Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Conqueror - Autumn 2018

Autumn Running - Joe Lauer at the 2014 Manchester Marathon
photo by Thomas Cole

President's Corner

Julie Holt, President
Is there any better season for running than autumn? (Spoiler alert: there is not.) Crisp air, mild temps and an abundance of great autumn races is a perfect recipe for running enjoyment. It's always exciting to cheer on fellow SRRs as they run their fall goal races, and this season has been no different. We had large crews representing SRR at Chicago and Bay State, and smaller groups at Marine Corps, Cape Cod and others. Coming up in the next few weeks we have runners heading to New York City and Philadelphia. Whether your goal is a PR, a BQ, to cross a finish line or something else entirely - I hope you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the fall running season.

I also hope that if you're in the Somerville area for Thanksgiving you'll have time to spend some of your holiday with us at the Gobble Gobble Gobble. The Gobble is one of my favorite races - running and volunteering is the perfect way to start the day. I love that I get to share part of Thanksgiving with my running family... and get my run in before I eat my weight in mashed potatoes and stuffing. It's also a great way to give back to our community, as SRR donates tens of thousands of dollars raised by the Gobble to local Somerville charities each year. I am always grateful for the hard work of the committee and our volunteers, without whom this would not be possible.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone out there. In the meantime, happy running!

The Warm Up


1. Scottoberfest will be held 11/11. It's a 11ish (or 5ish, if you'd rather) mile trail run followed by a cookout at Scott and Julie's house in Arlington. Signup sheet is here:…/1DW4H3L6YIghlVajDpf9TBuxsn6J…/edit

2. Indoor track will be held at MIT once again this year (tentatively scheduled for 11/6). Despite efforts to secure an earlier time, it looks like we will have the 8:30pm slot on Tuesdays through the winter. 

3. Due to schedule conflicts, Coach Rick Muhr is no longer able to provide coaching support for our club. We wish Rick well, and thank him for his service to the club over the past several months. We are working on providing additional long-term coaching support for Coach Joe moving forward and will announce details when we have a plan in place.

4.  It's already time to start thinking ahead to the annual SRR post-holiday party & awards banquet, and we need a couple more party people to join the planning committee. If you love throwing a great bash, it's a fun way to get involved (just ask Liza and Erin)! Message Julie at president at if you want to help out.

5. If you haven't seen it already, check out the newly renovated SRR website at! Huge shout-out to Webmaster Sara Radkiewicz for her hard work in making this happen! 

6. Keep an eye out for your annual member survey, coming to your inbox this fall. The member experience survey provides valuable information and input to the SRR Board of Directors and helps guide our decisions regarding programming and budgeting, so it's important to fill it out when you get it. The board thanks you in advance!

7. As always, if you want to stay in touch on the latest club happenings or find out ways to become involved, talk to a board member or go to a monthly board meeting.  Details are found here.

8. This fall's kids program is in full swing.  The program will culminate with the Team Chase 6th Annual 5K for Autism Speaks & Somerville Special Education on Sunday, 11/18.  Pacers may be needed.  If you're interested in running and supporting one of our youth athletes, contact 

9. Volunteers are needed for the Gobble Gobble Gobble on Thanksgiving Day. You can run and volunteer - just look for the runner-specific assignments. If you're not planning on running, you can be a superhero volunteer. Sign up here:

Somerville Road Runners' Community Day

When: November 17, 9am - 1pm
Where: East Somerville Community School, 50 Cross Street, Somerville, MA

Join the Somerville Road Runners on Saturday November 17th for fun & interesting running & wellness workshops & demonstrations, raffles, runs with the Somerville Road Runners & MORE! We have activities geared for kids, adults, and the whole family, Come learn more about running & wellness in your local community with the Somerville Road Runners.

There will be runs with SRR members, workshops on nutrition, creating a race day strategy for runners every level, intro to trail running, Chi running, Vo2 max and gait analysis sessions, how to feel comfortable attending track practices, injury prevention and strong running with yoga and strength work, and so much more! Many local community partners will be present.

The Starting Line

Volunteer Turkeys from 2015 Gobble Gobble Gobble
Photo by Pensri Pilotte

Gobble Gobble Gobble – A Turkey Day Tradition

Bradley Harris, Race Director

On Thanksgiving Day in 1997, just fewer than 250 runners lined up for a 5K in Somerville. The first Gobble Gobble Gobble was, in many ways, at the dawn of the modern era of road racing. Thanks to automated timing technology and the internet we know all of the finishers and their performances. In many other ways it was a race run in a different age. There is no readily available photo of every finisher;  there were no t-shirts or medals; and there is no clear record of exactly what the first course was. 

Running and racing has changed a ton in the more than 20 years since that first year of the Gobble. Runners have their pick of races on any given weekend. Races offer a bounty of amenities from amazing gear to legendary post-race parties. Thanks to GPS technology many runners have access to a complete record of every step of every race (and every training run on the way to the start line). 

The “Gobble” has grown and changed in the intervening years as well. The race has grown more than tenfold. This year, over 3000 runners will pack onto Holland Street for the start. At some point the course changed from a 5K to the – now classic – 4 mile tour of Somerville. A post-race party was added at the Burren (and recently added an outdoor beer garden to increase capacity!) so runners can take a few more moments to relive their glory before heading home to the feast. The t-shirt has become an important and eagerly anticipated part of the annual race tradition.

Moving forward and changing with the times has been crucial to the success and growth of the Gobble. Equally important though is maintaining a connection to the racers back in 1997 who had enjoyed a run on the quiet streets of Thanksgiving morning. The t-shirts are proudly cotton; the post-race party is pleasantly low key; and, the entry fee is among the lowest around. The thing that keeps runners returning year after year (and the reason we keep organizing it) is the unique opportunity to focus on enjoying the company of friends, family, and a few thousand other friends you haven’t met yet. 

Join us this year on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2018

The Run for the Bricks: Mill Cities Relay 

Brian Cullinan, Mill Cities Committee

As you've probably heard me plugging at track for the last two months, we've got the 35th Annual Mill Cities Relay coming up on Sunday, December 2nd.  

The Mill Cities Relay is a truly unique event where we compete across all divisions, as one club.  Think of it as both the club championship for Eastern Mass./ Southern N.H. and the end of the racing year celebration rolled into one.  In additional to being a cornerstone of New England running it is fun, social, and free to you as an SRR member (courtesy of the SRR Board).  In my opinion, it's one of the highlights of the race calendar with a great after party to celebrate with your teammates.  We are encouraging as many SRR members as possible to sign up for this race, it's really a great way to connect with SRR members.

The relay itself is a 5 person, 27 mile relay from Nashua NH to Lawrence MA, with legs from 2.5 to 9.5 miles. We usually enter nearly 30 teams and we are always a top club finisher (2nd or 3rd) and also win some age group awards every year (the coveted bricks – yes the awards are bricks). The club chooses most of the team rosters based upon current 5K times, and we try to balance the teams to maximize the number of team points across all categories.

To sign up to run and/or volunteer, simply fill out the form at this link by Tuesday, 11/13 and we will announce teams on Thanksgiving Weekend. 

Other Races

November 11th, 2018 – Somerville Honor Run in Davis Square -

November 18th, 2018 – Cambridgeside 10k Classic in East Cambridge -

December 9th, 2018 – Yulefest 5k (and first race of the 2019 SRR Grand Prix) in Harvard Square -

Weekly Miles

Bur-Run Monday Night Run

Burren, 247 Elm Street, Somerville, Mondays 6:45 pm

We’re still getting stewed at the BurRun every Monday night!  Just this September was the 10th Anniversary.  For those of us who were there for the first one, it was crazy that the little run that could reach double digits.  Just this week the BurRun hosted BooRun VIII, our annual costume run with a couple of adult beverage stops en route.

You can join us every Monday at 6:45 for a 3.1 mile run through the streets of Somerville.  Hang out afterwards, buy a pint and partake of the complimentary Beef Stew and/or vegetarian option.  SRR loves to meet new people and deepen our connections with the local running community.

Casey's Thursday Night Run

Casey's Tavern, 171 Broadway, Somerville, Thursdays 7:00pm

SRR’s weekly Thursday night run out of Casey’s Tavern in East Somerville continues its streak of 23 years and counting. During the past several months we’ve welcomed beginning runners, new members and out-of-town visitors to run with us for the 4.06 miles.

As always, we held a summer streak contest to see who could attend the most Thursday night runs during the summer. Sean Finn ran away from the competition by attending all 13 runs during the contest. In August we held our second annual kids run and ice cream social. September featured the annual old school Khoury’s course run. We also held two cook-offs featuring barbecue sides and dips. Come enjoy our friendly group runs and free pizza every Thursday at 7pm!


SRR in the Windy City: Chicago Marathon

Chris K, Robert C, Liz, Jesse, Brendan C, John Longo, Kieran, Pickel at the Chicago Marathon After Party
photo courtesy of John Longo

Jesse Morrow, Marketing Coordinator
In the great tradition of Somerville Road Runners, each SRR finishing – whether it was Chris Klucznik who came in 116th or Heather who ran in more than five hours – was given equal congratulations from their club members.

Five hours before I was congratulated, Brendan and I had made our way to the dark lakeshore. The misty grey rolled in off Lake Michigan.  Interspersed with the mist would be occasional rain.  For those of us who had run Boston in April, this was but a sprinkle.  

Somerville Road Runners invaded the rainy course.  Two dozen SRRs were listed on Joe O’Leary’s tracking list.  In the morning we found each other at various corrals and tents.  In the Balbo tent, Paula Radcliffe gave a send-off to all the runners: “Trust your training and don’t go out too fast.”  (I for one, sadly, didn’t heed that advice.)

Megan Prokop and Florentien de Ruiter in Grant Park
photo courtesy of Florentien de Ruiter

At the sharp edge of the SRR spear, Chris Klucznik, Kieran Condon, Joe Lauer, Patrick Luckow and John Scott all had big PR’s.  Meanwhile Robert “The Machine” Cipriano won his age group.  (For those keeping score at home, Robert has now won his age group in 2 of the 6 Marathon Majors).

In other victories: Megan Prokop finished her Ezra comeback with a great race; Victor Gonzalez was the fastest of the three registered Victor Gonzalezes; Henry Wu ran his very first marathon; and, Cindy Dunn continued SRR’s tradition of supporting Chicago Paws by running for that charity.

Cindy's Cat - Quicksilver - with her Chicago Marathon and Team Paw medals
photo by Cindy Dunn

SRR in the Spindle City: Baystate Marathon

From top left clockwise:
Kate Daniel, Issac Burleigh, Øystein, Simon Anderson, Carrie-Anne Dedeo, Patrick Haneberg, Sarah Bolt-Culla, Dennis Shay, Paulo Amaral (center)

Crisp weather reminded us that it was early autumn in New England.  The tree colors turning reds and oranges reflected off the Merrimack.  If you looked hard, you could see the golden singlets of a dozen SRR runners reflecting as well.

A mass of SRR spectators greeted our runners at the Rourke Bridge.  Victor’s over-cheering helped Øystein push on to a half marathon PR.  Kate Daniel barely missed improving on her half PR by only 16 seconds.

On the full side, we saw as the men’s team tore the course up, Issac Burleigh had a PR, Paul Amaral had a PR, and Patrick Heneberg finished a tough race with a 2:43.  The three of them led the team to 4th place overall.

The women placed in 4th with Sarah Bolt-Culla running a PR 3:19, Carrie-Anne Dedeo and Sarah Poplawski both turning in big 5 minute+ BQs.  

Dennis Shay also had a big PR.  Tom Bok and Simon Anderson pulled in with Boston Qualifiers as well.

As usual, SRR also was representing in the pace groups: Scot DeDeo, Tom Breider, Nat Farny, Deb Downs and Nichole Bukowski were all seen out on the course carrying time signs in bright orange shirts.


Race to the Row
August 26th was our 6th Annual Race to the Row in Assembly Row, Somerville
Above: race director Scott Abrams receives $2000 toward our recognized charities from Assembly Row/Federal Reality.
Since 2013, Somerville Road Runners has raised over $20,000 for East Somerville Main Streets and Somerville Track PAC through Race to the Row.
photo by Paul Nelson
SRR Volunteers
In October, SRR continued its long tradition of volunteering at the finish line of the BAA Half Marathon
above: some of our many volunteers who distributed medals to the finishers
If you want to volunteer with us this year, you still can.  We are always looking for volunteers for our Thanksgiving morning Gobble Gobble Gobble.
Volunteer registration here -
Tune into Antunes
In September, Chris Antunes set the club record for the 5k with a 15:29 at the Downtown 5k in Providence.
But he wasn't done yet.  Two weeks later at Lone Gull in Gloucester, Chris set the club's 10k record with a 32:10!
It's a 15 day stretch that will forever go down in the annals of the Black and Gold.
Wedding Bells
On October 13, Team RyBri made it legal;
Brian Ketterer and Ryan Doherty were married in Portland, ME.
As they celebrate their honeymoon in Hawaii, SRR gives them their warmest congrats. 
SRR Runs Cascades
In July, a large group of SRR runners competed in the Jack and Jill Marathon and Half, in Snoqualmie Falls, WA. 
Melissa and Brian each took second place in their age groups.
In August, at the Tunnel Vision Marathon (over the same course), Dominic Shulz qualified for the Boston Marathon!
Remember that Time?
Photo from the Vault - October, 2011 (before Marielle and Greta).
Lino Mancini and Jim Moberg handing off at the Mount Desert Island Relay
The two of them, Boozing for a Cruising, would go on to win the relay! 
Somerville Road Cyclists?
In June, many SRR members took on the annual Battlefield to Vermont Gran Fondo.
Rory and Patrick placed 2nd and 3rd in their age groups
Dave and Joe also rode the full 149 mile route
Jesse and Brian rode the "short" 113 mile Iron Distance route
First Time's a Charm
In October, SRR's Jenny Brown ran her first marathon.
At the Cape Cod Marathon in Falmouth, Jenny beat her goal pace in her first (maybe only?) marathon.

Rest Day

Sprichwörter: Words of Wisdom

Eva Kopf-Ridout, SRR's Official German-English translator

There comes a time in a runner’s life when you reach your limits. It can be an injury, not being able to hit any more PRs, slowing down having a baby, or another life event. We’ve all been there. So today, I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom hailing from my native country of Germany. Be inspired, take a moment to reflect about this wonderful sport of ours, and keep on running!

Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid.
Shared misery is half the misery. If you’re struggling, find someone who is going through something similar. It makes it so much easier. When I was dealing with a foot injury training for my first Boston in 2014, I bonded with Urvi, who had a similar foot problem. We both ended up running the marathon, and the road to get there was rough, but being able to share the pain made it only half as bad.  

Aller Anfang ist schwer.
All beginnings are hard. When we are set back from running, starting all over again is tough. Tabula rasa, a blank slate! I felt like that when I started running again after childbirth. Rather than being intimidated or discouraged, take a moment to reflect and see this as an opportunity for a fresh start.

Übung macht den Meister.
Practice makes perfect (exercise makes the master). Seems obvious but it’s true! The important lesson here for running is to start slowly. If you overdo it, you’ll be thrown back and will have to start all over again. Take it easy initially and be consistent, it will pay off later. I ran my best races going to track every single week.

Zeit heilt alle Wunden.
Time heals all wounds. Injuries suck and no matter what derailed your running, recovering is not easy. The human body, however, is a miraculous machine that will eventually bounce back. It might take longer than you expect but it will happen. Be patient.  

Man muss die Dinge nehmen, wie sie kommen.
You must take things as they come. Everyone is different, and every situation comes with its own challenges, so make the best out of it. My body now feels back to normal, but I had to adjust often as I went through my recovery. This journey has made me more grateful than ever for every mile and race I get to run. Run with gratitude and run in the moment!

Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid with Liz Cooney at the Gobble last year. I had to call it quits a month earlier due to back pain related to pregnancy but decided to give it another try that day since I was signed up. From what I remember, Liz had been struggling with a recent injury. Thanks for running with me, Liz!

Book Review

Urvi Mujumdar, President-emeritus

Kara Goucher
Blue Star Press (2018) 
208 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1944515591
✪✪✪✪✪ [5 stars]

I decided to buy this book when it appeared on an Instagram post.  I've always admired Kara Goucher as a role model for female athletes, but admittedly I didn't know much about her story.  The book, a quick read, surprised me because she wrote in a style that was both inspirational and relevant.  Goucher shares her own personal challenges and doubts, and a host of training tools from the field of sport psychology.  A training tool she suggests for runners of all abilities is to keep a confidence journal.  Runners tend to focus on the negative aspects of a workout or race ("I didn't have it in me"..."the weather destroyed me"..."Couldn't get myself out the door" etc).  Goucher suggests taking the time to focus on something positive, with the goal of building confidence.  

I like this excerpt: "Running is a head game.  When you're running, there are two options: let your mind wander or focus.  To compete, you must focus.  Every step, breath, and muscle movement matters for 26.2 miles.  When your body is being pushed to the max, it's easy to let your mind go to a dark place..."

Off Roading

Doug Lipinski, Chief Trailrunning Officer
This may be the Somerville Road Runners, but some of us hit the trails too. This summer many of our members ran or raced on the trails. Here’s a quick sampling of a few trail runs we did.

Pemigewasset Loop

The summer of 2018 was a popular year for SRR members to run the Pemi Loop. This is one of the Northeast’s classic White Mountain long hikes. At around 30 miles and over 9,000 feet of climbing most people will do this loop as a multi-day trip, but we’re obviously not like most people. In three separate trips, Scot DeDeo, Doug Lipinski, Patrick Haneberg, and Matt Kiesz all did the Pemi Loop this summer. The weather was warm and humid, the trails were full of rocks, roots, mud, and water, and the route was long, but the views and the wilderness were worth it.

North Face Endurance Challenge
For the second straight year, Cheng-Chih Yang, Chi-Heng Wang, and Hsien-Chung Tseng ran the North Face Endurance Challenge on Mt. Wachusett. The race was rocky and challenging, but they all finished in good spirits. Rich Matthews joined them for his first 50k; while, Scot DeDeo ran the 50 miler.

Vulcan’s Fury Trail Race
Chris Smith ran the Vulcan’s Fury trail race on October 13th in New Hampshire’s Pawtuckaway State Park. The 13 mile long course features lots of climbing and descent on technical single track. Chris had a great showing, finishing third in his age group and just 21 minutes behind the race winner. 

Wildcat-Carters-Moriah Traverse
Also on October 13th, Scot DeDeo and Doug Lipinski ran a traverse of the Wildcat-Carter-Moriah range. Running is hard to come by on this route with continuous rocks, wet leaves, roots, and mud that add even more difficulty to a route with 8,000 feet of climbing over 19 miles. This includes an extra 1400 feet of climbing gained by doing the route from north to south. This is a point-to-point route so Scot and Doug ended the day by biking the 15 miles downhill on the road back to the car at the starting point. 

You can find Scot’s write up here – (The Multisport Maniac: Moriah Carters Wildcat Traverse)


Taper Time

Deb Takes on the Big Apple (with Some Michelob Ultra in Tow)

Deb Downs, Boston 2017
photo by Kimi MacDonald

Deb Downs, Running Hero
Back in July I entered an essay contest for a spot on Michelob Ultra’s NYC marathon team coached by Shalane Flanagan. I had to write about running and beer. With a little time and research, I can do this, I thought. I had discovered my love for this straight-up beer flavored beer the summer before. It brought me back to my Bud Heavy days only with fewer calories and total drinkability. And then there’s Shalane. She’s my modern day Jon Bon Jovi - a rock star and culinary hero. 

I figured it was a shot in the dark, but I soon found myself jumping up and down in my office after learning I was selected. Michelob Ultra is covering the cost of everything and hooking us up with the NYRR VIP experience. Pretty sweet.

Deb Downs, enjoying a Mic Ultra on Bastille Day, 2018
photo by Jesse Morrow

My journey to the start line has included hours and hours of stretching and exercises to overcome an injury known as Disastrous Gait Syndrome (GDS). Years of bad posture, my entry into the master’s (aka you will be in knots constantly) category, and complete ignorance about compensating patterns resulting from last year’s broken toe, had left me in a bad place. I gimped my way through Boston and still struggled to run pain free through August. Slowly, with the help of many awesome resources, it began to click. I’ve been fortunate to have a great build-up over the past couple of months and I’m psyched to be toeing the line on 11/4. Injuries are torturous, but can be a gift. I’ve learned a ton.

So, the hay is in the barn. Here are my goals:

A – Meet Shalane at the post-party
B – Break 3:00 hours
C – Talk to the heroically supportive and dedicated craft beer enthusiast, Steve, about something other than Michelob Ultra, workouts, and Shalane food…for at least one week.
D – All of the above

Next Stop, Verrazano!

Deb will not be the only member of SRR crossing the Verrazano this weekend.  

Good luck to:
  • Kyle Pochini 
  • Molly Crellin
  • Amie Gauthier
  • Cheng-Chih Yang
  • Nat Farny
  • Chi-Heng Wang
  • Ed Porto 
  • Christine Aloise

As Deb says: "Let's get it, team!"

Member Spotlight

Hsien-Chung Tseng

Hsien taking SRR international at the Berlin Marathon

How long have you been running and a part of SRR? 
I have been running since I came to US in 2006 for graduate school at MIT, and have been a SRR Member since December 2015. I remembered it was 3 weeks after my first overseas marathon - Taroko Gorge Marathon - in the world-renowned Taroko National Park located in my hometown Hualien, Taiwan. My very first club event was the Casey’s run.

Where are you from?
I was born in Hualien, Taiwan. I have lived in Cambridge/Somerville ever since I came to US in 2006. So I consider Cambridge/Somerville as my second hometown.

Fave race and why
It is definitely the one and only “Boston Marathon”. I watch Boston Marathon every year in the past decade, and have the Boston Marathon dream as every runner has. I was very grateful to receive one of the 10 SRR invitational bibs in 2017. It was truly a blast!

Most unusual thing seen on a run
I guess I have short-term memories. The only unusual thing I could remember is seeing tons of bird poop dropping around me while I am running, and (thank god!) none of it hit me.

Recent PR or race accomplishment
Collected 4 Marathon Majors so far. No luck with London and Tokyo. 

Why do you love being a part of SRR? 
Such a great community! I enjoyed Monday Bur-run (beef stew, yum yum…), Tuesday track, Thursday Casey’s run, and the annual Mill Cities Relay. I also appreciated SRR provides us the opportunity to volunteer at the BAA 10K, BAA Half and BAA Boston Marathon where you could see elite runners!

Hsien at the BAA 10k, handing water to a Boston and New York Marathon Champion - nbd.

Would you recommend joining SRR to your friends, and if so, why?
Of course! Great people, nice community, and delicious (free) food!

Running shoe of choice 
ASICS Nimbus and HOKA Clifton

What is something that your teammates might not know about you? 
In my first year of my PhD, a casting director saw me in the Muddy Charles Pub at MIT, and asked me If I am interested in auditioning for “Beauty and the Geek” TV show. Hmm, did he want me to be the Beauty or the Geek? 

Running Maxims

“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.”

~Des Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon Champion

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