2015 was a great year for Manchester Running Company and we have most of you to thank! We had 52 new members join the MRC Running Club this year, won a bunch of races, a ton of people set personal bests, we produced the fastest mile ever in CT and helped raise over $25,000 for local charities and non-profits. We’ll break this down categorically for you, heretofore…
Thriving Running Club
The MRC Running Club is a great way to stay in shape and motivated, meet some new runners and maybe become friends with them, socialize, or just say you’re in a running club. In 2015, we grew by 52 members. Some are really really fast, like Morgan Kennedy who won the Manchester, New Hampshire Marathon, some are beginners like Mia Cogliantry who ran her first half marathon this year, and some are average runners (like me) – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It doesn’t really matter what the level is, we are all out there trying to improve for one reason or another. Running is usually more fun in a group, and when there is a goal. Some of our runners were coached to massive personal bests, like Dave Fusfeld, who a few years ago could barely finish a 5k, one year ago he was a pretty good marathoner at 3:30, this year, he ran a studly 3:11 marathon in the rain with a little coaching guidance from the club. We’ve also got a couple of great triathletes in the group including Mark McCarty who completed a full, legit IronMan (Lake Placid). Our club does more than just run and socialize though, we also put on…
The Finally Spring 5k in April, Spring Street Mile and Life Without Limits 5k in June, Thursday Nights Under the Lights Track & Field Series in July, and the Beards & Beers 5k in November combined to raise over $25,000 to support local non profits and charities. The Finally Spring 5k raised funds for Public Allies CT. The Spring Street Mile and Life Without Limits 5k was for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Hartford; our track & field series gives a small donation (because we don’t really make any money on that) to the Manchester High School Track & Field teams and the Beards & Beers 5k supports the MMNT Foundation, which gives it’s funds to the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity at Saint Francis. These events are a collective effort from many fine MRC members, not only do our club runners come out for the race, but many are instrumental in the logistics and support of the races. We would also like to take this time to acknowledge our financial sponsors of these races including Farmington Bank and Dr. Tris Carta, DMD; without their support, it would be a lot tougher to put these things on.
The highlight of the MRC road races has to be the Spring Street Mile and Life Without Limits 5k. Inspiration all around at these events as numerous wheelchair bound participants take to the streets led by Team Hoyt New England in the 5k. Team Hoyt New England was founded by Rick and Dick Hoyt, who have competed in countless endurance events as a duo. The Mile set the bar as the fastest mile ever run in CT as Erik Berg of the NY/NJ Track Club led a trio of runners under 4 minutes. On the women’s side, Elizabeth Eberhardt successfully defended her title, leading four women under 4:50.
Team Victories, Records and Personal Bests
So many people ran awesome marathons this fall. You can read all about them here. There were over 25 folks in the club who ran a marathon, some made their debut, some set personal records, and others added one more medal to their collection and had a great time doing it. We also experienced team victories on the ladies side in the USATF-CT Grand Prix Series – the women took first place at the Spring Street Mile, Old Wethersfield 10k and Sea Legs Shuffle 10 Miler. The men were a consistent second place in a number of races but also took first at the USATF-CT Trail Championships in early August. Finally, the teams combined to take the co-ed XC Championship held at Wickham Park in late July.
A few of our speedsters set team records this year! Ryan Miller took down the marathon record by 16 seconds in Chicago with a 2:37:45 showing on the men’s side. On the women’s side, Melissa Stellato took out the mile, 10-mile and Manchester Road Race club record while Ashley Gurzler bettered her own records in the 6k XC distance and 4-mile road times. Kristina Miner set the 20k bar at the New Haven Road Race on Labor Day. All the records shown are run when the person was a member of the club – so times run before joining really don’t count. We would like to thank Kathleen Shaw for rallying the troops on the women’s side to get out to the races!
Overall, the MRC Racing teams finished fourth in the open women’s division and third in the open men’s division of the USATF-CT Grand Prix series. A vast number of individual and age group victories were won by dozens of MRC runners in 2015 as well.
In attempts to further the sport, several MRC members have become involved with the USA Track & Field Association’s Connecticut Chapter. Kristina Miner and Morgan Kennedy represented the state at the National Convention. Patrick Byrne is now the marketing and communications chair while Hillary Lawrence and Mark McCarty are seeking appointments in 2016. Ideally, the MRC involvement will help spread the word about the offerings of USATF-CT and in turn, assist all runners in whatever their endeavors may be.
The 2016 running year is even more promising than 2015! As the club continues to grow we hope to develop more partnerships with our neighbors to help raise funds and awareness for many noble causes and keep running fast along the way.