Dear USATF-NE…

Dear USATF-NE,

The WMDP Men have decided to not re-register as individual members for the USATF New England and will not be competing as a team in any USATF-NE Championship events for the indefinite future. As to not part ways without explanation, we would like to shed light on the reasons behind our choice to not participate in USATF-NE in the message below, for what it’s worth…

It Is important we first acknowledge the positive of the USATF-NE. The association offers one umbrella for us all to compete under. Clubs are formed and rivalries are developed. This is, in our opinion, the draw of the USATF-NE. Having close competitions help to unite the teammates within the clubs, which, in turn, provides that extra shove of motivation to get post-collegiate athletes (now working professionals) out the door to keep this crazy dream that is track & field and running alive.

In the past the USATF-NE has stepped up to the plate and shown its potential. WMDP would like to acknowledge a USATF grant that was given to the club in 2012 for travel to Club XC Nationals in Lexington, KY for $1,200, which we are still very grateful for. WMDP sent 8 men and placed 9th in the open male division at that event. However, the process of applying and obtaining the grant was very difficult and the program is hardly advertised. Initiatives like this – ones that help grow the organization and promote clubs and individuals breaking through to the next level, should be promoted by the organization and the process should be welcoming to new clubs and qualifying individuals. We fear, had it not been for a team member on the board, this grant would have not been discovered and proposal for it would not have made its way through the board.

Based upon our experience as registered members and as a team, we strongly believe that USATF-NE association has provided an inadequate level of service to its members. The entire burden of hosting events with the USATF-NE label is placed on the race directors. No organizational help in setting up a championship caliber event is offered to the race directors by the association. No prize money assistance or matching is provided by the USATF-NE. Further, the races are charged (at least on the Road Grand Prix) to be a part of the series.

In regards to promoting and publicizing their product – the competition – the USATF-NE does little beyond their very outdated website. Results are often not announced in a timely manner (implying there is miscommunication between the timing companies and the organization) and news is only relevant for so long.

WMDP

We will not ignore the fact that the Manchester Marathon issue most definitely influenced our decision not to renew our membership. Manchester is ONE example of the USATF slapping their label on a race and expecting it to go off without a hitch – not having adequate oversight of this “New England Championship Event”. Call this the proverbial straw that broke the Wolf’s back.

Speaking for the WMDP men’s team, we have had our most memorable and media-worthy performances at non-USATF races (Boston ’14, Chicago ’12). We see that the competition and the races will be there, with or without the USATF-NE, as the USATF-NE seems to only offer a label. Given the consideration of how we wish to grow and how short the USATF-NE continues to fall we have decided to no longer participate as we pursue our original goal of organizing this team – to pursue competitive running at both the regional and national level while keeping each other accountable.

It is understandable why the organization continues to fall short and not appropriately manage this ‘golden egg’ that is New England distance running – it is because a board comprised of only volunteers is not adequate for the job. Despite great intentions and efforts of the volunteers, the monthly meetings do not result in the implementing of highly competitive championships and events the membership pays for and deserves.

While on the board, one member of our team reported hearing about the idea of hired help being tossed around quite a bit. Hired help would offer races liaisons to be in the field and getting races championship ready. It is a minimal investment, but would result in better managed events. To the best of our knowledge, nothing has been done about it.

We would like to see USATF-NE make an effort to ensure that the championship events are THE BEST events possible, from an organizational, prize purse, and media frenzied perspective. If implemented, the competition will be sure to show up. The USATF has the resources. This is the USATF-NE’s business investment to growing the organization and providing its membership with something of value. Otherwise, what is your USATF-NE membership worth?

Thank you,

WMDP MGMT

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Howlin’ in Hartford

Hartford, CT – The Wolfpack sent a handful of Wolves down to the Insurance Capital of the World to Claim some Coverage over the 2014 NU Hartford Marathon & Half-Marathon. Let’s hope the fine folks down in Hartford have some casualty insurance because scalps were taken.

DJ

In the Men’s Half-Marathon David Johnson was able to leverage some momentum and crack the top ten with his 1:09:12 performance, good for 9th Overall. Johnson was followed by teammate Jesse Regnier, whose 1:09:44 would earn him the 11 spot in the competitive field. The two Wolves were able to work together for the majority of the event before Johnson decided to liquidate Jesse’s asset and make a surge for sub 69.

“I love racing because I enjoy the grind and putting myself in the hurt-box”, said DJ on the effort. “After getting the OK from Jesse around mile 7 I decided to give it a real push.”

Both Johnson and Regnier fulfilled their duties of representing New England well as part of the NU Hartford Half-Marathon New England’s Finest Program.

In the Men’s Marathon a big HOWL goes out to Wolf John Fuller for completing his first marathon, under some pretty adverse weather conditions, in 4:17:36 and cracking into the top 100 in the very competitive Open Male division.

10003934_10153921939735594_948886265_nOn the Lady Wolf side of things the big surprise of the day was Wolf Annie Paredes in the NU Hartford Marathon, coming off her “seven week taper” due to a stress fracture in her foot. Paredes, also a member of the New England’s Finest Program, entered the race with the intention of taking it mile-by-mile, making the risk-assessment of when to keep pushing through the injury as she went.

“I really thought in my heart I would have to drop but somehow the miles ticked by and I made it. The most meaningful finish for me for sure after coming off a 7 week taper and with a broken foot”, says Paredes of the experience. And finishing paid its dividends. Her 3:05:55 would be good for 13th Overall Female in the event and 4th in her age-group.

In the Women’s Half-Marathon Wolves Melissa Hine and Danielle Ignace turned out solid performances on the cold, rainy day. Hine would be the first Lady Wolf to the line in 1:26:33, good for 13th overall and 6th in her age-group. Ignace followed behind her teammate in 1:44:05.

Respect the Process – that’s our full-coverage policy.

New England’s Finest Program: We encourage New England runners to look into the New England’s Finest Program offered by the Hartford Marathon Foundation. Our athletes that were fortunate enough to be a part of this program at the 2014 NU Hartford Marathon & Half-Marathon had nothing but praise for the program. Programs like this put resources back into the runners and should be encourage in our sport!

Check out the details here: http://www.hartfordmarathon.com/Events/NU_Hartford_Marathon/Registration___Packet_Pickup/New_England_s_Finest.htm

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Behind Blue Guys

WMDP Cover Photo

Ashley Reservoir, Holyoke, MA – The Wolfpack invited harriers from around the New England region to, what some would say is, The Original Den of the Wolfpack, Ashley Reservoir. Rain would soak the region into the late hours of the night before the event, but on the day of the 3rd Annual WMDP XC Festival the skies were Blue and Mother Nature was giving The Process its due Respect – IDEAL conditions.

The unattached David Wilson and Sam Alexander of the BAA were out for an early battle in the men’s competition. The chase Pack would include WMDP’s Sean Duncan, Jesse Regnier, Scott VanderMolen, and David Johnson. When the gentlemen rounded their second left through The Four Corners Wilson and Alexander were still sharing the driver seat, but when Billy Harbilas’ pace truck emerged from the woods at 4.5 miles it would only be Wilson in tow, eventually taking the overall 5-Mile title in 24:33. Alexander would cruise in for second in 25:00. Mark Reeder of Greater Lowell claimed victory in the Master’s competition with his 27:05.

The Men’s Wolfpack, led by your new Yellow Jersey holder, Sean “Big Meet” Duncan (4th – 25:06), was able to defend the home turf, holding off the Greater Boston Track Club for the team win. Big Meet was followed home by teammates Jesse Regnier (5th – 25:15), Scotty VanderMolen (6th – 25:21), David Johnson (7th -25:25), and Mathew Weissinger (11th – 25:43).

In the Women’s race Kerri Leondhart of the Greater Boston Track Club would take control early and run away with the title. Kerri was able to put close to a minute on the competition with her 28:33 win over WMDP’s Apryl Sabadosa (29:30). The ladies of the Greater Boston Track Club would go on to take the overall team title, putting five runners in the top ten. Trish Bourne of the Greater Boston Track Club would take the Female Master’s title in 32:39.

The Lady Wolves brought home a secone overall to GBTC.  Sabadosa was followed in by teammates Ashley Krause (7th – 31:24), Lauren Ross (9th – 32:15), Maura McDonald (12th – 33:12), and Dawn Roberts (14th – 33:50).

The day wrapped up to the sounds of The Sun Dogs as the runners rehydrated at the Elks Club. With good vibes and great music the Wolfpack dished out all the donated swag from New Balance, RunReg.com, and the Northampton Running Company. And the Sisu Process started a war, but we will Finnish it.

To say that we are excited to have you all back next year would be a statement.

Feel free to send over your suggestions on how we can make The Festival better in years to come!

A Special Thanks goes out to the following groups and individuals:

-          Coach Kristin Tetrault and the Southwick-Tolland High School Girls XC Team for all their volunteer work at registration and on the course

-          Mackenzie Gray and Co. for the timing services

-          Billy and Sally Harbilas for keeping the runners on course with their pacing services

-          Manny and Alejandro for setting up the beautiful finish line

-          The Holyoke Elks Club for allowing us to use their venue

-          The Holyoke Water Works for giving us access to the gorgeous Ashley Reservoir

-          All the USATF Clubs that came out to represent

-          Brian Donoghue for coaching us as one of Western Mass’ premier race directors

-          The Sun Dogs for setting the vibes in the afternoon (check these guys out!)

-          RunReg.com for donated awards

-          New Balance for donating a lot of gear

-          Northampton Running Company for the donated gift certificates

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Gallery

Women’s Report for Boston

This gallery contains 10 photos.

It’s been two weeks since the Boston Marathon and the Lady Wolves have still been unable to transcribe their collected thoughts on the Day. Describing the experience of a marathon is one of the more unknown challenges of the event.  … Continue reading

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Men Claim 2nd at the 2014 Boston Marathon

Boston, MA – How does one describe the 2014 Boston Marathon? You just had to be there…

“I couldn’t understand why I would sign-up for a race that requires one to put all their eggs in one basket (the marathon), but the 2014 Boston Marathon made me realize why I do.  There is nothing that compares to this race.” – Nicolai Naranjo

The Men in Blue came into Hopkinton 13 Wolves Strong on Patriot’s Day 2014. The Athlete Village was glowing with energy and the Pack from out West was doing nothing short of adding to its glare. Community; this became the immediate theme of the day.

“I was lucky to have my teammates at my side. They took my mind off the race in the early stages and I must say, striding alongside Bric (Mathew Weissinger) was the most enjoyable part of the run. We might have even stopped for a quick kiss in the Scream Tunnel.” – Kevin Johnson

Mathew Weissinger, Kevin Johnson, and Robert Deegan execute some Pack Running early in the race.  Photo Credit:  Scott MasonThe Men would find themselves in 4th of the 83 teams at the Half, with Jesse Regnier leading through in 1:11:44.

“Through the second half of this race there were WMDP fans going nuts along the road. I constantly found myself throwing my arms up and riding the energy of the crowd. This was hands down the best racing experience of my life.” – Jesse Regnier

The second half of the race includes the Newton Hills, capping off with the infamous Heartbreak Hill leading up to the 21st Mile Marker. When a hill has a name, fear that hill…

“I was grinding up Heartbreak and that’s when DJ (Dave Johnson) told me to go for it. I grinded and the wheels came off a bit towards the ends, but I went for it. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of WMDP.” – Mathew Weissinger

On the other side of Heartbreak the road is open, lonely, and, on this particular Patriot’s Day, it was hot. The body screams “No!”, but it doesn’t have the choice; the mind has already made the decision. Beacon Street is where that investment must be gripped tight.

“I was dreaming about turning right on Hereford and left on Boylston since mile 17 and it was better than I imagined. Time didn’t matter, my legs were beat up and I was exhausted but I still had enough to soak it up. I turned onto Boylston and raised my hands to pump the crowd up and it was so loud it actually shook me from the inside. It almost rattled me off my feet.” -Sean Duncan

The crowd may need the runners to have something to cheer for, but more than can even be expressed in words, the runners need the crowd. In the final miles of the 2014 Boston Marathon the crowd more than delivered.

“By the finish of Heartbreak I had punched my one-way ticket aboard the Struggle Bus to Boylston Street. I was riding the energy from Jesse (Regnier) who was pumping up the crowd. I have always looked up to Jesse, and again I felt myself admiring him for really soaking up the atmosphere and promoting the spirit of the marathon. This was a great day to be part of the running community.” – David Johnson

Kevin would go on to negative split the course by over two minutes and lead the WMDP Men to a 2nd Overall finish, besting all but the hosts, the BAA Unicorns. The crowd showing support for the Men in Blue along the course were just as much a part of it as the Wolves themselves.

There wasn’t an officer, official, volunteer, spectator, or runner in Boston on April 21st, 2014 that didn’t understand full well what it means to Respect the Process.

WMDP Top Finishers:

1) Kevin Johnson – 2:26:14
2) Sean Duncan – 2:27:02
3) Jason Ayr – 2:27:36
4) Nicolai Naranjo – 2:28:47
5) David Johnson – 2:32:15
6) Jesse Regnier – 2:32:20
7) Mathew Weissinger – 2:33:29

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