2007 Stories
Fast Tracks Running Club
This page was last updated on: December 10, 2007
Charlie Horse - 2007 - from Jim Donaghy
Green Mountain Relay
2007 Marathon & Ultra Marathon Stories
Fairfield Half Marathon
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Jay Challenge - July 28th, 2007
From Mary Wood

A few years ago, Keith told us all about the Jay Challenge - a trail marathon,
plus a few miles, that goes up and down Jay's Peak in Vermont, through a swamp,
and involved running several miles in rocky rivers, as well as crossing a river
with the aid of a rope.  For some weird reason, that all really appealed to me,
and finally this year, in the comfort of my study, I actually signed up for it,
assuming that my long distance training would be farther along  by now than it

It is a really nice, big, 'small town' event.  The town of Jay seems to consist
of a lodge (where we had a room overlooking the start/finish of the course), an
Inn, for dinner (and carb-loading beer), and the General Store, for breakfast,
all within walking distance.  We were warned that the area had had only two dry
days in the last month, so the bush-wacking sections which he added this year,
which supposedly increased the distance to 33 miles, were really good
slip-sliding, shoe-sucking mud.  The course was really well marked, we had 8 aid
stations and the volunteers were great.  The winning time was 5 hours, and the
last person finished in 11 hours (out of the 350 registered for the event, 258

It definitely was an adventure - one certainly worth doing.
Sherox Women's sprint Tri
SheROX Women's sprint Tri - August 5th, 2007
From Bobbi Kisebach

Fast Tracks Multi-sports Club rocked at Sherox Women's sprint Tri yesterday.  Since we used the name Fast Tracks for our team, I'm compelled to share with you what a great time we had and performed.

Mary Lund, who organized our team just this week, did the full tri just 40 seconds behind our team effort.  At 1:40:12, she complained that her swim and bike mishaps forced her to make it up in the run- a 5K in 22:34!

For Team Fast Tracks, Laura Pyott swam a PR half mile in 17:31 to start us off.  I fretted while waiting for her that I didn't know where to go or even how to get on the bike, but when Laura charged into the transition spewing energy, I quickly remembered.  What a thrill it was to take off toward Falls Bridge with all those fit women, climb up the hill to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, whip past the scenic mansions, tear down the hill back to MLK Drive, head toward the crowds and do it again.  Starting the second loop, now that I knew the gearing and the course, can I even tell you how exciting it is to stay just to the outside passing most of the pack, and gazing with awe at the smooth one-with-machine styles of those who passed me.  Coming back to transition, I threw down my bike (oh, that's a no-no?) to pass the ankle chip to Joan Affleck ready to tear up the course with her run.  Watching for her at the finish, we saw varied running styles.  For many of the triathletes, running was obviously not the strong suit.  Then we saw an efficient upright strider approaching, Joan blasted in looking so strong in 24:16.                                           

FAST TRACKS  PAOLI  PA   F  1:39:32  98  98  5  0:17:31  234  0:01:29  0:54:59  191  16.9  0:01:15  0:24:16  73  0:07:49  0 

Fast Tracks Rox!

2007 Annapolis 10 Miler
2007 Annapolis 10 Miler
By Tom Chaves

A group of Fast Trackers gathered in Annapolis, MD on Sunday, August 26th to run the Annapolis 10 Miler - ranked as one of the nation’s top races by Runner’s World in their  “Six Big Ten Milers to Run”.

The humidity wasn't as bad as the day before and the sun stayed in until after the race was over to make the race pleasant to run.  The course had some rolling hills and was quite scenic as we ran through the Naval Academy and across the Severn river twice.

We gathered the night before for a pasta dinner with some family and friends of Bill Miller who live in Annapolis area who filled us in on the intricacies of the course and race.  This was after we searched high and low for the expo which seemed to be a mystery to those at the Naval Academy and to alot of people in Annapolis.

All in all a good race to run and to be part of with the chance to pay respect to some of our armed forces.

Congratulations to the Fast Tracks runners who were part of the 4376 finishers:

Bill Miller (1:13:32)
Elden Monday (1:18:08)
Tom Chaves (1:21:32)
Jerry Davis (1:23:33)

Non Marathon, Non Ultra Race Report
A non-marathon, non-ultra race report
By George Sanders

It'a another hot, humid race with a late (9:15 AM) starting time. When I quickly
scanned the entry form all I picked up was 8:00 AM in large print on the front.
I made the mistake of thinking that was the race time. Nope, that's when race
day registration started. So I woke up an hour earlier than necessary, arrived
at the race an hour early - they hadn't even started setting up yet - and had
some time to kill before even thinking about registering and my warm-up.
Fortunately I have a habit of always having a book with me, so I read a couple
more chapters before people finally started arriving.

I've run this race before, including last year when I finished in 55:26, so I
knew the course. In the heat and humidity it was going to be brutal - again.
There's very little shade on the course and the 10K is two loops with a long
uphill start and another long, tough hill at 2 and 5 miles. This promised to be
a real test of my patience, strategy, and strength. To make it more interesting
the same runner a chased after but never caught at the Mid-Summer Eve 5K back in
June was also entered in the 10K.

After the horn I took it out pretty conservatively up the hill with my
competition in sight. The hill didn't seem too tough the first time up while I
was fresh. The mile split at 8:15 was good and now we had a mostly flat and
downhill mile before the other big hill. That went quickly in 8:02, but the
third mile definitely began to take it's toll. I came past three miles in 24:44
(last mile in 8:26) and finished the first lap (5K) in 25:46, only 4 seconds
slower than the Mid-Summer Eve 5K, with another to go. The second time up the
first hill seemed to never end, but when I looked up I realized I had closed the
gap slightly. As we raced over a couple smaller hills I could see the distence
between us lessening. I finally caught and passed him shortly before the 4 mile
mark, last mile in 8:54 (I told you it was taking a lot out of us!). Now all I
had to do was keep my form and not fall apart on the last of the hills - easier
said than done. I tried to stretch it out on the downhill and take a quick peek back whenever a turn on the course made it feasible.

Then I realized I was approaching 5 miles (mile split 8:12) and the beginning of
the last hill. Now was the time to concentrate on form, pump the arms, get good
knee lift, try to drive up the hill. It's only a little over a mile to go and
two small uphills after this big one. Finally after the crest of the hill the
course made a right turn and checked back over the shoulder. There's no one in
sight!. It's mostly rolling and downhill now. I watch the minutes tick off and
realize I'm going to be a little shy of my goal but it'll still be a good effort
for the conditions. 6-miles flies by at 50:22, the last mile in 8:32 including
the hill. I swing through the parking lot and make the last turn for the final
sprint. I pass the finish line clock at 52:22.

It's another very small field. I'm 9th overall of about 20-25 entrants in the
10K. They also had a 5K with about 50-60 runners.

UMDM 5k Race

The UMDM 5K is one of many events kicking off the annual University of Michigan Dance Marathon.

If pre race jitters cause you sleepless nights, I highly recommend next year's race, which features a personal wake up call from race organizers.  Why?  The race was held Sunday morning after a home football game, at the ungodly hour of 10:00 am.  Good marketing?  No, necessity, since nearly half of last years pre-registered participants did not show.

I was understandably leery of taking on the daunting task of running a marathon and a 5K on back to back weekends; a feat, to my knowledge, only attempted by such greats as Ethel Cook.  (While Ethel PR'd in both races, I did not.)

Despite no electricity for the starting clock, the race was well organized; though, like Chicago, the course lacked water stops.  However, a single gatorade cooler at the finish line and a sufficient supply of red, solo cups from the previous night's keggers were enough to quench the thirst of the 3200 (ok, I added the zeros) runners.

At check in, a student volunteer cheerily mentioned she was keeping track of all times using an xl spreadsheet in order to " . . . complete a homework requirement . . ."

The air was filled with pre race tension, remarking one student-athlete, "I don't think last night was such a great idea . . ."

At 10:00, the director announced the race would "promptly start in 5 or 10 minutes", allowing participants more time to examine the unreadable, rain-soaked course map, posted the night before.

I wrongly assumed the delay was due to a snag with the wake up call chain, but soon realized officials were awaiting the flyover.  So, at precisely 10:17, when a small flock of low flying mallards landed on the nearby stream, the race director shouted, "On your marks, get set, run . . ." and the 3200 (ok, I added the zeros) runners, with complete disregard for pacing, took off through the U of M Arboretum.

The fall foliage and crisp Ann Arbor morning, lulled many runners.  Too, was probably the fast mile splits.  (At 6:45, I wondered how course director was going to do on his upcoming Surveying 101 exam.)

I won't bore you with the course topography, except to mention I made my move during the climb between miles 1 and 2, which eventually lead you to the helicopter pad for the U of M Medical Center.  (Vicki's run may have climbs to two radio towers, but no aircraft landing areas!!)

Upon crossing the finishing line, all runners were required to report, using the honor system, their times to the race organizer.

I'm quite sure I placed in the 40 to 54 year old division.  I noticed only two other male racers wearing Coolmax, so I know I had a shot at my age group.

Still, since the computer battery died sometime during the race, we may never know, though I was told, " . . . final results and awards would be mailed . . ."  Nor may we know for sure if the xl spreadsheet assignment was ever completed.

Really, you can't make this stuff up . . .


Radnor Red 5k Steeplechase Run
2007 Radnor Red Steeplechase Run
Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Thanks to all of those of you that came out and supported our successful steeplechase run yesterday!  We couldn't have done it without you!  With over 30 volunteers manning the course, staffing the registration area, helping with results, feeding our runners, and so much more, it made the day very worthwhile from everyone that I talked to.  While we are collecting feedback from our race committee and runners, please feel free to respond to myself or any of the race committee (see below) with feedback you would like to provide about how to improve the race based on what you observed and heard about.

Some facts from race day on Sunday . . .

. . 335 registrations (up from 239 last year)
. . 279 finishers (up from 217 last year)

We're still counting the final dollars but from some rough estimating, it looks like our proceeds to Students Run Philly Style will double what we gave them last year ($3,000) from this event!

Our generous sponsors are to be thanked for their financial & time commitment:

Major Sponsors:  Fast Tracks (us!)
                      The Running Place (http://www.therunningplace.com/)
                      Radnor Hunt (http://radnorhunt.org/index.htm)

T-Shirt Sponsor:  Reedman Toll (http://www.reedmantoll.com/) & Roberts Auto Mall

Race Sponsor: ING (http://www.ing.com/group/index.jsp)

Kids Race Sponsor: Theraplay (http://www.theraplayinc.com/)

Course Sponsors: Eastern Mountain Sports (http://www.ems.com/)
                       Elko and Associates (http://www.elkocpa.com/)
                       KHR Solutions (http://www.khrsolutions.com/)
                       Sweet Jazmines (http://www.sweetjazmines.com/)
                       University of Phoenix (http://www.phoenix.edu/)

Food Sponsors: Giant Foods (http://www.giantfoodstores.com/index.html)
                     Wawa (http://www.wawa.com/)

And last but certainly not least, the Radnor Red 5k Steeplechase Committee who I owe a great deal of gratitude and appreciation for their hard work and dedication over the last 6 months - without each and every one of them, we wouldn't have had the great day we did!

See pictures from the race by clicking here . . .
Dinosaur Dash 10k
Dinosaur Dash
By Traci Tesfaye

I’m sure you are ready to hear about another marathon story, not here!

When I travel to California, I always check to see if there are races in the area to keep me on my toes and also to feel free to eat lots of Mexican food. I landed upon a race, called Dinosaur Dash located in Tustin, CA which was the same week as my business show. At first I was little hesitant to register
because I thought this race would consist of Barney and little children running around. I was completely wrong. This race was in its third year of raising money for the Tustin Public Schools. Obviously, the cause was great and running in Southern Cal in the fall was just where I wanted to be. There were options of distances (2k, 5k, or 10k). I chose the 10k race because 10k’s are not too long
or too short. A few days before the race, I went out for a run near my father’s house to see how the air quality was since there were fires in the region a week or so ago. The run was relaxed through the typical California morning foggy conditions. In some spots, I smelled the effects  of the fires, but that didn’t stop me…the show went on!

Waking up Sunday morning a little exhausted from my father’s retirement party the night before, I prepared myself for the race. Shortly after, my father got up and asked why I am up too early. I said I’m leaving in an hour. He responded; it’s only 5:30 am. I thought it was 6:30 am. Of course, I didn’t change the clocks the night before and no one reminded me. Since I was not able to go back to sleep, I tried to encourage my husband to run the race with me. Forgetting his running shoes in Pennsylvania, he wasn’t too heartbroken to miss the race. I left around 6:40 to take the 20 minute drive to the race area for a 7:30 start. The weather was perfect…little fog, light breeze of 60 degrees. I parked in shopping center near the huge outdoor expo. I knew this was an exciting and well organized event. As I walked to the starting line, the announcer kept saying, it’s your day for a PR…it’s your day for a PR! Looking up for encouragement, I clenched my fists with determination for a  personal best. There were no delays as the announcer gave the runners the countdown. Off we went! As I approached mile one, there was a water stop. Odd as that looked, I kept on going. The first three miles, I kept a 7:45 pace which was great for me. I did a self evaluation to see if I was still hydrated, if my limbs were in place, etc. I felt okay. Being a pre-cautious person, I slowed down a bit just in case I might lose energy towards the end. The course consisted of rolling hills through neighborhoods and business parks. As always, I compare hills to the Valley Forge Park’s hills. Let’s just say, this course was so FLAT!  The last three miles, I kept glancing at my watch to see what my finishing time would be. I was holding steady at an 8:10 pace. So I knew I would finish around 50 minutes.

As we turned into the shopping center, the announcer’s voice was getting louder, so I knew I was approaching the finish line. Feeling good inside, a lady ran up from behind and said, “I’ve been trying to keep up with you, you’re keeping me honest!” I didn’t know if that was a “compliment on the run” or what. I responded calmly, “Today is a good day.”

As I ran underneath the balloon banner, I crossed the finish line at 51:39. WOW!

I surely wanted a PR. Too top it off, I finished 5th in my age bracket. I could truly say, “Today was an EXCELLENT day!”

Save the Day 5k
Save the Day 5k
By George Sanders

All the track sessions paid off, even those dreaded 1200s.

Well, I've been saying all I needed was a flat course for a 5K. I finally got my
wish, so the challenge of living up to my "boasting" was staring me in the face.
No more excuses after this morning's Save the Day 5K.

The temperature was quite cool this morning. After arriving and registering I
opted to wear earband and gloves during my warm-up and decide what to wear for
the race itself later. One minor complaint about the race organization. The only
choices for t-shirt were XL and L, but I take a medium, and they only had XLs
left anyway, so I decliined the t-shirt.

The participants today seemed to be mostly family, friends, and schoolmates of
the family who was benefitting from the race. The race was raising money to
offset medical expenses for a local family. Nevertheless I did meet up with a
half-dozen other runners I know, including the incredible 75yo women who's still
plugging away after knee replacements. Of course one of the others was one of
the top runners in my AG in the area.

By race time it had warmed up a little so I opted for gloves but no earband. I
almost missed the start because of a last second pit stop, but I managed to
squ2eze in about 4 rows back from the front, about right for a local race with
150-200 runners.

We're off and I'm about 2-3 seconds getting to the starting line. I'm actually
feeling comfortable and wondering if I've started a little too slow. I'm not
very confident of my Garmin for spot-checking pace, but I take a couple quick
glances anyway in the first 400m and it's reading 7:15, much faster than my
intended pace of 7:30.   I settle into my pace except for when I need to
maneuver around kids running 4 abreast who are constantly speeding up and
slowing down. They're obviously athletic but just as obviously not experienced
road racers. I finally pass them and reach the mile in 7:24, not too bad
considering the quick start. Since this is a flat course I start pushiing the
pace just a little, or at least pushing the effort, because I don't want to
relax, slow down, and have too much left at the end. I won't have a big hill
that requires a lot of effort to get up this time. I'm hoping I'll still be
under 15:00 at 2-miles. The course is out-and-back, so I start looking for
  the 2-mile mark as we near where the mile maark is on the way out. There it is
- 14:52, the second mile covered in 7:28, and though feeling tired, I still have
enough left to try and catch a few runners ahead of me. Now I'm really starting
to feel the effort, but I won't let myself relax and slow down. As I make the
penultimate turn I know it's only about 2 more minutes of running, so I crank up
the effort as much as I can. Now I've made the last tuen with less than 100m to
go and I can see the clock ticking up toward the next minute. I'm sprinting as
hard as I can! Yes!!! I made it before the clock turn to 23:00.  I can hardly
believe it. I was hoping just to have a crack at 23:30, but according to my
Garmin I ran 22:56, a 56 second improvement over my 5K 2 weeks ago! I finish
49th over all and 2nd in my AG, only 22 seconds behind the AG winner. That's my
fastest time since Sep. 2004 when I ran 22:23.


Tel Hai 5k
Tel Hai 5k Exceeds Expectations
Milo German

Who could have possibly predicted that, ultimately, Thanksgiving Day would be known more for the running of the Tel Hai 5K than the Macy's Parade or the day before Black Friday.  Certainly not the Pilgrims.

After all, when a race that supports an Adult Day Camp (Tel Hai) has a funeral home as a co-sponsor, you begin to understand why Tel Hai is, in fact, the race from which all others are measured.

Though the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon (formally known as the Runners World Half) may carry the billing " . . . Run Where the Editors Train . . .", it cannot possibly match the Tel Hai billing of " . . . Please Run Because We Can't . . ."

Bucking the non-personal online registration processes now so commonplace, with Tel Hai you mail in a check or register the day of.  The anticipation begins when you receive your postcard confirmation during the preceding week, so I recommend you mail a check.

The electricity the day of Tel Hai (aka Thanksgiving) is like Christmas morning without the presents.  Check that.  Not quite true.  One of the giveaways was a laptop satchel inscribed with "Tel Hai Camp" in bold print so large that even the most aged Tel Hai camper could spot it at night.  It's certainly a prize any Tel Hai finisher would carry proudly through metropolitan airports while wearing a finishing medal, your most recent Marathon Jacket and/or other fashionable running wear.


(1)    Our own Janice Lear was the overall woman's champion, with a time of 20:25 that eerily resembles her age group.
(2)    Keith Straw thought he could run this race incognito.  Not to be.  After being recognized at the starting line as "The Pink Fairy" by a young fan, the fashionable Brit was motivated to run a PR, breaking 20 minutes for the first time.  Though 19 minutes plus does not resemble his age, Keith did finish first in his age group.
(3)    Other Fast Tracks medallists:  Suzanne Koup-Larson and Rachel German 3rd in respective age groups.
(4)    Joan Osborne 2nd in age group.  (Joan promised she would hang her Tel Hai silver medal on the corner of the framed Boston finishing picture, so proudly hung behind the cash register at The Running Place.)
(5)    Robin McMonagle a 5K PR.  And for me, a Tel Hai PR (which is much more impressive and meaningful than a PR from any other 5K.)
(6)    Other Fast Trackers:  Hannah German, Sarah German, Pam Santarlasci, Sorita Averill, Ethel Cook and Kerry Wilson

So, if you yearn for a race that includes both a turkey and a Santa, next year, please come and join.