for 2018.

SRR Club Grand Prix 
We have currently completed three of ten races. Though there are seven more to go, you only need to finish six to make the final cut. Race #4 was the New Bedford Half Marathon, and Race #5 is James Joyce Ramble 10K, coming up on April 29. 

Here are the SRR Grand Prix Results through the first three races.

Race Recaps
Here are some highlights of what SRR members have been up to since our Fall Edition. 

An Ras Mor 5K - Sunday, March 25
An Ras Mor is SRR’s annual spring club-managed race. This year’s race took place on Sunday, March 25, in the heart of Cambridge. Zelus Beer provided some of their new beers for the finish line post-race party, Heartbreak Hill Running Company provided the race headquarters, and the new winter hats were a hit. 

As you know, our club’s race proceeds go directly back into the local community, so our races need your support to keep making this happen! The more support we can gain from the strong SRR community, the greater impact we are all able to have.
Our charitable giving goes to the Cambridge Rindge and Latin Track Team and the JLK Sanfilippo Foundation.

The An Ras Mor Committee would like to give a special shout out to Laura Buso, who recruited over 30 runners through marketing the race to her colleagues and a local charity she volunteers with.

The entire An Ras Mor Race Committee thanks you for your support and time. 

Congrats to the SRRs who took to New Bedford!
SRR had 11 men break 1:20 which has only happened once before in the club. PRs were set by Patrick Haneberg, Kyle Pochini, Brian Ketterer, Ryan Doherty, Liza Neustaetter, Sarah Canterman, John Longo, Brian Cullinan, Sarah Cullinan, Dennis Shay, and Dan Forward. Karen Encarnacion also took third in her age group! 

Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler: Another Medal Hoard for the Black and Gold (by Jesse Morrow)
At the late-night Tuesday track session at MIT, Kieran was not overly optimistic on repeating his 2017 Martha’s Vineyard victory.  

Toledo Steve positioned himself up at Mile 4 to play SRR photographer before his annual pilgrimage to Offshore Brewing. As the first runners approached, the lead cyclist whipped around the corner and warned the detail officer: “Here comes the first runner; and, he’s hauling a**.” It was not Kieran.

In the annual trek to Vineyard Haven, the Runners did not require as much fortitudinem as usual. Saturday was a mild dry day, especially for the race that requests “No Weenies.” The mid-winter day was about the same temperature as the first day of spring. While the number of 20-miler finishers has decreased in the past few years, the new relay option saw 75 teams participate. Included in that total were Somerville’s own Runner Twins (Scott A. and Shark Tank) and the Sethcast Audience (President and former President, Julie and Urvi).

Sixteen miles after passing Steve, Kieran’s prediction turned out to be correct. A Michael Schroeder from the Tar Heel State had beaten him by three and a half minutes.  But Kieran still represented the Black and Gold by finishing in second overall and winning his age group.

Joining Kieran atop the Age Group podium were first-place winners Dennis Shay, Brian Culla and Deb Downs. Erin Morin, Carrie-Anne, Jesse, and Dirk also finished with places in their divisions. 

Later that evening, SRR congregated at Offshore Brewing to share battle stories. In all we had 15 runners and two relay teams spanning the gamut of our all-abilities club, from Kieran at second overall to Sethcast Maleri who came in 173rd. Each of us shared our respective victories over Beachnut Road Browns and Lazy Frog IPAs.

(Photo credit: Julie Holt)

Shout-out to Emma Kosciak who placed ninth in her age group and 17th overall at Xterra Trail Race World Championships in 2017.  

(Photo credit: Rod Azadan.)

Andy Marinelli was featured in Ultrarunning magazine Top 100K female athletes in 2017! 

2018 SRR Wintah Challenge
Despite the forecast being colder than Mars, the Wintah Challenge continued in early January with an abbreviated “Feats of Strength” followed by brunch and awards at Casey’s.
(Photo credit: Laurie Gagnon and Deb Downs, Wintah Challenge Committee Members.)

(Photo credit: Laurie Gagnon and Deb Downs, Wintah Challenge Committee Members.)

Annual awards presented at the post-holiday bash (recap by President Julie Holt):

Please extend your congrats to Deb Downs and Todd Prokop, the 2017 Steve Burton Most Improved Runner Award recipients. Liza Neustaetter, Doug Lipinski, Chris Smith, and Barbara Grandberg were recognized for being outstanding volunteers in 2017. We gave appreciation awards to Bradley Harris for his work taking over the Gobble Gobble Gobble, Mark Duggan for his contributions to our race committees, and Carrie-Anne DeDeo for her ongoing commitment to the club in various capacities.

Dennis Shay was our 2017 Rookie of the Year, and Charoma Blyden was presented with the Grit Award for her toughness in sticking it out to finish 50 miles at the TARC Fall Classic. Paul Nelson and Pensri Pilotte were given the Tom Cole Award for their efforts to photograph SRR runners at the Boston Marathon and throughout the year, keeping Tom's legacy alive.

Finally, Steve Vaitones was the 2017 Don Molloy Unsung Hero Award recipient for his tireless service to SRR throughout the years. The next time you see him, be sure to thank him for everything he does for us (and he does everything for us!).

(Photo credit: Laura Buso.)

(Photo credit: Laura Buso.)

SRR Runs Philly: Shout-out to Dennis Shay for his amazing PR! He cut 20 minutes off his debut marathon time (at Newport in April 2017).

(Photo courtesy of Victor Gonzalez.)

Gobble Recap by Bradley Harris

The 2017 Gobble Gobble Gobble was another successful running of SRR’s premier race event. With our largest ever field--we had 2700+ finishers this year--and a new outdoor beer garden, we were able to raise funds to support SRR’s programs as well as donate $38K to Somerville Homeless Coalition, Somerville Track PAC, Somerville Auxiliary Police, and the Sean Collier Fund.

We are always looking for new committee members or families to be featured as our favorite family. If you’re interested in either (or both!), email

Here’s a photo of Laurance Stuntz from this year’s favorite family with his official G3 turkey!

(Photo courtesy of Bradley Harris.)

Member Spotlight - Spice Bean

Maybe you've seen her sprinting at the start of the Bur-run, or perhaps you've almost tripped over her while she catches up on some urgent pee-mail in the middle of the Casey’s Thursday night run. Undoubtedly, you've seen her sad puppy dog eyes gaze longingly at you while you try to enjoy a post-run piece of pizza or bowl of beef stew. This fun-size canine has been called "The Queen of Somerville" by SRR member Jackie Silago, and she certainly lives up to her name.

In the four years that Spice Bean has lived in Somerville, she has frequented many locations typically reserved for human counterparts. Spice regularly attends CrossFit workouts with her human, Jon Bean. She has kayaked down the Charles River and even attended a Red Sox game where she met pitcher Joe Kelley. "He wanted to pat my head so I let him," remarked Spice. She later confessed, "I was hoping he would give me a treat." But what is Spice's favorite activity?

Spice reports that, in addition to running, she enjoys lounging in the sun, rolling in foul smelling patches of grass (for some unknown reason her human always interrupts this pastime), chasing sticks, swimming at the Fells, cuddling, being carried, and defending her home from the neighbor's dog, Rosie. "She knows what she did," stated Spice after being asked why she has such a dislike of Rosie.

In addition to her many hobbies, Spice also enjoys being a member of the Somerville Road Runners. She considers herself a full-fledged member of the SRR although she has yet to pay any dues, stating, "My human takes care of my finances." Spice has been an avid runner for three years and has completed the Freedom 5K and MOM’s Run, where she came in first in her species. To novice runners, she offers the advice, "Go slow and enjoy the process of running," and, most importantly, "Always wait and make sure that everyone has gotten at least one serving of food before going back for seconds."

Quote of the season:

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more." 

- Florence Griffith Joyner

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Conqueror - Fall 2017

The Fall 2017 Edition of the Conqueror was compiled and edited by Urvi Mujumdar and Carrie-Anne DeDeo. Special contributions from Bradley Harris, Deb Downs, Scott Abrams, Jesse Morrow, Julie Holt, Nichole Bukowski, Joe O’Leary, Laura Buso, Irene Lanois, Shane McNally, Victor Gonzalez, Tim Blanchard, and Doug Lipinski. Interested in contributing to the winter edition? Send an email to

President’s Corner

It’s no secret that Fall is my favorite season for running. Anyone who’s heard me whining about the heat and humidity finds me pleasantly quiet--cheerful, even!--about the weather as soon as the temps drop and the air gets crisp. On a not-very-fall-like-day in Vermont back in October, I was at mile two of the Harpoon Oktoberfest 3.6-mile race when I felt a sharp pull in my left hamstring. The race was already a hot and humid mess, so I took a quick break to shake it out while walking a few feet. As I did, two runners passed me. One said loudly to the other, “Some people just don’t know how to seed themselves in the corral, and they end up walking.” Those of you who know me know that this aggression would not stand, man. I quickly started up, dropped them, and never saw them again.

A half mile later, I saw three people running abreast up ahead. They were taking frequent walking breaks. As I passed them, I heard one say to the others, “Wow guys…I had no idea that six weeks of chemo would take so much out of me.” He was a cancer survivor, it was his first race post-chemo, and his friends were sticking with him in support.

The point of my story is that you never know what kind of day anyone else on the course is having. You never know what someone has overcome just to be out there. One of the things I love best about our club is that we support each other regardless of speed. Of course we all get wrapped up in PRs and BQs and paces at track -- but at the end of the day, we support each other as fellow runners. I like to think that we support non-SRR runners too -- a quick “nice work” as we pass others in races, a high five to the guy who kicked just a little harder and crossed the finish line a split second ahead of us, a moment of appreciation shared with the runner next to us on a scenic training run. Running takes heart, and SRR’s got a lot of it. Let’s make sure the world knows that.
On a less philosophical note, this fall season has seen many great performances, which you’ll read about below, and as we hurtle toward the holiday season we look forward to some of our club members’ favorite events:

  • The Gobble Gobble Gobble committee is hard at work planning a great race that always brings the SRR family together as well as serving as a long-standing tradition for many local families as they start their Thanksgiving holiday. The Gobble also raises tens of thousands of dollars for the Somerville Homeless Coalition and other local charities each year. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up to run and/or volunteer. We always need volunteers who are not running, so if you want to be a superhero, be sure to let us know!
  • Mill Cities Relay, held on December 3, is another excellent opportunity to run with old friends and meet new ones. Many members say this is the first event they participated in with SRR or how they met some of their best running buddies.
  • Finally, keep an eye out for our annual post-holiday bash, date TBD (typically late January). It’s a celebration at which we recognize running accomplishments and outstanding members, and it’s a chance to see what we all look like when we’re not in sweat-drenched running clothes (we clean up nice!).

A highly anticipated personal favorite “event” of mine is receiving the Boston Marathon invitational numbers granted to us by the B.A.A. each year. Our volunteer support at B.A.A. events throughout the year is often rewarded with these coveted marathon spots, and I hope this year will be no different. Should we be awarded numbers this month, I will post instructions on how current SRR members in good standing can apply. The board seeks candidates who have contributed their time volunteering at races, on committees, at weekly runs, and as part of our many programs and community initiatives. We are always proud to be able to reward our active members with this amazing opportunity! So keep your fingers crossed, and I will keep checking the mailbox.

Thanks for another great year, SRR! I hope to see you out there on the run.

Julie Holt
President, 2017-2018


  • Just a reminder that SRR’s old Yahoo! Group was replaced by a Google Group with a new email address this past summer and that we have a new email address.
  • As noted above planning for the 21st Annual Gobble Gobble Gobble Thanksgiving Race is well under way, and we are on track to sell out once again. Race director Bradley Harris notes that Somerville Police Department has called us "the best-run race in the city." That distinction would never be possible without the amazing contributions of our volunteers. If you are able please consider signing up to help out before, during, and/or after the race (or all three!).
  • Do you like parties? Keep an eye out for the Save the Date for the annual SRR post-holiday bash, typically held in late January.  Email Julie Holt at if you are interested in joining the planning committee!
  • Indoor track season at Tufts kicked off on Tuesday, November 7th. Thanks to coach Joe O’Leary for continuing to organize and run the workouts for 10 years and running!  You can choose to add track when renewing or signing up for your club membership. This year, track fees return to the pre-2017 price of $50.
    • This fee includes indoor track guaranteed through January 16, 2018 at Tufts track. After January 16, track membership will include EITHER a) weekly indoor track sessions through the rest of the winter at Tufts or another local indoor facility OR b) an alternative program, TBD, comprised of weekly sessions that may include a combination of indoor track workouts at a local facility and coached training sessions that cover topics crucial to healthy running, such as strength training, mobility, heart rate training, nutritional fueling, adjusting training and racing plans for weather conditions, and injury prevention (topics subject to change). Track fees also include outdoor track (approximately March through October 2018).

  • Join us for weekly runs on Mondays and Thursdays! Casey’s coordinator Irene Lanois tells us what we have look to in the late fall and early winter:
    • Prediction run November 9th (prizes will be awarded)
    • Self-timed Thanksgiving on November 23rd
    • Holiday themed cook-off on December 14th
    • Hot beverage run on December 21st

  • Co-merchandise coordinator Laura Buso tells us what’s new at the SRR Store: We ordered a restock of men's black size medium singlets. Samples of running jackets are on their way, and along with winter may come knit pom pom hats!

Life in the Fast Lane: Here are some special moments from our weekly runs and track workouts (Photo credits: Laura Buso)

Toe the Line
  • As mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter, the 21st Annual Gobble Gobble Gobble will take place on Thanksgiving Day (11/23). Volunteers are needed, and volunteers who are not running are in high demand!
  • In the pursuit of camaraderie and bricks, SRR will be fielding teams once again in all categories at the annual Mill Cities Relay on 12/3. Click here to sign up! Teams will be announced around Thanksgiving weekend.
  • SRR is also fielding teams for the Cambridge Half-Marathon on 11/19 and Yulefest 5K on 12/10 (the first SRR Grand Prix race!).
  • Speaking of which, mark your calendars for the next SRR Grand Prix! Here is the scoop from your co-coordinators Victor Gonzalez and Tim Blanchard:

We are very excited to announce this upcoming SRR Grand Prix schedule. To put the GRAND into Grand Prix and add some race regularity, we have put together a ten-race series with races once a month December through September 2018. We’ve included a variety of race distances, from 5Ks to a half-maratho--a total of 49.8 miles if you complete all 10 races.

2017-2018 SRR GP Race Schedule:

Race 1: Cambridge 5K YuleFest, Cambridge, MA - December 10, 2017
Race 2: Wicked Frosty 4-Miler (10th Annual), Salem MA - January 1, 2018
Race 3: Super Sunday 5-Miler (not the 5k), Cambridge MA - February 4, 2018
Race 4: New Bedford Half-Marathon, New Bedford MA - March 18, 2018
Race 5: James Joyce Ramble 10K, Dedham MA - April 2018
Race 6: Run to Remember 5-Miler (not the Half), Boston MA - May 27, 2017
Race 7: 26x1 Mile Club Challenge Relay (1 Mile), Medford MA - June 2018
Race 8: Summer Classic 5K, Cambridge MA - July 2018
Race 9: Race to the Row 5K, Somerville MA - August 2018
Race 10: Lone Gull 10K, Gloucester MA - September 2018

2017-2018 SRR Grand Prix Rules/Regulations:

1. The 2016-2017 Tom/Tom method of scoring will be used for all races in this series.

2. For each participant, the best of 8 races will count towards the final standings. You must run a minimum of 6 races to compete for age group awards. (If you run 9 or 10 races, your best 8 races will be computed in your final score.)

3. Your age as of the first race on December 10, 2017 will be the age and age group for the remainder of the Grand Prix. Those who turn 20, 30, 40, 50, 60+ before this date will stay in their old age groups.

4. Participation prizes will be award those who finish 6 and 8 races. Top 3 overall and top 3 age group winners will also receive awards.

5. Though some of the races listed offer multiple distances, only the race distance specified above will count towards your Grand Prix points.

6. To promote volunteering at our SRR races (26x1 and Race to the Row), +5 points will be awarded to those who volunteer during the race. If you run and volunteer only your race points will be calculated.

Please check the SRR Facebook page and Google Group for race discount codes and USATF race entries paid for by the club. This information will be posted as it becomes available.

  • SRR Runs Boston (April 16, 2018): Running the Boston Marathon as part of the SRR squad is a truly unparalleled experience. Whether you’re volunteering, cheering, or running, stay tuned for more details to come in early 2018!

Fall Recaps
Since the summer edition hit the press, SRRs have been in action both locally and around the world, setting new PRs and BQs and bringing home the hardware! Here is a round-up of SRR repping at races near and far this fall.

It’s not always about running! We enjoyed Runners’ Night at a Red Sox game this August.

Photo credit: Urvi Mujumdar

The 5th annual Race to the Row took place in August. Words of gratitude from the race director, Scott Abrams:

  • If you volunteered for the race either on Saturday or Sunday, I gratefully applaud your time, generosity, and efforts. As with every year, this race is put on by a village, not by just a committee. So many of you chipped in wherever you saw the need. The Somerville Road Runners has some extraordinary members.
  • Thank you to my awesome race committee of Tim Morin, Julie Holt, Mark Duggan, Carrie-Anne DeDeo, and Laurie Gagnon. Also thank you to Jesse Morrow for taking over the Fast Mile, Jenn Fonda for leading the Kids Fun Run, and Mark Duggan for again being the 5K big cheese. These guys took on so many different responsibilities over the last six months, and everyone chipped in with enthusiasm, especially on race day. Thanks to Irene Lanois for ensuring our volunteer turnout was successful. And one more shout out to Steve Vaitones who comes out every year and helps out in countless ways.
  • While I couldn't award SRR the fastest 5K team award, SRR definitely was the fastest team. Congratulations to Patrick Haneberg (who came in 2nd overall), Chris Smith, John Wichers, Jason Pollutro, and Sarah Norcott. We hope you had a fantastic time and will return next year for the 6th annual Race to the Row.

Left: The awesome Race to the Row volunteers
Right: Patrick Haneberg (2nd) and Jon Cusick (3rd)
Photo credits: Laura Buso

SRR Grand Prix 2017

Co-coordinator Tom Breider shares his report:

The 2017 SRR Grand Prix awards night took place after a Thursday night Casey's run in September.

This year’s Grand Prix saw 119 SRR members participate in at least one race and over 40 people compete in three or more races. The most popular race was Yulefest with 65 SRR participants. In total SRR members ran 880 miles over the six races.

Awards were presented to SRR members who competed in three races, plus a second bonus prize for people who competed in five races. This year's participation prizes were Somerville Road Runners custom shoelaces. Keep an eye out for these yellow-and-black laces at your next race.

The overall female and male winners in the series were Erin Morin and Kieran Condon, followed by Deb Downs and Paulo Amaral in 2nd place and Florentien deRuiter and Matthew Kiesz in 3rd place.

Congratulations to the Age Group winners: Barbara Grandberg, Tresa Casaletto, Kate O'Malley, Carrie-Anne DeDeo, Ryan Doherty, Erik Bok, Patrick Haneberg, Tom Breider, Tomas Bok, and David Oldham.

A special mention to the people who competed in five or more races: Erin Morin, Kate O'Malley, Carrie-Anne DeDeo, Nicole Tateosian, Megan Prokop, Barbara Grandberg, Tresa Casaletto, Kieran Condon, Paulo Amaral, Matthew Kiesz, Tomas Bok, Patrick Haneberg, Tom Breider, Ryan McCracken, David Oldham, Victor Gonzalez, Dennis Shay, and Vittorio Montanari.

The full list of results can be found here.

Those who have not yet received their prizes can collect it from the SRR track session on Tuesdays or email

Thank you to everybody took part in this year’s race series. Don't forget that the first race of the 2018 SRR Grand Prix will be Yulefest in Harvard Square on Sunday December 10.

Top stat of the series: one second. That’s what Kieran Condon’s victory margin was over Paulo Amaral in the men’s overall competition. Kieran finished one second ahead of Brian Cullinan in the 26x1 relay. Had Kieran finished one second slower, Paulo would have won the competition.

Ultra Corner
In ultra action, Greg Soutiea and Barbara Grandberg brought back some hardware at the Sweltering Summer 8-Hour in August, Andy Marinelli was the first female in her first-ever 100K at the Tesla Hertz trail races in September, and Doug Lipinski took 4th in his age group at the Vermont 50K in September. Greg then went on to win the Can Lake 50M in early October! Mae Polson came in second at the TARC Fall Classic 50K, and Adena Schutzberg completed Javelina 100-Miler.  Another shout-out goes to Scot DeDeo who finished the Hennepin Hundred (yep, 100 miles) and also raised nearly $15,000 for Miles to Defeat Neurofibromatosis. Congrats, all!

Left: Barbara Grandberg and Greg Soutiea sweltering this summer (photo credit: Greg Soutiea).
Right: Andy Marinelli winning her first 100K (photo credit: Andy Marinelli).

Here’s a closer look at the Vermont 50K from Doug Lipinski: It was a tough day for an ultra, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees even on the wooded trails around Mt. Ascutney. Doug managed to finish his second 50k in 5:25:29, good enough for 13th overall and 4th in his age group. He even took home a bottle of Vermont maple syrup as an age-group prize.

USATF Grand Prix
The fall season kicked off with unseasonably warm weather at the Lone Gull 10K, part of the USATF Grand Prix. Despite the warm temps, SRR had a great day, coming out in full force with the men’s open, master, and senior teams placing 8th overall and the men’s veteran team placing 5th! The women’s open and master teams both took 11th.

Lone Gull: A perfect beach day in late September!
Photo credit: Urvi Mujumdar

Coach Joe O’Leary shares some USATF highlights:

  • As mentioned above, we had men representing in the open, masters, seniors, and veterans category at Lone Gull.  It’s not often that happens!
  • Congratulations to SRR's 2017 USATFNE Grand Prix Iron Runners Tim Blanchard, Christopher Klucznik, and Dan McCarthy. An Iron Runner is someone who runs all seven races in the Grand Prix (from 5k to Marathon) in a single year--not an easy task!
  • Liz Cooney won her age group in the entire series!
  • Barbara Grandberg, Michael Quinn, and Noel Clarke all ran five races in the series.
  • PRs were set almost across the boards at Baystate, the marathon distance in the USATF Grand Prix. The men’s open and masters’ teams each placed 6th. Chris Klucznik, Kieran Condon, and Karen Encarnacion each placed in their AG!

  • Upper left to bottom right: Chris Klucznik placed 8th in the marathon with a huge PR, Todd Prokop coming in for a PR, Karen Encarnacion placing in her age group, Kieran Condon huge PR and last but not least,  coach Joe O’Leary! (photo credit: Urvi Mujumdar)
Post-race victory is the best! Here’s the crew relaxing and reveling after Baystate. (photo credit: Urvi Mujumdar)

Did you know if you run five Grand Prix races, SRR will pay your USATF membership the following year? If you run all seven Grand Prix races, you receive the coveted Iron Runner jacket. Check this out for for more info.

Summer Long Run Series

The summer long run series came to an end. Some words from co-coordinator Deb Downs: Thanks to all who attended one or all of this summer's amazingly beery long runs! And many thanks to our hosts:

    • Scot DeDeo - Spring Scotoberfest - May
    • Carrie-Ann DeDeo - Viv's Invitational - June
    • Tim & Erin Morin - Summer Beer Run & BBQ - July
    • Herbert Lin - Long Run & Pool Party - August
    • Nichole Bukowski & Brian LaValle - Long Run & Corn Hole - August
    • Deb Downs & Steve Smrcina - No Frills Charles River 30k, Half, & 10k - September
    • Scott Abrams & Julie Holt - Fall Scottoberfest - November

    No Frills Charles River Run (photo credit: Deb Downs)

    What's next?  You tell us! Want to host a long run during the upcoming Boston Marathon training season? Email, and we'll add you to the calendar.

    Other SRR Accomplishments
    • Our SRR down in Texas, Emma Kosciak, qualified for the Xterra Trail Racing Championships in Utah and placed 7th overall in the 21K.  She is going on to the Worlds in Hawaii this December!
    • Did you know SRR has been either a platinum or gold sponsor of the Somerville Homeless Coalition 5K for several years? Or that at this year’s race Chris Antunes was the overall winner?
    • Congrats to Nichole Bukowski, who has worn many hats in SRR club leadership (currently Vice President and part of the long run and marketing crews). Nichole recently completed an Ironman-distance triathlon at Ironman Chattanooga.  She is our awesome veep!
    • In other Ironman news, Billy Hafferty competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, finishing in 10:07, placing 89th in his AG in the world!
    • Congrats to Deb Downs, who won this year’s Falmouth in the Fall Road Race!

    Casey's Corner

    • Casey's Streak Winners: Most consecutive runs were run by Victor Gonzalez and Dennis Shay who ran each week except for the last week for a total of 10 weeks in a row! Most nonconsecutive runs were run by Tom Breider, Shane McNally, and Doug Lipinski, each running an impressive 9 weeks!
    • Additional prizes were awarded to the following 5 people for running PRs during the streak: Matt Kiesz, Doug Lipinski, Sean Finn, Ryan Doherty, and Liza Neustaetter. Liza ran three PRs over the course of the streak!
    • The International Cook-Off was held on October 19. The crowd seemed very pleased with the offerings. Voting was close, and after a long deliberation, the Casey's committee declared a tie between the Korean Bulgogi and the Polish Gołąbki
    • The first Casey's Kids’ Fun was held on July 27. This year’s race was geared toward the toddler age group; however, we are looking to possibly expand to older kids next year.

    The next generation of SRR representing the Mack, Harris, Crellin, Morin, and Caffrey families!

    (Photo credits: Irene Lanois)

    Volunteer Update

    • Irene Lanois serves as volunteer coordinator. Here’s what she had to say about the club’s volunteer turnout this late summer and fall:
      • Race to the Row had a great showing of awesome volunteers who helped to ensure that the race ran smoothly, including those who helped with set-up, as course marshals, handing out pizza and ice cream, and cleaning up. These volunteers were truly the superstars of the day!
      • Volunteers at the BAA Half-Marathon a terrific group of SRR veterans and brand new members! While the rain held out for much of the day, we ended up pretty wet during the second half of the race. Despite the rain, the volunteers all had a smile and encouraging words to share with runners as they finished. Check out the BAA’s video of our volunteer crew handing out finisher’s medals at the Half.
      • SRR members also volunteered and staffed an information table at the Somerville Homeless Coalition's 5K on October 7.

    Fall Marathon Spotlight

    • SRR in Chicago (October 8) - A special message from Deb Downs: Thanks to all of the awesome SRRs who made the Chicago Marathon feel like a local race! Special spectators Amie Gauthier, Jesse Morrow, Liz Cooney, Steve Smrcina, Melissa Glotzbecker, Liz Caffrey, Kathy Gorvin, Kimi Macdonald, and Dean Rapaport: You are the bomb! And, of course, Steve Pepe popped out of nowhere around mile 15. It's likely that he personally knew 10-15% of the field.

    A double rainbow appears in Chicago, meaning lots of luck coming SRR’s way! (Photo credit: Deb Downs)

    • SRR at the Cape Cod Marathon Relay (October 29) - Eighteen runners on four SRR teams took to the Cape Cod Marathon course once again this year after taking first place last year. Though the overall team cup was just out of reach, the SRR Mixed Open took first place and SRR Women came in second in their respective categories.

    Top: The women’s team took second (Photo credit - Melissa Glotzbecker).
    Bottom: The mixed open team took first (Photo credit - Laura Buso)

    • Not quite a marathon: Boo Run (October 30) - The seventh running of the Boo Run was good, spooky fun! Thank you to Paul Nelson for organizing and for photographing the event. Thanks also to Seth Maleri for kicking off the run, the volunteers along the way, and those who hosted stops at their houses.  

    (Photo credit: Paul Nelson)

    SRR Kids Program

    Fall Season Recap
    SRR Kids finished the fall season at the Boston River Run 5K. Despite the cold, there were many special moments. Some kids finished in under 30 minutes. Several ran their first 5K, which is a special occasion in the life of any runner. Even some very little kids ran and did themselves and their families proud.

    Sound like fun? The Kids Program is always looking for coaches and volunteers to join the fun and help kids enjoy running too. Practices for the spring session will begin in March at the Tufts Track. 

    Program coordinators Shane and Darren would like to thank pacers Kari Lavin, Barbara Grandberg, and Isaac Burleigh, and prior Kids Program coordinator Jenn Fonda. Let’s not forget the job done by the all-star coaching team of Kari Bender, Rob Cocca, Mary Booras, and Liza Neustaetter.

    (Photo credit: Darren Cormier)

    Member Spotlight: Victor Gonzalez

    (Photo credits: Victor Gonzalez #FYeah)

    How long have you been running and a part of SRR?  

    Member since January 1, 2007. It was a New Year's resolution to join as a way of mentally getting back into running after taking 18 months off. It worked, I PRed at VCM that spring!

    Where are you from? 

    Brooklyn, NY

    Fave race and why?
    The New York City Marathon. It's home. I have fond memories of watching the race as a kid with my mom on television. Wistfully hoping that maybe one day I'd be able to run it. Have run it seven times, though the lottery itself doesn't love me, I'm one for 15 in it, earning me the nickname from my friends of being the "Susan Lucci" of the New York Marathon Lottery.

    Most unusual thing seen on a run?
    I run with blinders on, my own private little bubble of hell. I'm always taken aback when someone comments on how beautiful the course is. WHAT? Ain't nobody got time for that! If you're noticing the view, then you're doing it wrong!

    Recent PR or race accomplishment? Finished up my 15th Reach the Beach, as team captain of the Fellowship of the Bubblewrap. I'm very proud of our team retention. Four of us have done all 15 years, another six have done 14 and the other three spots have been filled by runners that have run at least seven or eight of them. What's really interesting is that in all that time, the vans have never swapped, so everyone in Van 1 has always been in Van 1 and the same with Van 2.

    Why do you love being a part of SRR?
    The camaraderie. I love being at the 30K water stop [at the Boston Marathon] and cheering each and every SRR as they run by. That excitement is genuine and often exhausting.
    Running shoe of choice?
    It's fairly well documented that I'm a Nike whore. I train in Lunarglides and race in Lunaracers, though lately I have returned to running in Mizuno Waveriders as well.

    What is something that your teammates might not know about you?
    I have a tatt on my bum of my first race bib number.

    Quote of the Season 

    “It’s a moment I’m trying to soak up and savor. This is the moment I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl.” -- Shalane Flanagan

    Shalane Flanagan is the first woman in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon. She won in 2:26:53 (blazingly fast!). Congratulations, Shalane! Your spirit, perseverance and wise words inspire runners everywhere.