3.5 CHICAGO | RACE RECAP

Friday night I found myself on a dark bridge in the rain with 39 other runners about to go all out in an unsanctioned street race.  Easily the most exhilarating race I’ve done. Love these people. Love this sport.  — @jeremyjongsma

The weeks leading up to a Take The Bridge race, I sweat the minutiae of timing, registration, gear and all the small procedures that help an event run smoothly. But Chicago weekend reminded me how much running is social, and that a race is about a lot more than how much water to buy or where to place the start line.

Chicago was a nonstop running party, where the local running community took us in from the start. I ran with a small pack of local athletes at the 3RUN2 workout, and with my friends the Heartbreakers at the Nike shakeout.  I cheered at mile 17 with Edge, and at mile 18 with 3RUN2.  I partied post TTB (hell yeah) and post marathon.  I even bit the bullet and ate deep dish pizza.

photo by Matt Mitrick / @mmitrick

photo by Matt Mitrick / @mmitrick

So what I most want to say is thank you. Call this niche of the running community what you want — grassroots, unsanctioned, homespun. All I know is, we felt part of it all in Chicago.  Thank you for connecting with our event, and for a hell of a weekend.  

Adam


THE MEN

So, about that Friday night, October 6, Goose Island. Close to 40 men took off from the chalk line on the Cherry Avenue Bridge. The ground was slick from the the afternoon’s rain, and the first turn of that 1.3 mile loop was pretty sharp.

photo by Joon Wong / @joon_y_wong

photo by Joon Wong / @joon_y_wong

I could have named five potential winners going in. On target, Jordan Donnelly of Heartbreakers took the prime, not far ahead of Custom Performance’s Greg Laraia. We knew both these guys well — Jordan was third in TTB Boston back in April, and Greg won TTB Triboro this summer (while taking top three in two other Summer Series races).

Fast forward, as a din of cowbells signals the winner is approaching. Cue Darcy, aka lead course marshall. And, Kam Casey of Chicago’s Rxunners takes our bridge, in an air of confetti, running two laps in 13:10, around 5 minute pace over 2.6 miles. Shit was electric.  

photo by Matt Mitrick / @mmitrick

photo by Matt Mitrick / @mmitrick

Greg followed nine seconds back, and Jordan ran 14 flat. He’d be the first to admit the second lap hurt.  But there he was, flashing the Heartbreak sign, and playing to the awesome energy of that crowd.  Two more Chicago guys took fourth and fifth — Logan Means and Daniel Kittaka (DWRunning).

I’ve never run so hard or placed so poorly…I can’t wait to do it again — @jamesravenell

photo by Sean Hopkins / @sirbruceleroy

photo by Sean Hopkins / @sirbruceleroy

THE WOMEN

How to top that? That energy. That revved-up crowd. The wind picked up, tossing all that fresh confetti. The women huddled as the men finished. And then the women shot off!  

We knew Tori Gerlach was the favorite; she’s an elite runner who just capped a stellar career at Penn State.  Remember TTB is an all-comer’s race?  Well for a night, Tori was off the track, away from formal races and just part of our community.  How many NCAA steeples ended with a confetti shower, Tori?   🎉🎉🎉  

photo by Sean Hopkins / @sirbruceleroy

photo by Sean Hopkins / @sirbruceleroy

Tori took the prime and the win, in 14:29, around 5:30 pace.  The race behind her was awesome, and it was all Chicago ladies.  Kelly McShea took second for Chicago New Balance, in 15:03, 18 seconds ahead of Britney Whitehead. Josey Mintel of Fleet Feet / Nike was fourth, ahead of Kelly’s teammate Karen Lesiewicz.  

By now it was raining again. You know, many athletes tell us the rain makes the night feel even more badass. It sure makes it a little harder for us, but we’ve also learned a lot this year (there’ve been a lot of rainy TTB races). Anyway, we were done and ready to celebrate at Goose Island Cross Fit, aka the afterparty.

See you next year, Chicago!

I’m proud to be part of this community that runs well for the sole sake of running well. No medal, no light, no permission...just guts — @joanna_kines
photo by Sean Hopkins / @sirbruceleroy

photo by Sean Hopkins / @sirbruceleroy

3.5 CHICAGO | WOMEN TO WATCH

Take The Bridge ends our 2017 racing season kind of like we began it — in a new city, on a weekend in which running is the star of the show.  We opened this year in Boston, marathon weekend. And now we’re super excited to make our Chicago debut two days before the city’s own storied 26.2.

There are many more threads that bind these stories. Neither Chicago nor Boston has the massive bridges on which we’re so used to staging out-and-back races in New York.  But so what? As in Boston, runs with local runners led us to an epic course that’s a little off the beaten path.  We’ll race a fast, tactical, spectator-friendly two-lapper over many small bridges.  And like any TTB, this race is ultimately about the local clubs. We are humbled by their turnout,  representing Fleet Feet / Nike Racing, 3RUN2, DW Running, NP and New Balance.

THE FAVORITES

Let’s meet a few of the ladies who we expect at the front of the pack on Friday.

Each was gracious enough to share a little about their season, their goals and their race strategy.  Oh, and we asked each one — mile or marathon? Verdict, mile, 3:2. Bring on the speed!


JOSEY MINTEL

Fleet Feet / Nike Racing

5K PR:  17:04

WHY TTBN ?

It sounded up my alley: short, no clocks, all competition. I was excited about being able to race during marathon weekend in Chicago, too!

RECENT RACES?

After a breakthrough year in 2016, I've struggled a lot coming back to racing in 2017 after a winter hiatus. I'm most proud of getting out and racing when I don't necessarily feel ready; I keep reaching for one rung of the ladder at a time and staying determined to find fitness again at the top.

RACE STRATEGY?

My coach and I always approach racing with the same central thesis: go out strong, but stay poised until the last third of the race. In the last third, let go, compete, and run with heart.

MILE OR MARATHON?

For 2018, I would probably opt for the mile. My long term goals (8-10 years) are marathon oriented, but I still have some speed in my legs and some business to attend to on the track first :)

josey.jpg

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TORI GERLACH

5K PR:  15:50

WHY TTB?

I heard about it through some friends who are also competing. I'm visiting my boyfriend here in Chicago and thought I'd sign up. I am just starting my fall build-up and thought it would be the perfect hard effort race for me.

RECENT RACES?

I'm proud of my third place finish at NCAA's in the 3000m steeplechase this past June. 

RACE STRATEGY?

I haven't thought too much about it but I feel comfortable in the front of most races. I wouldn't be surprised if I took it out and dictated the pace.

MILE OR MARATHON?

I would definitely put all my efforts into the mile. It's a really fun race for me and I like the training better for it. I haven't thought about doing a marathon but maybe in the future I'll try it.


KELLY MCSHEA

Chicago New Balance

5K PR:  18:14

WHY TTB?

It looked like a fun race with a different approach in a place I have never been!

RECENT RACES?

I ran the Bucktown 5k and that went well for me (Editor’s note: she won)! This will be the last race for me this fall!

RACE STRATEGY?

Race as hard as I can and have fun!

MILE OR MARATHON?

If these were my only two options I think I would choose the marathon...just so I could spend more time with my teammates on long runs!

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KAREN LESIEWICZ

Chicago New Balance

MILE PR: 4:50

WHY TTB?

My teammate Kelly McShea and I run for New Balance Chicago and we thought it would be a fun thing to do (while the rest of our teammates prepare for the marathon on Sunday! Haha.)

RECENT RACES?

I raced the Wintrust Lakefront 10 miler this past Spring, placing 2nd over all female in 1:47.

RACE STRATEGY?

Run for fun and personal bests. Also, don’t get lost.

MILE OR MARATHON?

I’d race the mile any day! I have a college PR of 4:50 and enjoy the quick, fast, hard efforts.


JESSICA BIRD

DWRunning

5K PR:  19:18

WHY TTB?

It sounded like a lot of fun and a great way to meet some new runners while also representing my run crew DWRunning here in Chicago. I am a long distance girl but this community drew me and I decided to do something outside my comfort zone.

RECENT RACES?

I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in Wisconsin and placed second 2 weeks ago, and also ran my first 50 mile ultra marathon in Door County, WI in June which I won. I am currently in my taper for my second 50 mile ultra marathon on October 14.

RACE STRATEGY?

I don’t have much of a strategy! I am not used to planning for 2.6 miles - usually at that point I am just getting warmed up :) I am just going to go out and have fun and try to keep up.

MILE OR MARATHON?

Being an ultra runner my efforts are going to focus on a golden ticket race for the Western States 100. It is so prestigious and on my bucket list for sure.

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3.5 CHICAGO | MEN TO WATCH

The Take The Bridge men toe the line this Friday with favorites from Chicago, Boston and NYC.  This race is our fifth and final of 2017. it is about wrapping up a hell of a season, and it is about representing our host city Chicago.  That means racing the streets of Goose Island, a throwdown in a part of the city that’s easy to overlook. Two laps that put spectators up close. And most of all an awesome local turnout, from clubs such as DWRunning, Rxunners, NP, 3RUN2 and Track and Trough.

Let’s get to know a little about our course, and about our favorites. See you in Goose Island!

THE COURSE + SCHEDULE

TTB Chicago is two big laps, for a total of about 2.6 miles. Our NYC races tend to be out-and-back or point-to-point, over huge bridges.  But Boston pioneered a new, exciting format of loops that cross many small bridges. It’s exciting as hell to watch, as runners cash out lessons on lap two that they learned the first time around.

Most of the course is the same for everybody. Start on the Cherry Avenue Bridge, and follow a counterclockwise loop over North Ave, Magnolia Ave, the Division Street Bridge, and the streets of Goose Island. But there is a small portion where you can choose your own way on Goose Island, all the way back to Cherry Avenue.  For all we know, tactics on Goose Island could shape the podium

Men lead off at 8 sharp. Women follow at 8:30PM.  Join the finish chute along the Cherry Avenue Bridge, and you’ll be treated to intimate views of the start, finish and prime checkpoint.  Or fan out pretty much anywhere on the course. The runners will appreciate it! Just for safety, fans should stay off the narrow North Ave and Division St Bridges.

Don’t forget to follow via IG Live at @takethebridge, too.  And see our complete fan guide at takethebridge.us/chicago

THE FAVORITES

Let’s meet a few of the guys - from across the country - that we expect to bring the race on Friday.  Those making their debut were kind enough to share a little about their race strategy.  And some of our NYC veterans had a word or two of advice.


DANIEL KITTAKA

DWRunning

5K PR:  15:50

WHY TTB?

TTB Chicago is an opportunity to support racing against time, rivals, and our environment. I love the TTB concept and want to represent in my hometown!

UPCOMING RACES?

I'm training for the TCS NYC Marathon, the birthplace of TTB.

RACE STRATEGY

Balance running within myself and putting myself in position for success over the first 2/3 of the race. Use the last 1/3 to empty the tank.

MILE OR MARATHON?

Marathon, no question. Physically and psychologically the marathon is my event. Plus the training to race mileage ratio is much better.

photo by @bibrave

photo by @bibrave


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LOGAN MEANS

Unattached, Chicago-area local

5K PR: 16:06

WHY TTB?

I only heard of the race through a co-worker a week ago, just long enough to get pumped up about it. I looked at your previous races and thought it'd be silly to miss such a unique race. Also, the prize purse is quite nice.

RECENT RACES?

I'm coming off an injury from the winter and not being able to train like I used to. The Stan's Donuts 5K was a big race for me this year because it showed me that I haven't slipped as far as I thought I had, and I have the capacity to grow again as a runner and resharpen my mental game to where it was. And there's still plenty of room to improve after that! Pumpkins in the Park this fall will be my next chance to see my progress.

RACE STRATEGY?

it's going to be a strong, tactical start, and running with guts to the finish. Once I know the course, I'll find my kick, and that's it. Patience and then power.

MILE OR MARATHON?

Definitely the mile. I've run two marathons now, and while they were a fantastic experience, the volume is not attractive to me right now. In high school, the 400 and 800 were my bread and butter, so the mental/speed component is still with me. I didn't get to run a true mile in college, but my 1500 time was very promising. 4 minutes and change versus 3 hours or so? Rather get the hurt done and out of the way.


JORDAN DONNELLY

The Heartbreakers

5K PR:  14:51

WHY TTB?

After making my debut in the Boston edition, I really wanted to come back to TTB and have a Heartbreaker challenge for the W. I was a tired/hungover/jetlagged mess in Boston following jumping off a 16 hour flight from Hong Kong and running the BAA 5k all that same morning. However i was WOKE by the electric atmosphere of the TTB crowd despite the rain. I want more of the same in Chi-town (minus the hungover/pre-race race/jetlag part).

UPCOMING RACES?
TTB will be pretty much a Fall road season opener followed by some more road 5ks and XC to get strong for indoor track. I've spent the past few weeks having fun around Europe and in the Alps mountains. 

RACE STRATEGY?
Get out hard and keep pushin!

MILE OR MARATHON?
Sub 4 mile baby!! Knocked on the door of it last year and hungry to give it another go this Fall (editor’s note: dude ran a 4:06 indoors this year. He know what’s he talkin’ about).

jordan.jpg

photo by Luc Larson

photo by Luc Larson

KAM CASEY

Rxunners

5K PR: 14:57 (indoors)

WHY TTB?

I saw the other races in NY and it was something unique from a road race or track like I'm used to so I decided to see if I could throw down.

RECENT RACES?

I PR'd in the mile (4:20, flat converted at Lewis University) and the 1500 (4:02 at Bryan Clay Invite) this past track season, not super quick times, but good testament in an improvement in foot speed for me!

RACE STRATEGY?

I'm just going to go out with the pack and feel it out. I'm early in my training cycle for track so I don't have a ton of speed on my legs, but I'm a racer, and if I'm in the mix with a K to go, I'm going for it.

MILE OR MARATHON?

Mile, I've never had incredible foot speed and I've always wanted to break into the 4 "0's" in the mile. The marathon is definitely in my future, but while I've got the speed, I'd like to use it.


COLBY SCHULZ

3RUN2 (Now lives in Brooklyn)
Top 10 in TTB Triboro this year

5K PR: 16:57

WHY TTB CHI?

Having previously lived in Chicago, this race is definitely special to me. Chicago was my entry point into the running community and the local crew Three Run Two will forever be the home team. I'm excited to run some familiar streets with some familiar faces while helping to bring a bit of NYC running flavor into the city.

RACE STRATEGY?

Go out under 5k pace and just let 'er rip. I'll be trying to keep whoever is in front of me within final kick range.

ADVICE TO THE ROOKIE?

This thing is a street race. There are cars, traffic lights, pedestrians, and other runners all over the place. I'd recommend checking out the course beforehand. Getting a practice run in can help prevent getting caught off guard by the inevitable surprises that pop up during the real deal.

photo by Janelle Hartman

photo by Janelle Hartman


photo by Janelle Hartman

photo by Janelle Hartman

FRANCISCO BALAGTAS

Hoboken Harriers

5K PR: 17:09

WHY TTB CHI?

I am running the Chicago Marathon and I had run the TTB summer series and this felt like a natural fit. Chicago is also my second favorite city next to NYC. Also this will be a good warmup/shakeout for the marathon.  

Note: Franny ran all three of our TTB summer races in NYC, having earned his way in - each time - through our Strava segment challenge. He took seventh overall in our season finale on the Williamsburg Bridge.

RACE STRATEGY?

Get comfortable for the first lap then drop the hammer on the second after settling in. Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your surrounding

ADVISE TO THE ROOKIE?

Study the course, walk it a few times, jog It once or twice. Pick the spots where/when you want to make moves. Run your race not someone else's. Don't get sucked into going out too fast.


GREG LARAIA

Custom Performance

placed top 3 in all our TTB summer 2017 races, including a win on the Triboro!

5K PR: 15-flat

WHY TTB CHI?

To rep my city -- NYC baby! Colby, Francisco and I are gonna go out there and crush. I have also never been to Chicago and I heard a lot of people are going so I figure why not to do it, and wait there is a TTB race. Sign me up!!!

RACE STRATEGY

The same as any other TTB race. 100%, 100% of the time. Let’s get it!

ADVICE TO THE ROOKIE?

Make the best of it. Run for your city, run for your streets. TTB isn’t your normal race, this race will give you the opportunity to experience something new in your running career. It will take you to new limits and open you eyes to what you can really do. The alley cat style race gives you a rush that a normal road race does not. Be ready for it!

photo by Janelle Hartman

photo by Janelle Hartman

3.4 WILLIAMSBURG | RACE RECAP

Every Take The Bridge race has its own character, a function of the field, the course, and even the weather.  Boston’s two loops had a track feel, Triboro mixed in a little cross-country, and Manhattan men were a tactical slog through a down pour.

Last Friday’s Summer Series finale came down to the new course; at 2.6 miles, a brutal, steep out and back on the Williamsburg Bridge. We’ve raced the WB four times in three seasons, each course with its own twist—  one way, out and back, starting in Brooklyn or Manhattan.  This time, runners raced from the waterfront, sprinting three blocks up South 5th — past volunteers stopping traffic with glowsticks — before hitting the bridge ramp. I raced this course at a November Project workout, and man did it hurt. There’s no doubt the ascent put a sting in runner’s legs.

Photo by Jody Bailey

Photo by Jody Bailey

Matt Smith and Broderick Gann kicked off the night with a powerful, wire-to-wire duel. Each averaged near or under 5 minutes a mile in their first TTB.  This is incredible stuff.

Matt had gotten to know the course by winning our Strava segment challenge. Although Broderick kept it close, trading the lead off and on throughout the race, Matt was always there when it counted. He won the prime, and took the lead for good down the stretch, to win by four seconds in 12:56. TTB Triboro winner Greg Laraia of Custom Performance was third in 13:10, capping a series in which he’s placed top three in every race.

Photo by Jody Bailey

Photo by Jody Bailey

We made the decision to run the ladies first in our inaugural TTB in 2015. You know, ladies first. There wasn’t much more to it, and the practice stuck. But this time, we figured why not flip the order? There are some differences. The second race of the night tends to be better spectated, and to have less pedestrian traffic.  

Vicky Kornieva of Bellmore Striders lived up to the race’s headline status in every way, The prime videos show her with a massive advantage over a chase pack of four ladies.  And she simply got stronger, winning in 15:01, 16 seconds ahead of Dashing Whippets’ Jennie Cohen. A pair followed in their first Take The Bridge — Jennie’s teammate Grace Bowen ran 15:22, and Katie Michno followed three seconds back.  

photo by Jody Bailey

photo by Jody Bailey

This summer, sponsor Custom Performance endowed a $1,500 team series prizes, where the top three men’s and women’s teams earned $400, $250 or $100. We follow a team scoring system that’s a little high school cross-country, a little track and field. Top three runners per team score, but the points start high — 20 for first place, and so on.  Like cross country, every scorer matters. Thus unfolded the drama on our men’s side.

Coming into the race, Front Runners held a slim lead over Custom and Dashing Whippets. All places were in play. Three Front Runners in top 10 left no doubt, and they walked off with a well-deserved win.  But Dashing Whippets third man made all the difference; 20th place Peter Goldwasser edged out Custom Performance’s second man, enough to give his team second place by a point.  Whippet Ladies had a huge night, to win the series. Coming in, they held a small lead over NP. But that 2-3 put them over the top, and then some. A big night from Team MHRC cemented third, not far behind NP.

photo by Matt Vosburgh for Bakline Running

photo by Matt Vosburgh for Bakline Running

What’s next for TTB? One, our first race in Chicago, in just a few weeks. We’re working with our friends Luc and Sara in the running community there. They know the courses, they have the ideas, and they’re helping us ensure the race has its own, local character. We’ll visit Chicago a few times in the coming weeks (better be time for a Cubs game). Registration opens September 22.

After Chicago we’ll reflect on an amazing 2017 that started in February, when we first scouted out Boston. As always, runners, race volunteers, sponsors and photographers drove this series, and we’re grateful to have been along for the ride. See you on the bridge!

3.4 WILLIAMSBURG | WOMENS PREVIEW

Two races. Two different winners.  And a new one on the way. Welcome to the women’s finale of our 2017 Take The Bridge Summer Series.

Let’s get to know our field favorites — Jennie Cohen, Vicky Kornieva and Katie Michno.  They’ve won at TTB and the Brooklyn Mile, and placed highly in the Red Hook Crit. They’ve got big goals for this fall;  we’re thrilled they’re making a stop at our race. They’re even willing - generously - to give a little insight into their race strategy, over a new and challenging 2.6 mile route. Finally, they’ve got a few tips for anybody running their first TTB. Hint, they all seem to agree that conquering the uphill back from Manhattan is kinda everything!  

THE COURSE + SCHEDULE

Tthe women take center stage this race. Men lead off at 8 sharp. Women follow at 8:30PM. Cheer all along the course - on South 5th from Kent to Bedford, or find a spot along the bridge pedestrian path. Follow via IG Live at @takethebridge.  And see our complete fan guide at takethebridge.us/williamsburg

THE FAVORITES

PHOTO BY PETE THOMPSON

PHOTO BY PETE THOMPSON

Jennie Cohen | Dashing Whippets

Jennie’s a TTB veteran who is definitively rounding back into shape from a hip injury. She won back t0 back Take The Bridge races in 2016 by making a patient second half move on the prime winner. Williamsburg — on the Williamsburg (from the familiar Brooklyn side), and over the Manhattan.  And then her season ended.  This year, she took 4th place in TTB Triboro, and ran a near PR at Percy Sutton 5K.

Count on Jennie to run smart, conserving her energy for a steady push in the second half.  We don’t expect her to get tripped up in early-race fireworks. But anybody at the front is going to have her on their minds.  

Jennie’s led the deep, talented Whippets team to first place in our Custom Performance Team Series standings, with four unique scorers so far. Teammate Bianca Jackson won our season open on Manhattan; we’re sad to see her sit this one out with an injury..  

Vicky Kornieva | Bellmore Striders

Vicky won TTB Brooklyn 2016, in a gutsy front-run that nabbed her the prime en route. We had met her for the first time a race earlier, at Queensboro, where she took third in a loaded field led by Team MHRC’s Meg Ryan.

Vicky’s quite honest about her race mentality.  Did we say that second half is what makes or breaks this race? She realized she was going to win Brooklyn last year on her way back from the turnaround point — she “stopped hearing foot steps”.  The lead gave her confidence and made her push that much harder to the end.

But at Triboro, she was still early in her season training.  Hitting the prime checkpoint in 3rd place, she says she dug deep but could not gain an inch on the leaders (Meg Ryan would win again).

The turnaround on bridge was the reality check - the leaders were too far ahead and no one else right behind me, and thats when I knew my 3rd spot was the best I could do.

Vicky’s coming into great shape - she recently broke 5 minutes at the Farmingdale Main Street Mile, and is looking toward cross-country nationals.  She hinted at running for the prime this time, but she’s willing to see who takes the lead and go from there.  We agree with her that “the way back will be the hardest part of the bridge, it always is.”

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PHOTO BY GEORGE GRULLON

PHOTO BY GEORGE GRULLON

Katie Michno

Katie’s a rising force in the local racing scene, . She ran a strong Crit, and earned her first BQ early this year at the Los Angeles marathon (with another fall marathon on tap).  But the summer has been all about speed, capped by an impressive win at the Brooklyn Mile open division, in 5:12.

Katie’’s tested the TTB waters by taking fifth in NYC vs The World last November, an out and back course on the Williamsburg from the Manhattan side. She’s done her homework, and agrees the opening hill is going to put a sting on anybody who goes out too hard:.

My goal is to make sure I run smart on the first incline to be able to have some good power left in my legs when we reach the check point and turn around for the second climb.


CUSTOM PERFORMANCE TEAM SERIES PRIZE

The Whippet ladies hold a narrow lead over November Project for the Custom Performance Series Prize, with Team MHRC in third.  They shone bright at Triboro, where Jennie led teammates Emmi Aguillard and Carly Graham to 4-5-6. Emmi was also second at Manhattan, behind Bianca.

We sat down with Jennie to learn a little more this team. Ps -  don’t knock their guys’ team either, currently in third place in our men’s standings.

TTB: WHAT SETS THE WHIPPETS APART FROM THE REST?

JC: I love the Whippets! It's my third stab at an NYC running club, so I definitely have some points of comparison. What sets us apart is that we focus on two things: connecting runners and training really hard. Matt Wong, the co-founder, works tirelessly to find new talent and set them up with the right people on the team. People train together and push each other, and in doing so they form really great friendships. The Whippets is like a fun social club with this shared experience.

TTB:  YOUR LEADING THE TEAM SERIES THIS YEAR . . . HOW DID YOU GET HERE? 

JC: I may have played a small role in the Whippets signing up. I had some Whippet friends who would come out to cheer. Because I know Darcy and Adam have a pulse on the newest things in running -- they connected me to the Red Hook Crit and Joe Dinoto's OSR Races, I'll happily sign on to whatever they are involved in. When I got injured last year, I encouraged Elizabeth Laseter to finish out the summer series. That may have set the stage for more Whippet participation.

TTB: THE AFTERPARTY?

JC:  TTB is also a great venue to watch these running relationships play out. You have a bunch of people connected by this non-traditional race. People race hard then everyone celebrates and re-hashes at the same place afterwards, regardless of what team you are on

PHOTO BY DA PING

PHOTO BY DA PING

YOUR FIRST TTB?

Here’s a little more advice from the ladies who know!

"With TTB, it’s always who can finish strongest after the turnaround, because you can really lose steam going up the bridge that last time. It's that last segment of uphill running that really determines who is going to win. Of course, you have to be unafraid to jet on the downhills."

Jennie Cohen | Dashing Whippets

"Scout the course so you know what to expect. And bring your A game!"

Vicky Kornieva | Bellemore Striders

"Be bold.  Races this short are over in an instant and you want to know that you put it all out there."

Katie Michno

3.4 WILLIAMSBURG | MENS PREVIEW

We love street running because you can always tweak the course. There’s no track. No certification.  Always the chance to mix it up.

So this Friday, Take The Bridge takes the Williamsburg for the fourth time in three seasons.  It’s our 2017 Summer Series finale. We’ll settle bragging rights and hand out team series prizes.  And we’ll greet a ton of familiar faces, who have been with us all summer, as athletes, race crew,  photographers and sponsors.

More to the point, we’ll debut a sick new route — 2.6 miles, starting at the bottom of the hill at Kent and South 5th.  

Let’s get to know a little more about our men’s race.  Women’s preview to come.

And is this your first TTB? Well read on, cuz we have a little advice!

THE COURSE + SCHEDULE

This year, we’ve had a lot of fun breaking just a little from our traditional out-and-back format.

Boston was two loops. Triboro was point to point.

Williamsburg is mostly out and back, with that extra half-mile, from Kent and South 5th to our finish line on the bridge.  It’s mostly uphill - don’t hate us.  And that climb back from the turnaround is gonna hurt!

Men lead off this time, racing at 8 sharp. Women follow at 8:30PM. There’s great spots to cheer all along the course - on South 5th from Kent to Bedford, and at many spots along the bridge pedestrian path. And we’ll be broadcasting on IG Live at @takethebridge.  See our complete fan guide at takethebridge.us/williamsburg

 

PHOTO BY DA PING

PHOTO BY DA PING

THE FAVORITES

We’ve had the treat of watching Greg Laraia of Custom Performance and Bellmore Striders’ Sean Mahon trade wins this summer.  Sean dominated a stacked field over the Manhattan, taking the prime and never letting up. A downpour made this race chaotic — visibility on the bridge was terrible, puddles were treacherous and the metal bits were just slippery.  And Sean kept his cool. As Greg said:

Sean has a mean kick with some crazy leg speed so I knew once we started going back down the bridge towards the finish he had me

Triboro was a different beast — calm as can be, a clear night in a peaceful setting. Sean and Greg ran together most of the way, across the soccer field, cross-country style, in a pack including prime winner Cory Helder of the Whippets, who would take third. Although Greg pulled away on the bridge descent, he never really thought he had it (well until he saw that confetti). .

One of these guys should end his summer with bragging rights.

Should, anyway. But who else is in the mix?

 

WE HAVE OUR EYES ON

PHOTO BY BEN KO

PHOTO BY BEN KO

MATTHEW SMITH

A welcome newcomer to the local running scene (and to NYC). He didn’t just win the Claim Your Bridge | WB Strava segment challenge. Rather, he struck up a friendly rivalry with second-place Logan Yu via Strava, that resulted in an exciting duel the last night of the challenge.  As they put it, they’d run faster that way. And that’s what happened.   Nearly #Breaking6 is no joke - that’s 4:47 pace folks, dodging whatever the bridge threw his way.  And we knew he was fit - he went 4:30 at Brooklyn Mile, to win the open men’s division.

BRODERICK GANN

Broderick has range. Since last fall, he’s won the International Surf City marathon in Southern Cal in 2:34, won an NYRR 15K cross-country race and broken 1:10 at a small half in the Rockaways.

He’s also won the OSR Men’s 10K — he straddles the unsanctioned and mainstream running worlds about as well as anybody in the city (looking at you, Jerry Faulkner).  We love Broderick’s laid-back attitude in his first TTB. He says he was driven to sign up in order to ‘bust out of his comfort zone’, and he’s skipping an elaborate strategy in favor of showing up and sizing the race up on the spot. We’re not arguing with success.

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CUSTOM PERFORMANCE TEAM SERIES PRIZE | TEAM HIGHLIGHT | FRONT RUNNERS NYC

This afterparty, we hand out a total of $1,500 to the top men’s and women’s teams of the series, a prize generously sponsored  by Custom Performance. Each winning team gets $400, second place $250, third place $100.

We sat down with Steve Waldon of Front Runners New York; his team enters our finale with a narrow lead over Custom Performance and Dashing Whippets.  

Steve scored for FRNY at Manhattan and Triboro, and has done an amazing job rallying his teammates to chase that prize. Teammate Colin Ogilvie was 6th at Manhattan. Martin Sommerschuh took 5th at Triboro (and is also a contender for top 5 Friday!).  

We’ve also enjoyed getting to know FRNY a ton this summer — at our races and afterparties. The club organizes multisport workouts  — runs, swims, bike rides —  6 days a week for athletes of all abilities. As Steve puts, they’re “all over the place (in a good way) and can cater to everyone.”  So we’ll be sure to check out their workouts once we catch out breath from this summer!

PHOTO BY DA PING

PHOTO BY DA PING

TTB: WHATS YOUR STRATEGY FOR TTB WILLIAMSBURG?   

SW: I don't know if I have any better strategy than to just go out hard and hold the f*ck on. I'm a long distance guy so I'm never going to be able to sit and kick — my best result will be to push from the start, even though I know it's painful going up the pedestrian side of the W'burg bridge from BK.

TTB: WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THIS COURSE?

SW: I think the toughest thing about the course may be right after the turnaround after reaching Manhattan. There's not a giant downhill to the finish, so that final uphill is where the race will be won (or lost!). I just have to accept that it will be painful and think about beers when it's all over.

TTB: THE FRONT RUNNERS ARE THE LEADING TEAM IN THE SERIES STANDINGS.  TELL US HOW YOU GOT HERE, AND HOW YOU ARE FEELING ABOUT YOUR CHANCE? 

SW: The team title for me is pretty big. We're not the fastest team out there, but we can be pretty gritty and get the right people at the right time. Sometimes I feel like FRNY is a big underdog in a city full of seriously fast runners, so having a chance to stay competitive is a point of pride for me. Custom Performance and the DWRT can still take the title but we're going to do our best to close this out!

TTB: HOW ABOUT THE AFTERPARTY?  

SW: TTB has been a fantastic way to socialize (and compete!) with the other teams because we've all got the same mindset. I might not know anyone's names but I can strike up a conversation with someone right before or after the race because I think we all love the format so much that we just want to talk about it to anyone willing to listen. There's no better way to do this than over beers, and the post-race celebrations have been the tops!

 

PHOTO BY MATT VOSBURGH

PHOTO BY MATT VOSBURGH

YOUR FIRST TTB?

We leave you with a little advice from our veterans

"For any newcomer to TTB, the best advice I would give is to have fun! Let the crowd and the environment take you. The excitement from the cheer squads will pump you up like never before so soak it in and make it count. The races are relatively short so 100%, 100% of the time."

Greg Laraia | Custom Performance

"Feed off the energy! Everyone is crazy excited, so just go with it! But remember that the course isn't closed. Be courteous to pedestrians and bikers because they own this city just as much as we do."

Steve Waldon | Front Runners NYC

3.4 WILLIAMSBURG | HOSTS: NP BK

November Project.  If you know of our races, you know of NP . . . and if you live in NYC and dont know of this “tribe” then you have been living under a rock.  Last March, NP found out about TTB, and in a matter of minutes bought up the remaining tickets still available (back in the day when we didn’t sell out in seconds).  This year we have seen NP show up to become known as the team with the best cheer squad.  But did you know that as of May 2017, there are TWO tribes in our fine city: the original NYC tribe, and new on the docket, Brooklyn.  FINALLY Brooklynites don't have to trek all the way to Gracie Mansion to check out an NP workout!!!  The new Brooklyn tribe is growing fast, and even better, it is co-lead by two #bossladies!  SO, how could we NOT have them host our finale?   

Jeanie Tinnely was a co-leader for the original NP NYC tribe, and Sierra Asplundh was a NP Philly regular before “pledging” the Brooklyn tribe.  Read on to hear straight from Jeanie and Sierra, about the fundamentals of NP BK, and, why the Williamsburg is a perfect fit!  

NOVEMBER PROJECT NYC HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE, BUT NP BROOKLYN JUST BECAME A TRIBE IN MAY.  HOW DID THE BROOKLYN TRIBE GET STARTED?

JT: Brooklyn has always been a community that November project wanted to tap into. November project NYC lead Monday workouts starting in June of 2016 in Brooklyn primarily over all the bridges in Brooklyn to create some hype and attention in Brooklyn. In January I decided to start the pledge process of creating a tribe in Brooklyn. Fort Greene Park was centrally located and has a lot of versatility for workouts. It's also close to many trains ( although most tribe members bike or run to the workout) .

SA: I had wanted to move to New York and take on the lifestyle to see how it would impact my work and my life. I moved here in December and wasn't worried about keeping up with my same crew/different location. Little did I know, that trying to make a 9 AM meeting in Soho, after hitting up a 6:30 AM workout with commuting from Brooklyn & back, would result in being late. Luckily, I had someone else who had been craving a home tribe in Fort Greene that valued how November Project had been impacting her life, and asked me to bring it to life.

WHAT SETS THE BK TRIBE APART FROM THE NYC TRIBE?

JT: Obviously our location offers more variety and grassy areas to workout and 4 sets of tremendous stairs. Also both Sierra and I have some interesting backgrounds that lend for a different feel. Dogs can be off leash at Fort Greene Park before 9 am so its a puppy fest through the park which is quite fun for the tribe members.

AS: Other than location, we thrive off of a tough workout that starts and ends with fun (dancing, possibly singing too).  We've been working with the park department to create volunteer opportunities and there's a break fast Crew that goes to the same spot after every workout - bringing that neighborhood vibe to city dwellers.

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BEING A LEADER OF AN NP TRIBE IS A HUGE UNPAID TIME COMMITMENT, TELL US HOW YOU KNOW EACH OTHER AND WHAT BEING A LEADER OF THE TRIBE MEANS TO YOU!

JT:  Sierra and I met at the NYC Marathon this past fall. We were introduced by Beth the co-leader from Philly November Project. Sierra was interviewing for a position in NYC and we were introduced as we are both Cancer survivors. Its been really nice getting to know someone who's been through similar treatments and has learned to gracefully live like Cancer was never an issue. Sierra moved to Philly and was couch surfing on my couch for the first few months of her staying in NYC.  I started pledging Brooklyn on my own and brought Sierra on as a co-leader in February. She was an obvious choice. She has a great way of connecting with people and absolutely loves building community. She is also great behind the camera lens and as soon as I started pledging she offered support in any way she could.

AS: For me, being a leader means you get to continue the legacy that was started in Boston that is now a world wide movement. Yes, it is a responsibility: looking out for everyone's safety, planning the workouts, ensuring everyone feels welcomed, and waking up even earlier. And, that's now becoming more and more my favorite part. Watching everyone come out of the trees, the far off path, up the stairs - especially in the winter - is the magic that is November Project. Holding the space for people to come together before the sun rises, to be with those around them, and challenge themselves to be a better version than they were when they woke up that morning.

WEEKLY WORKOUT?  

Wednesday | 6:28 am | Ft. Green Park

NP FOUNDER BROGAN ONCE MENTIONED IN AN INTERVIEW THAT THE NY & BK TRIBES ARE MORE RUNNING FOCUSED.  WOULD YOU AGREE?

JT: I think the running scene in NYC is just HUGE. There are so many running groups and races every week end and The New York City marathon is famous around the country. Which lends New York and brooklyn to have a huge running forward culture.  The third Wednesday of the month we have a 3.2 mile course that we call PR day. It's 8 loops and it has a nice hill it's challenging. We encourage everyone to push themselves to best their time from the month before.

AS: Every tribe is different; especially here in NY. People are hustlers here, working 2-3 gigs minimum, and have the lovely commute to deal with to still make it on time. And we rise to the challenge. What we notice, is being mindful of the runner's commute to the workout and being able to scale workouts, depending on the daily or weekly commute, or if there are a high number of racers that weekend.

WE HEAR YOU GUYS LIKE TO BE VERY CLOSE BEFORE WORKOUTS

SA: We do, to create the environment of a team huddle. It's early. And sometimes, the weather is less than ideal. You're tired. You have had numerous opportunities that morning to keep you from showing up. So, Jeanie and I, especially, love to acknowledge that, celebrate it, and get everyone inspired to get a hard ass workout in. The huddle allows the 'Newbie Welcome' (introducing names of someone who has shown up for their first time) and The Bounce (my favorite part—the hype that gets you out of your comfort zone while warming up your ankles and calves) to feel authentic and could cause some goosebumps if all goes well. And, in the winter, it serves to get you warmed up and to possible recognize other humans around you.

TL: We kick off every workout with a bounce. When it's early in the morning it's hard enough getting to the workout the bounce is a small way of getting the energy level up for the race.

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TELL US MORE ABOUT THE “FUCK YEAH” MANTRA

SA: So the 'Fuck Yeah' - let's talk about it. There's always a point in your training or race or day where maybe something has been nagging or distracting you, and you finally see it. It's been identified. What do you do? Do you let it continue to pester you? Or, do you mentally decide to make this your new, 'normal' the new level of tolerance to base the rest of your experience off of. During every bounce, there comes a point where the leader will ask the tribe some form of the following, "Ya'll good?" And it's at this point, where we invite everyone who wants to mentally commit to being present, positive, and focused for the rest of the work out to respond with, "Fuck Yeah." This is you officially committing to yourself to let go of your previous night or the morning up until now, and put in the work - wherever you're at.

AND "#RACEEVERYTHING"?

JT: #raceeverything is something that is particularly part of our culture is NYC and Brooklyn do to the racing scene we have a registered team with NYRR. November Project is very much about accountability we have a tracker that holds the results of different works out and we encourage the tribe to beat there results from the year pervious. This doesn't always have to be running. We have set a timer for 7 minutes and let the tribe do as many burps as they can in that time we call it 7 minutes in heaven.

WE ARE RACING THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE, ANY SPECIAL NP CONNECTION?

JT: When November Project NYC started adding Mondays to their workout they would only race on the bridges and willamsburg was one that they frequently went to and did repeats on.

SA: Haha, fun fact - running on the Williamsburg Bridge was the first NP work out I did as a New Yorker! We have a ton of runners, covering every and any distance for a race, all year long. This bridge not only is for training routes, it's also for our commuters going to and from Brooklyn. Plus: the Graffiti—motivation, thoughts, feelings; this bridge has it all.

NP HAS PROVEN TO BE SOME OF THE BEST CHEERSQUADS AT OUR RACES.  WHAT MAKES THIS COMMUNITY SO TIGHT AND SUPPORTIVE OF ONE ANOTHER?

JT: We try to be as inclusive as possible and really want everyone feels welcome. The tribe is very supportive of each other if they are not racing they wannabe out supporting the tribe members.

SA: For me, the cheer squad element perfectly compliments the "Just Show Up" mentality. You only need to bring yourself. With the race entry's for most of the race events here in the city, there's a good chance you may not make it in every time. And, while that's a bummer, you still can come out and support your fellow runners. Same thing for injuries—It's you're choice as to how you show up for your community. We choose positivity. Shit's contagious.

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FAVORITE RUNNING WORKOUT

JT: Nokia snake workout ! You run up and down the stairs at Fort Greene Park like a snake.

SA: Hands down it's the Track. As a multi sport athlete growing up, running was always a component. I've got the need for speed, and only started true consistent track workouts as of last year, I'm still learning and having fun running in circles.

FAVORITE POST WORKOUT DRINK / FOOD

JT: Winter time - hot cocoa and a cheeseburger / Summer time - Ice cold beer and an ice pop

SA: Chocolate milk. For Breakfast - most workouts happen in the AM: any combination of eggs.

FAVORITE PLACE TO GRAB A BITE AFTER A WORKOUT?

JT: Green Grape Annex on Fulton Street in Forte Greene Brooklyn

SA: I can post up anywhere that has a beer and wings after a workout. I have yet to find my "go to" or favorite here in NYC. To be continued...

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3.3 TRIBORO | WOMEN TO WATCH

Stacked. How else to describe a field of around 30 women that includes three TTB champions from 2016, facing newcomers who have crushed 18 minutes for 5K or 3 hours for the marathon?

So we’re super excited for the TTB Triboro women’s race this Thursday night, part two of our 2017 Summer Series.  This is our first course on Randall’s Island.  And word is that it’s hard as hell, with that steep start up the Ward’s Island ramp, the mad dash through the bike paths, and an out-and-back on the Triboro where there is literally no flat ground. Yeah, and those stairs.  

Now, about those returnees — all running their first TTB of 2017.  Meg Ryan won last year’s Queensboro race unattached, in a gutsy wire-to-wire run.  Jennie Cohen of Dashing Whippets took two early victories — Williamsburg and Manhattan — before ending her season with a hip injury.  And Vicky Kornieva of Bellmore Striders stamped her own wire-to-wire win at TTB Brooklyn.  As always, you can learn about some of these incredible athletes in our past journal entries. We’ve got profiles on Vicky, Jennie, and the Whippets’ Emmi Aguillard and Carly Graham.

Now let’s get to know the top new contenders. We’re throwing in a profile on Meg (now on Team MHRC), because she flew in under the radar last year!  We’ve also got her speedy teammate Jenny Donnelly, NP’s talented triathlete Nicole Falcaro and the Whippets’ Jess Chichester, who clocked an impressive 2:53 at last year’s NYC Marathon.  It’s not a coincidence that these three teams are leading the way in our Custom Performance team series.

See you on the bridges (yep, there are two this time). And thanks to Elise Mordos for helping to write these profiles!

Adam Barcan


JESS CHICHESTER

CREW/CLUB | Dashing Whippets

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Some sick PRs. The endorsement of none other than Jennie Cohen.  Bridge training. Course recon. Why would we NOT watch her?

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Jess has been running track and X-C since 7th grade, through high school and college at the University of Albany.

Post-college, she started running marathons.  Well, that’s an understatement; she was the friggin’ 31st female at NYC Marathon 2016, in 2:53.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Jess wants to see if TTB is as awesome as her friends claim. And did we mention she loves running bridges?

FAVORITE WORKOUT | Canova Ks

MILE PR | 5:31

5K PR | 18:15

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Works as a nurse practitioner at a family practice in Queens. Loves to travel and explore the great outdoors whenever possible.

PHOTO BY MEGAN JONES

PHOTO BY MEGAN JONES


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MEG RYAN

CREW/CLUB | Team MHRC

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Serious track and X-C cred.  The fastest PRs in the field.  We didn’t know who she was when she won TTB Queenboro 2016.  But now we know better (and so do her competitors)!

RUNNING BACKGROUND | A high school state champion in Connecticut, Meg ran on Notre Dame’s cross country and track teams.  She has impressive PRs in numerous distances — from the mile (4:50) to the half marathon (Brooklyn Half Marathon in 1:17:44).

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Team MHRC! That was Meg’s exclamation point. Coach Vinnie will do that.

FAVORITE WORKOUT | Wednesday AM MHRC with Coach Vinnie. Haha, who else? Note to self: do this workout. The FOMO is killing us.

MILE PR: 4:50

5K PR: 16:42


JENNY DONNELLY

CREW/CLUB | Team MHRC

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Another D1 runner, whose 5K and 10K PRs are some of the best in the field.  Talk to Jenny, and you’ll see a runner with a passion for our sport, from the beauty of the mile to the patterns of her running stats.. We know she’s gonna embrace our race as a fresh challenge on a new course.

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Running high school cross country made Jenny fall in love with the sport. We can sure relate — high school X-C is the best!  She ran year-around at Yale, including cross-country, 5K and 10K.  And she’s turned that college foundation into a string of impressive distance performances, including that 10K PR of 37:09 and a half marathon PR of 1:24.

Jenny calls her two NYC half marathons “[my] proudest races to date”. She loves the changing terrain, the crowds and just running through her home city. She’s run six marathons — with 3 Bostons in the mix — and is taking to the streets of New York this fall for marathon number 7,

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Jenny is ready to rev her engines after a much needed break from running over the last few months.

FAVORITE WORKOUT | Mile repeats.

5K PR | 17:34

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Works on the Data & Analytics team at Glossier (hence her love for numbers). Jenny spends a lot of time at Mile High Run Club “analyzing all the numbers on the treadmill.”

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PHOTO BY NIGEL FRANCIS

PHOTO BY NIGEL FRANCIS

NICOLE FALCARO

CREW/CLUB | November Project

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER |  Nicole is an impressive athlete, plain and simple.  She’s translated a strong running and swimming background into outstanding triathlons.  We know she’ll handle any wrinkle this course dishes out.  

RUNNING BACKGROUND | A high school track and swim star in Pennsylvania, Nicole ran track and cross-country at Bucknell.  Although she’s now an outstanding triathlete, she still calls running her first love. But those triathlons! And that fitness. Nicole is rightfully proud of the 37:38 10K she ran to close the recent NYC Triathlon as the first amateur female (near top 50 overall).

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP |  Nicole is up our alley. She digs TTB’s grassroots, underground feel. She loves running at night. And agrees with us on one important thing - the bridge is called the friggin’ Triboro. RFK is a stadium.

FAVORITE WORKOUT |  First choice, long trail runs. Second, a couple of brick miles off a bike. Did we mention running is her first love?

MILE PR | 5:10

5K PR | 17:55

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Biking or swimming (but not at the same time). She also walks dogs and can top the whole TTB field in reciting digits of Pi (3.1415926536). Nicole you’re backing up that claim at the afterparty.

3.3 TRIBORO | MEN TO WATCH

For one of the fastest dudes in NYC, Sean Mahon has a knack for staying under the radar.  We still kick ourselves over flubbing the prime in his TTB debut at Queensboro 2016. Short story is we awarded Sean’s prime to another guy in a yellow jersey, a mistake we remedied by paying the prime twice; it was our fault after all.  Even last race, at TTB Manhattan, Sean got a little overshadowed in the pre-race intros behind a slew of talented new faces. But there he was, busting out of the Manhattan pedestrian path in a downpour, for a commanding win (and that prime en route).

There’s no missing Sean this time; he’s got a real shot at becoming the first guy to three-peat at TTB.  But Greg Laraia — for one — will have a lot to say.  Like Sean, he’s among the city’s top runners, and threw down the hammer at TTB Manhattan this year.  We’re not even gonna get into his 5K and mile PRs, which are somethin’ fierce; you can check out his profile from our past journal posts. This is gonna be an incredible rematch.

And now...the new faces.  TTB Triboro is our longest race ever, hits two bridges, and even lets runners choose their own path to the first checkpoint.  Not to mention those friggin’ stairs!  So let’s meet a few guys who are making their TTB debuts at this special event. Some are vets whose club teams motivate them to hard-fought PRs at 5K, 10K and the half; others are new to the scene, and just seem to get faster every race. Most of all, these guys embrace our spirit of leaving it all on the bridge.  As always, that means race hard, and drink a beer with your competitors when it’s done — however your race went.  See you on the bridges (both of ‘em)!

Adam Barcan


RICH VELAZQUEZ

CREW/CLUB | Team MHRC

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM | A veteran competitor in great shape; hot damnnnnn son, those two half marathons this spring!

RUNNING BACKGROUND | A former D1 college runner, Rich has been a fixture on the NYC racing scene for over a decade. Check out the over 100 races in his NYRR athlete history! He started 2017 with a 1:15 at the NYC Half, then he nailed a 1:14 at Brooklyn, a race he called a “return to form” after not breaking 1:17 in years.  He also was on the Front Runners relay squad that won Cape Cod Ragnar this spring.

FAVORITE WORKOUT | Coach Vinnie’s 5:15AM High 45 class at MHRC.  Rich is a regular at this sold-out class that inspires serious FOMO to those who would rather stay in bed.  Oh, and Rich makes sure to load up on the bridges in his weekly long runs.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP |  He works with Coach Vinnie. ‘Nuff said. Have you ever tried saying no to Coach Vinnie about a run?

MILE PR | 4:35

5K PR | 15:55

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING | COO and instructor at Mile High Run Club.  Hooked on Friends reruns (so is Darcy).

Photo by: Larry Sillen

Photo by: Larry Sillen


Photo by John Tran | @johntrannyc

Photo by John Tran | @johntrannyc

MARTIN SOMMERSCHUH

CREW/CLUB: Front Runners New York

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM:  Subscriber to the motto "Speed is sex. Distance is love." Well now — Martin can still kick, and he’s sure become a lover with age.  He’s distance PR’ing like crazy this year, including a sub-17 road 5k, a super-impressive 34:22 10K, and a 1:19 half.

RUNNING BACKGROUND:  Martin ran 10 years of scholastic track and X-C in his native Germany.  We love a guy with a vendetta against his college half-miler for staying - just barely - on the wrong side of 2-flat.  Like many of us, Martin rediscovered the love of competitive running by joining a club — after he moved to New York three years ago. Front Runners New York and its “wonderful team spirit” motivate Martin to keep pushing PRs as he moves up in distance. As noted, he PR’d at the half this year, and he BQ’d in his first serious marathon. But once a steepler, always a steepler, and he might just gobble up those Triboro steps.  

FAVORITE WORKOUT:  Speed - speed - speed. Martin says there’s nothing better than that last rep of an endless series of half mile intervals.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP:  Encouragement from fellow Front Runners, and the draw of a “last man standing” type race.  Martin’s psyched to “play out [his] still lingering middle distance qualities” outside the ordinary NYC racing circle. Add the smaller crowd than usual, so better socializing.

TTB: Are you doing anything special to prepare for this race?

Martin: I always get a haircut before the really important races. This is a special race...

MILE PR: 4:39

5K PR: 16:41

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING:  Manager of a climate change project at the United Nations.


COLBY SCHULZ

CREW/CLUB: OSR

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM:  Colby is a talented transplant to the NYC running scene. He’s run fast times this spring and has got a lot of upside.

RUNNING BACKGROUND:  A high school track and X-C runner, Colby got excited about grown-up running after the 2014 Chicago marathon.  Training with Three Run Two - his local Chicago crew - helped him, as he put it, “discover the running community in all its glory”. Since his recent move to NYC, he’s clocked a speedy 17:35 on the tough 2017 Red Hook Crit course, and crushed his goal of a sub-1:20 at Brooklyn Half.  Colby’s 1:17:45 left him with “gas in the tank”, and the feeling he could go a lot faster. We agree.  

FAVORITE WORKOUT: Mid-range tempos after dark. Can’t think of better prep for a TTB. Colby says he’s doing course recon for TTB Triboro and is ready to go!

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP:  The running community events are full of great people and unmatched vibes. As Colby says:

I love how small and raw the races can be while maintaining a such a high intensity level. After coming out and watching TTB Manhattan, I felt the need to get in on the action.

MILE PR: 4:48

5K PR: 16:57

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING:  Web / mobile developer, live music fan

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Photo by @elitefeats

Photo by @elitefeats

ANTON KORNIEV

CREW/CLUB: Bellmore Striders

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM:  Anton’s a young runner who’s improving quickly as he trains with Bellmore Striders — aka TTB running royalty.  In five races to date, his teammates Vicky and Sean have three wins, a second and a third. We’re super excited to see what Anton’s got.

RUNNING BACKGROUND:  Anton’s tearing it up in 2017, just his third year of running.  Following a strong Red Hook Crit (17:34), he ripped 40 seconds off his 5K PR to take third overall at the Massapequa Firecracker 5K. He’s run TTB too, taking top 5 in TTB Brooklyn last year as a last-minute registrant.

FAVORITE WORKOUT:  12x400, 2x200. It’s the perfect training for running rhythm, with a fast finish. Remember Anton, that race finish will be a big downhill!

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP:  Those Bellmore teammates! It helps that Vicky is his sister.

MILE PR: 4:41

5K PR: 16:28

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING:  Competitive gamer. Yoga and swimming to round out his running.


DMYTRO MOLCHANOV

CREW/CLUB: Ukrainian Running Club NYC

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM:  Our good friend Illya Tarasenko calls Dmytro TTB Triboro’s “dark horse”.  This guy’s for real; just check out the impressive PRs he’s set over the last few months. .  

RUNNING BACKGROUND:  Dmytro really took off as a runner following his move to the US; he hated running in school.  He says running cut the stress of his move, and provided a gateway to making new friends.  Over the past couple of years, he’s run several major marathons, a ton of races across the road disciplines and a few triathlons.  We most have our eye on those PRs this spring, including a 16:47 win at an Al Goldstein 5K, a 35:29 for second at a 10K on Long Island and a 1:16 at NYC Half.

FAVORITE WORKOUT:  Stay at home with a lot of sweets and watch a movie. Uhhhh...we don’t believe you, Dmytro.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP:  Dmytro is always game for a new running experience, whether Ragnar Cape Cod or an obstacle race. We love it.

5K PR: 16:47

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING:  student

Photo by Island Photography

Photo by Island Photography

3.3 YOU SAY RFK, VINNIE SAYS TRIBORO | HOSTS: TEAM MHRC

We love to add a new bridge to each Summer Series.  This time, our friend Vinnie, Head Coach of Team MHRC, was adamant that it needed to be the Triboro (or is it spelled Triborough? Or is it the RFK?).  All we know is we've checked it out before; its WAY up town, a bitch to get to, and a little narrow (read: slightly scary).  BUT Vinnie is one persuasive dude.  He persisted. And once we scouted the course, we were sold.  

Vinnie is SUPER passionate about urban running and growing our community.  Under his leadership, Team MHRC has grown quickly and is now a big part of the urban running scene. Have you checked out their IG?  We wake up EVERY Tuesday with FOMO just looking at their track workouts!  We sat down with Vinnie, to see JUST what he loves about his team so much, why these fun smaller races belong on your calendar, and why our next race course is going to BLOW YOUR MIND! 

As Vinnie says "Lets Play Running"!

TELL US ABOUT TEAM MHRC!  WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER RUN CLUBS / CREWS IN THE CITY?

The team originally was created in early 2015 with MHRC Coaches Scott Carvin and Corinne Fitzgerald. It was an invite-only team to pull runners from the indoor treadmill classes and create a team competition. After seeing a need for something different and for a way to Mile High to connect on a larger scale, it became much more inclusive.

I took on a team rebrand in late 2016 and reimagined Team MHRC as a way to expose the those falling in love with running via Mile High Run Club to the massive and colorful community that is the NYC running scene. A lot of them just discovering running via NYRR's 9+1. Not only were we able to introduce new runners to the awesome community, but we were able to find and nurture veteran and collegiate athletes that might have put their racing days behind them and introduce them to the growing club/crew scene.

Team MHRC was recreated around the "let's play running" idea. We run the gamut on skill level but what drives everyone is the love of the sport (and confetti cannons and beer).

THE COACHES FOR TEAM MHRC ARE ALSO COACHES AT MHRC.  TELL US THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE STUDIO AND THE TEAM.

All of the coaches at Mile High are seasoned athletes (RRCA, former D1, WR holders, podium finishes, etc) and have used treadmill workouts in their own training. A lot of the runners joining the team find out about us by initially taking a class at the studio. We wanted to combine the two worlds and show that the things learned on the street and track can directly benefit your time on the tread and vice versa. There is a lot to be gained by running and training in a controlled environment when you don't have to battle the elements (or traffic and tourists). Having said that a lot of the runners that ONLY know group fitness gain that camaraderie, practical form training, and they learn what the expansive and ever-growing community has to offer.

WEEKLY WORKOUT?

We meet up every Tuesday morning at the MHRC Noho studio (one of the benefits of starting from a brick and mortar institution is use of showers, lockers, water, etc. pre- and post-run). Usually we'll hit up the East River Track. Scott Carvin and I (Coach Fitz is out on injury) lead our runners through track-style form drills and dynamic warmups followed by track repeats or any number of relay-style workouts. At any given workout there are 5-25+ runners so there's always someone around your pace to run with/against. We jog back and chat about how much running hurts and everyone goes about their day. Or we drink beer at 8am. Don't judge.

WE'VE SEEN TEAM MHRC AT A NUMBER OF URBAN "UNSANCTIONED" RACES LATELY! HOW DO YOU SEE THESE SMALLER RACES FACTORING INTO A TYPICAL RUNNER'S SCHEDULE OF PLANNED 5Ks AND 10Ks, WHILE TRAINING FOR A LARGER RACE?

I do have to say I like to blur the lines of what constitutes a "serious" race. As far as I see it, every run and every race has to serve a purpose for the athlete. With a lot of our runners training for Chicago, NYC, Berlin, etc., and with the onslaught of smaller (more fun?) races popping up seemingly every week, it's easy to get distracted. But I think it's important to ENJOY the sport while maintaining proper training and keeping the big picture in mind. One 5k 14 weeks out from your "A" race isn't going to make or break it. GO PLAY RUNNING.

ARE ALL YOUR TEAM MEMBERS SO SPEEDY?  IS THERE INVITATION NEEDED TO JOIN TEAM MHRC?

We're stoked to have some pretty speedy people on the team. We have some former collegiate athletes and one of our OG members just won the Harlem Mile a few weeks back. Some of our runners are just finding their own hidden talents as they crack out consistent :58 400s on the track. Having said that there is zero requirement for joining up. There are very modest yearly dues (for beer mostly) but that's it. Love of the sport is the only thing we ask- just be cool and cool towards others.

YOU DO A NUMBER OF #TTB THEMED BRIDGE RUNS!  

Haha so I ran the second ever TTB and that just sparked something in me and it's (obviously) stuck with me ever since. Not only do I have "Take The Bridge" style runs in-studio where I take runners on any number of "bridge" repeats- incline and speed intervals, but also Team MHRC will occasionally hit Manhattan or Williamsburg Bridge. Since these are in close proximity to the Noho studio, they're perfect for our morning workouts to get our runners that practical experience. Some have never run the bridges before and those mornings are some of the most awesome- kinda discovering it for the first time. When we "take" a bridge for a workout, our coaches talk the runners through the tactics and proper form (and mentality) for running the incline and decline efficiently. Form above all else. The speed will come.

SINCE YOU LIVE NEARBY, AND RUN THE TRIBORO BRIDGE DAILY, WE WORKED WITH YOU TO CREATE A SUPER SPECIAL COURSE FOR THE NEXT RACE.  ANY WORDS OF ADVICE TO THE RUNNERS?

In the words of my own Mr. Miyagi, Joe DiNoto, "know the route, keep it clean". This course, like TTB:Boston, is going to spread the field and make for an awesome finish because it's not just a simple up-and-over. One advantage for this course is going to be the energy from the crowds at the checkpoint and finish. Triboro is seldom run but offers (IMO) some of the best views of Manhattan.

3.2 MANHATTAN | MEN TO WATCH

Unsanctioned racing is bona-fide competition in a fresh environment. Any track fan would appreciate the epic duels of last summer’s Take The Bridge men’s heats.  Fields grew so deep that it took a five minute pace, dodging tourists, to nab seventh place on the Brooklyn Bridge.

But you have not seen the lineup for our 2017 Summer Series opener.  Can you say 5K PRs in the 15s or even the 14s? A Kona qualifier and OSR champion? And the newly-crowned KOM of a 4000-runner Strava segment?

We love to post previews of new runners to watch at Take The Bridge.  The fun part is imagining how their amazing chops - on road, track and X-C - translate to our short, open course.  Want to get to know some of our top returnees? Check out past profiles on Sean Mahon, Garen Riedel and Matt Salminen.  Like our newcomers, they embrace our culture of leaving it all on the bridge.  That means run hard, don’t be an asshole, and chase it in a beer.


COLIN OGILVIE

CREW/CLUB | Front Runners New York

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM | A guy with X-C strength and track speed who is in awesome form this year.  What’s not to like?

RUNNING BACKGROUND |  Colin had no choice but to get hooked early (he’s from a running family). After high school track and X-C in Mass, he ran year-around for the Bowdoin Bears. Colin’s cross country chops should be a big plus on our course: call it urban X-C.  In two years on Front Runners, he’s led the team to victory at Pride Run, as well as first place overall at Cape Cod Ragnar. And he’s PR’d at the half and 10K this year.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP |  In Colin’s words, nothing is better than running a crazy race and then drinking a couple of beers after while getting to know more runners in the NYC running community. We agree.

MILE PR |  4:24 (on track); 4:34 (on road)

5K PR |  15:25 (track); 16:09 (road)

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING |  Fourth-year med student

Photo by John Tran

Photo by John Tran


Photo by Bob Smyth

Photo by Bob Smyth

MAC O’DONNELL

CREW/CLUB | Dashing Whippets

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM |  Speed never dies. Mac has stupid-fast collegiate PRs from a few years back, and now runs “socially”. We all wish our socially meant a sub-33 at Healthy Kidney this year.  We’re excited to see what he’s got in a new environment.

RUNNING BACKGROUND |  We love a guy who thanks his high school track coach (seriously; mine spoke at our wedding). As Mac puts it, he was fortunate enough to join an amazing program (in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) coached by Allen Etheridge before his four year career at Texas A&M.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP |  TTB’s departure from regular running events

MILE PR |  4:03 (indoors)

5K PR |  14:03

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING |  Mac is a fashion designer;


ERIK REITINGER

CREW/CLUB | OSR

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM | Erik is an incredible athlete who has hit an elite level in multiple sports.  He’s fairly new to short distances, and tough as hell.

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Erik’s stellar resume includes elite rower, sub-10 Ironman and back-to-back OSR 30K top placement.  He started to run while training for college and club crew, in NJ and in Philly. That journey led him to top levels at the triathlon, including Kona. He’s focused on running for the past five years, including ultras and a 2:44 NJ marathon a few months ago.  But in our eyes, not much tops his gutsy win in brutal conditions at the OSR 30K last winter.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP | In Erik’s own words.:

TTB is an event that's redefining what it means to be a runner, a competitor, and even a spectator. It's an integral part of what we talk about when we talk about the new running culture.

MILE PR | 6:49 from Presidential Challenge, 1996. Haha, I remember doing one of those.

5K PR | 16:35 (first ever 5K, a few weeks ago)

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING | Teaches algebra in Brooklyn, hangs out with fellow math teacher girlfriend.  

Photo by Alice Ng

Photo by Alice Ng


Photo at Red Hook Crit 5K

Photo at Red Hook Crit 5K

GREG LARAIA

CREW/CLUB | Custom Performance + Gotham City Runners

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM |   Mixing it up at the top of NYC racing scene this year. Greg is one of the favorites to win.

RUNNING BACKGROUND |  Getting back into serious racing this year after a three-year hiatus.  He recently ran 31:34 for 7th at Queens 10K, and 15:54 for 12th at the Red Hook Crit. And he starred on the Other Guys - the stellar, 10-person, underdog crew that joined Lost Boys in crushing #breaking2nyc marathon relay last month.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP | Greg has been watching unsanctioned races for a few years, but says he never felt the strong urge to compete until now.

MILE PR | 4:20ish

5K PR | 15-flat

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING | #neverNotRunning. But also works as an athletic trainer and running consultant at Custom Performance.  Darcy can vouch,  Greg gives a brutal trigger point massage.


ADAM SALOOM

CREW/CLUB | CUSTOM PERFORMANCE

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM | Greg says Adam can beat him. ‘Nuff said.

RUNNING BACKGROUND |  4x NCAA preliminary round qualifier at  Stephen F. Austin State University (Axe 'me Jacks!).  Currently competes for Skechers Performance.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP |  Why not let your first time on the Manhattan Bridge be in a race? 

MILE PR |  1500 in 3:52

5K PR |  14:41

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING | Studies PT, seeks best pizza spots in NYC.  Maybe he’ll run straight to the Grimaldi’s line.


LOGAN YU

CREW/CLUB | North Brooklyn Runners

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM |  Logan impressed us with his win in our Strava challenge, over a well-trafficked segment that features dozens of past TTB performances.  He’s shown he excels on road, track or X-C, and he can lead or kick. So however this race plays out, we bet Logan will be in the thick of it.

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Logan is a workhorse for NBR, placing highly in years of club points races, from the Fifth Avenue Mile to the NYC Marathon.  He has 145 races in his NYRR history! He killed it in the Strava mile this June, with a big sprint finish down the stretch.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP | Heard great things, excited to meet the other runners and experience the race.  

MILE PR | 4:22

5K PR | 16:28

HOMETOWN | East Brunswick, New Jersey

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING |  Loves baseball. Also wrote one of my favorite web apps, http://www.rungraphs.com/

3.2 MANHATTAN | WOMEN TO WATCH

This Friday, around 30 of NYC's fastest women toe our chalk line on the Manhattan Bridge to open the 2017 Take The Bridge Summer Series.  We LOVE this bridge, with its wide, spectator-friendly pedestrian plaza, dedicated path and sweet views. But it’s also a beast; our longest course in NYC (to date) at 2.5 miles, with an approach ramp that never seems to end, a tight turnaround and a straightaway that catches finishers by surprise.  As your high school coach said, run through that line! On that note, our finish line will look better than ever this year (you’ll just have to see for yourself)!

In the third year of Take The Bridge, our goal is to embrace the local running community like never before. That means amazing cheer squads along the course. A Strava challenge that produced electrifying races before the race.  And our Custom Performance team series competition that draws deep from the city’s talented pool of women’s club runners. They were the stars of last year’s series, and we know that new faces will count in this summer’s story.

So let’s get to know some of our top new runners — it’s a TTB tradition. And want to learn a little about our returnees? Check out our past profiles on Emmi Aguillard of Dashing Whippets, a fixture on our podium, or November Project’s duo of Whitney McFadden and Macon Lowman, veterans of our top 10.


BIANCA JACKSON

CREW/CLUB | Dashing Whippets

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER |   Bianca is in that “runningmoon” phase beloved by newcomers to the sport. In less than two years competing, she’s already notched impressive PR’s on the track and the roads.  So why not thrown one down on the bridge?

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Bianca is a lifelong athlete — from figure skater to college coxswain. She raced a marathon as a college senior and got bit by the bug. Two years later, she’s clocked a 1:22 at the NYC half, and is super excited to dip her toes in shorter races this summer. Oh, and she just won “Queen of the Hill” at the Corporate Challenge. You know Bianca, a bridge is a hill.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Heard about TTB from Whippets teammate Emmi. We see a mean one-two punch coming!

MILE PR | sub 5:30 at Strava Mile (first and only one mile race!)

5K PR | Has never run one. Hint, Bianca - run one!

HOMETOWN |  Glencoe, Illinois

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Works in private equity. Skis out west. Makes a mean pasta amatriciana.

Photo by Da Ping Luo

Photo by Da Ping Luo


Photo by Andy Kiss

Photo by Andy Kiss

DANI STURTZ

CREW/CLUB | Central Park Track Club

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Dani is a veteran with chops from the mile to the marathon. A distance runner with 14 marathons under her belt, she’s not afraid to mix it up in shorter stuff. We know she’ll run tough and run smart.

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Dani’s been hooked on running since college, when her mom convinced her to race a 10K together. Not sure she would finish, she ended up second in her age group.  Her CPTC teammates now push her too; she loves the club’s “competitive spirit and camaraderie”.  After all those 14 marathons, she’s still on top of her game. She near equaled a seven-year old PR at the NYC Half in March, and ripped a minute from her 10-miler PR at Broad Street in May.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Wanted to add some spice to challenge her running in new ways.  Says she is feeling both “nervous and excited”. That’s pretty much how we feel before every race!

MILE PR | 5:57

5K PR | 20:50.

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Teaches K-2 teachers. Also teaches Pilates, does yoga, rides at Soulcycle (hint: ask Darcy for a free pass) and spends time with her yorkie.


NICOLETTE ST. LAWRENCE

CREW/CLUB | North Brooklyn Runners

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Nicolette is an exciting last-minute addition to our women’s field. We loved the way she rocked our Strava Claim Your Bridge Manhattan challenge, moving to number two all time on a well-trafficked BK to Manhattan segment.

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Battling injuries lately (but that segment is sure an encouraging sign). Ran a super strong race at the 2016 Bronx 10-Miler. And her blazing 5K PR speaks for itself!

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Dope underground racing summer night vibes.

MILE PR | Never run one

5K PR |  18:23

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Works marketing for AmEx, digs podcasts, cooks delicious plant-based food

Photo at Red Hook Crit 5K

Photo at Red Hook Crit 5K


Photo by NYRR

Photo by NYRR

NICOLETTA LAKATOS

CREW/CLUB | North Brooklyn Runners

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | We think Nicoletta has a ton of potential in her first TTB. She’s a lifelong competitive athlete who knows the unsanctioned running scene; one of her best races was Red Hook Crit 2016. And she’s super excited to start her summer racing season after a winter’s break.

RUNNING BACKGROUND |  First a competitive swimmer, Nicoletta has only been running competitively for two years, and is “inspired daily” by the amazing people at her club, NBR.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Race across her favorite bridge in NYC? Nicoletta says best idea ever. We agree.

MILE PR | 5:47

5K PR | 20:46

HOMETOWN | Toronto, Ontario

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Explores the city and spends time with her cat.


NICOLE FREEMAN

CREW/CLUB: Queens Distance Runners + Oiselle Volee

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Nicole is a super athlete with sprint speed and even a background in the field jumps. Proper coaching - and the push from her club mates - have pushed her to new heights in the past two years. Most of all, we see her as dangerous down the stretch; she did just win the Harlem Mile!

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Nicole was a stellar high school athlete; she played soccer, ran sprints and did both high jump and long jump.  Joining Oiselle’s volee — a “tribe of strong, successful women” — spurred her to change gears from a few post-collegiate years of easy solo running. She now trains with the speedy ladies of Queens Distance Runners. But that’s not all. A strong swimmer, she’s training for the USA Triathlon National Championships.  

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | Nicole says she can’t wait to mix it up among some of the city’s fastest women. Did we say Nicole was a true competitor?  

MILE PR | 5:36

5K PR | 19:16

HOMETOWN | Holtsville, New York

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Outside of training or working (as a software developer), Nicole spends time with her dog.  With so many pet lovers, maybe we need a TTB doggy dash.

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Photo by Paul Leak

Photo by Paul Leak

JEANNIE TINNELLY

CREW/CLUB | November Project BR

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER | Jeannie placed top 10 in our super competitive Queensboro race last year.  We see her leading a talented and deep NP team.

RUNNING BACKGROUND | Jeannie is an old school runner who was a nationally ranked high school athlete in an unusual and challenging event - 1500 meter race walk. She still races a range of distances; most recently, a 1:40 at NYC half marathon, and a marathon trail relay at the North Face series in Bear Mountain.  Most of all, Jeannie gives back to her sport as co-leader of the new Brooklyn chapter of November Project.  Why does she do it?  Well she loves the culture, where “complete strangers become friends”.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP | She digs the “raw culture of running on NYC bridges”.  We can’t really say it better!

MILE PR | 5:51

5K PR | 19:45

HOMETOWN | Massapequa, New York

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING | Manages a speakeasy called Sidecar (d'oh! cat's out of the bag). 

3.2 MANHATTAN | HOSTS: SOUTH BROOKLYN RUN CLUB

It's the beginning of the summer.  Which means, time to take out the racing flats!  Our TTB Summer Series 2017 is shaping up to have a few new surprises.  This year, we are doubling down on our local running clubs + crews!  South Brooklyn Running Club, will host our first race over the Manhattan Bridge.  You’ve seen/met Co-Founder Ben Carter before.  He is the tall one with the clipboard at the end of each of our races! Read on below to hear all about SBRC, and just what they think about “Unsanctioned” racing!


Give us a little background of the club's history, what made you start the club, and how it has evolved.

The Club started because Graham and I wanted more people to listen to our witty banter. Graham and I met at our wives’ office’s Christmas party and we started running together after that. In the spring, we thought it would be fun to have other people around to see me trip or hear Graham’s puns, so we started the Club. SBRC has a good mix of runners, fast, slow, everything in between, so that everyone can be a part of it, and that it is geographically based: you meet your neighbors, it’s easy to hang-out with everyone, and you see them on the street.

What does your weekly schedule of runs look like?

We meet for runs everyday (well, we do do plyometrics on Friday mornings). Most of them are regular 5-7 miles at whatever pace, but we do tempo on Monday nights, Track on Tuesday (and Track ’n’ Pool during the summer months) and long runs on Saturdays. Tuesday and Thursday night we also have a beginners group.

This year you hold your 6th annual, Superfund Super Run, on Septeber 7th.  Tell us a little about where your idea for this race came from, what makes it so special.  

The Superfund Super Run was an idea I had for a few years before we actually did it, and then one day Graham says, let’s actually do it. Each year we try to make it better, through a new timing system, new prizes, etc., but try to keep the spirit the same, that of a small race where you’ll spend more time in the after-party than you do actually running. I think there are a few things that make it fun: 1) running at night (you always feel faster racing at night) 2) having to find your own way 3) the after-party and 4) it’s kinda silly. We split the field into equal parts so the age divisions are odd (like the March 1981-June 1987 division) but that means people who may not normally get prizes do. And there are a lot of prizes! We love getting the local businesses involved and it means that a third of the field can walk away with something. Who doesn’t love winning something?
photo by George Grullon

photo by George Grullon

We would consider this race, one of the first unsanctioned, urban races in the city.  I know you HATE that word, but tell us how you think these kinds of races have evolved, and how you have kept your race interesting, bare bones, and true to the neighborhoods your running through.

OK, my issue with the whole “unsanctioned” thing: Who is ‘sanctioning’ everything else? New York is weird because we have this one main, huge race organization that for many years had a monopoly on racing in NYC, but everywhere else you go, races and clubs and are small time, local affairs. SFSR reminds be a lot more of the 2M race I do the 4th of July in a small town of 2,000 people in Wisconsin: a couple of people do the planning around their other life commitments and everyone has a good time. It’s not new and/or rocket science, we just are not used to it in NYC racing anymore. The realities of New York make it prohibitively expensive to close down streets at our level so we make do. Second, a lot of guerrilla marketing is done through these ‘unsanctioned’ or ‘urban running crews.’ It’s fine if you are being paid/supported/created by some athletic clothing company, but be honest. Don’t pretend you’re this great spontaneous ‘movement’ or uprising of cool urban trendsetters breaking the squares out of their boring old-time running. You are a small part of a large corporation’s marketing plan. (and PS, you didn’t invent running and then drinking: the Hashers were the first running club!) BUT I think the races came from people realizing, I can do that. DIY racing. Again we have a warped perspective of the inventiveness of that thinking, but it is a leap of faith. Not being able to follow the rules is freeing. No one wants to wake up at 4:30 am to run the Brooklyn Half, but we do because that’s when the city lets NYRR hold its event. Night races are more fun! It’s fun going to work and then doing something different afterwards. Having the race finish at a bar is more fun, but can’t be done with a race of 10,000 runners. Running fast over a bridge, dodging regular people, dreaming of the downhill is fun! So when we plan it, we can do the things we want because we don’t have to worry about permits and paperwork. The exciting part is that more and more people realize they can do it and are doing it. I do worry about big companies getting into the scene because then it would lose its local control and frankly its danger. Run safe, of course, but the risk/reward of shortcuts and aggressive moves would be lost if legal teams were involved. For us, the local aspect of it is important. We are a neighborhood-based club so we want to do right by where we live. If we can advertise a local company, let’s! If we can highlight a great local organization, we should! New Yorkers love their tiny corners of our city, and it is no shame to brag about what makes Brooklyn, and South Brooklyn the best.

This year SBRC held its first relay race called the Warriors Relay.  Tell us about it!

The Warriors run is another idea that we’ve had for years that has reached various states of devolpement until Ben Miller said ‘we’re doing this” this year. At SBRC we don’t have a real power structure (or good or bad), so members feel empowered (I hope) to take charge of ideas they want and I’ll send out the emails. So Ben made it happen. He planned it all, and we helped when we could. The course is largely determined by the movie, there are still a lot of choices to be made and Ben (and Lauren) made good ones. We started up in Van Cortlandt and the teams of 8 made their way down to Coney Island, finishing at Coney Island Brewery. Each of the relay points was a filing location from the movie and the teams had to take pictures to record their progress. He also got Sunnto to lend us GPS watches to track everything as well. Some teams really went above and beyond in the costume department (because how couldn’t you with this movie?) and the “Best Costume” award was a tough decision. For next years race we are going to have t throw in some new twists because part of the fun is that you don’t have a lot of time to plot everything out beforehand and if we did the same thing year after year it would lose that freshness.

What makes SBRC so special?  How do you keep the club both serious about training, and fun at the same time?

SBRC is special because we try to be good people. We welcome everyone and our fastest guys will run with the slowest. Our goal is for no one to run alone, because isn’t that why you came out with us? Having that mix of people keeps it serious and fun. The hard workers drag us slackers out to the track, and the slackers drag the hard workers to the bar/donut shop. And again being a neighborhood team makes socializing and running easier.
Photo by Pete Thompson

Photo by Pete Thompson

Favorite workout?

Monday night tempo runs. We run through BBP and over and back on the Manhattan Bridge. Those guys make me work harder than I would on my own and make it fun at the same time.

Favorite route to run?

Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s a jewel

Favorite post workout drink?

Coffee: Smith Canteen
Beer: Gowanus Yacht Club

Favorite place to grab a bite or chill after a workout?

61 Local’s breakfast has been living in my head for a while now

What makes the Manhattan Bridge so special???

You mean besides being a  National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark for being the first bridge built using deflection theory and it’s charming architectural references to the Brooklyn Bridge?

3.1 BOSTON | MEN TO WATCH

Last year’s Take The Bridge men set the bar very high in NYC.  Times dropped and competition grew tighter race after race, as some of the fastest guys in the city dueled repeatedly over the East River bridges.  But just as critically, these local elite runners were an inclusive, friendly bunch who were a barrel of fun at the afterparties.

We have no doubt the Take The Bridge Boston men will stage a race for the ages.  Our night includes 2 laps. An optional set of stairs. Several sub 4:10 milers. And forecast of light rain. We can’t wait to see how things shake out.  But you’ll see they’re an awesome bunch off the track too, a group who we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a little before the race.  We have some familiar faces in the mix too, like Brooklyn Track Club’s Steve Finley. But let’s meet our top new contenders:


photo by Josh Cambell

photo by Josh Cambell

CONOR CASHIN

CREW/CLUB: The Heartbreakers

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM: Conor is a king at both selling shoes and running fast in them. We would run in anything this guys sells us, because his mile and 5K PRs are exceptional.  We’re sure that’s because of the shoes.

RUNNING BACKGROUND: Conor ran in middle school, high school, and college. Both his parents are runners, so he really had no choice.  He’s in awesome shape, coming off a solid 8:21 3000 at an indoor meet in Boston.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP: Conor found TTB while surfing the internet at work. Ok, he works as an event host Heartbreak Hill Running Company and was doing some research. We’re just glad he was intrigued enough to sign up.

MILE PR: 4:08. Yowza!

5K PR: 14:46

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING: Conor spends his days working at HHRC and coaching his girlfriend Caitlin, who is also racing this weekend.  There’s no prize for fastest couple. But if there were….


JORDAN DONNELLY

CREW/CLUB: The Heartbreakers. But also ran for a UK club called the Woodford Green Essex Ladies. Jordan, if you have an extra Green Essex Ladies singlet, your race director wants one.

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM:  Did you see those times? 4:06 / 1:51 indoors in 2017 alone.

RUNNING BACKGROUND:   “I just like running fast.” The Heartbreakers teammates call Jordan one of their most vocal, outgoing members.  But we grilled him on his running background, and that’s all we got.  Guy lets his legs do the talking.  

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP: Jordan was enticed by the TTB instagram content (c’mon, ya blame him?).  He noted that the race structure looks like street car drag racing with running shoes.  You know, he’s kinda onto something.

MILE PR: That 4:06. Indoors. Yeah you got that.

5K PR: 14:51

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING: Jordan enjoys drinking mango smoothies and eating eggs while travelling the world.  Maybe we have those activities in the wrong order.

Photo by Eddie from C5K

Photo by Eddie from C5K


photo by STRAVA

photo by STRAVA

DAVID KILGORE

CREW/CLUB: Skechers Performance Team and Florida Track Club

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM:  Just try and find this guy’s weakness. From the 800 to trail ultras, David can bring it. Our money’s on David on those stairs.

RUNNING BACKGROUND:  David has spun a stellar running resume into “one hell of a ride”, as he puts it.  He ran for three (yeah) D1 track and XC programs: Colorado Buffs, Florida and Oklahoma State.  That’s gold to all you NCAA track fans.  He now races a mix that spans from 800s to ultras. And he coaches and works at summer run camps.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP:  David is a TTB bandit come clean. The only reasons we invited him to sign up this time are his speedy resume and all-around charm.  And no that’s not a dare to all you speedy, charming types. No bandits, seriously.  But it is a good story.  Veteran TTB runner Tim Rossi urged David to sign up for TTB Queensboro last year. Which was full. So David ran it anyway. Yes he’s signed up for reals this time.

MILE PR: 4:05

5K PR: 14:17

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING: David’s willing to try anything outdoors and adventurous.. But he also likes the zoo.


photo by Josh Cambell

photo by Josh Cambell

MATT SALMINEN

CREW/CLUB: The Heartbreakers

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HIM: Matt’s quest to break 16:00 minutes in the 5k this year may produce a sick TTB time (and certainly a PR in the rarely-run “kinda 2.5 mile ” distance.)  He hit his impressive marathon PR of 2:43:50 at Boston a few years back. Will Marathon Weekend work its magic on Matt again?

RUNNING BACKGROUND: Matt is a semi-reformed soccer player who saw the light and began running in college. He signed up for a run club at Penn, which triggered a running addiction whose symptoms included marathon training. He joined the Nike Pacers and Heartbreakers upon moving to Boston in 2014. Guy is a beast who ran 2:44 at Berlin Marathon, in pursuit of 6 marathon majors.

WHAT DREW HIM TO SIGN UP:  Matt is a fan of urban running, night races and run crews. Sounds like our kinda guy.

WHEN HE’S NOT RUNNING: Matt works at Nike Boston and a biotech company in Cambridge. He enjoys soccer, Red Sox games, and traveling.

MARATHON PR: 2:43:50 (Boston 2014)

5K PR: 16:19

3.1 BOSTON | WOMEN TO WATCH

The women’s club runners created some of the top highlights of last year’s Take The Bridge summer series.  Ladies from Dashing Whippets, November Project, Finish Line PT and Brooklyn Navy (okay now Brooklyn Track Club) toed the line and made for thrilling races, time and again.  And after throwing elbows on the course, they joined us in tossing back beers at the afterparty. It was a great summer.

So we are incredibly excited at the huge club turnout for TTB Boston, led by Heartbreakers and November Project.  Our top newcomers include D1 runners from Providence and Villanova, running with the backing that a strong college running experience can provide.  And many are new to TTB. There’s nothing more exciting in our small race than watching track or road speedsters tackle an unfamiliar environment.  

So let’s meet some of our top new contenders. We cannot wait to see them race Saturday, both against the course, each other. We’re also stoked to see a few familiar faces from TTB past (shout out to Lena Placzek of Brooklyn Track Club, a D1 runner in her own right):


Photo by Josh Campbell Photo

Photo by Josh Campbell Photo

CAITLIN ABELSETH

CREW/CLUB: The Heartbreakers

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER: As many a track coach says, you can’t teach speed. Well Caitlin’s got it.  She owns a USATF New England 800 meter title, clocking in at 2:09, and just set a mile PR of 4:48.  And Caitlin admits that she is “flirting” with long distances.” She scored for the Heartbreakers at Cross Country Nationals, and has a 17:30 5k PR.

RUNNING BACKGROUND: Caitlin was a sprinter in high school, ran the 400 for the mighty Providence track and field program, and moved up to the 800 her senior year. She was hooked, and the 800 is now her go-to distance.  But we’re pretty sure that flirtation with long distance is going to lead to some big things.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP: Caitlin is part of the Heartbreaker contingent that is repping big time at TTB Boston.  Among them, her boyfriend/coach/teammate Conor (check out our men’s preview).

MILE PR: 4:48

5K PR: 17:30

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING: Caitlin works at New Balance as a Run Speciality Associate Account Specialist. When not running, she likes to read and watch Netflix (her current favorites are One Tree Hill and Hot to Get Away with Murder. Go figure).

**Photo credit: Josh Campbell Photo


CLAUDIA TISHLER

CREW/CLUB: The Heartbreakers

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER: Claudia is setting PRs left and right as a post-collegiate athlete.  We love her range, and her guts.  She’s run a bunch of half marathons, and just set a 5K PR of 18:17 in some nasty conditions at Craicfest.

RUNNING BACKGROUND:  Claudia began running in high school (man do we love high school track at TTB).  She says it took her a while to find her groove. But in this case finding her groove meant walking onto the storied Villanova track and field team as a distance runner.  We’re impressed.

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP: She heard the hype and had to check it out, she says. First TTB, first unsanctioned race. We think Claudia’s going to kill it Saturday.

MILE PR: 5:17

5K PR: 18:17.

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING: As a new urban dweller (she moved to Boston from the suburbs), Claudia spends her free time exploring the city.


LEIGH GERSON

WHY WE ARE WATCHING HER: A New Yorker putting it on the line in Beantown. Kinda like Mookie Wilson.

RUNNING BACKGROUND: Leigh’s been a fixture in the NYC running community for a few years.  She’s won the Orchard Street Runners Midnight Half, and has come to (cheer) her share of Take The Bridge races.  Had a couple of setbacks with winter training (Cry me a frozen river, say Bostonians) but feeling back on track and “loving running again.”

WHAT DREW HER TO SIGN UP: First one and admits to being pretty nervous because she says she’s more of a long distance specialist.

MILE PR: 5:14

5K PR: 16:48. A long time ago, and “in a half marathon”? There’s gotta be a story there.

WHEN SHE’S NOT RUNNING: Leigh does pilates, checks out new restaurants and pretty much tries to enjoy life.  

**Photo credit: Fred Goris, @fredgoris

**Photo credit: Fred Goris, @fredgoris

written by Adam Barcan + Jennie Cohen

3.1 BOSTON | CO-HOST: HEARTBREAKERS RUN CLUB

We've visited Boston a number of times in the past few weeks:  to plan the race, scout courses and connect with local runners.  Co-hosts The Heartbreakers have welcomed us into their community from our first visit.   We sat with head coach Dan Fitzgerald to talk about the team's roots, and what they are building.  Dan is the HEART and soul of this club, who has built Heartbreakers into a leading force in the Boston running scene (oh, and they're fast as hell too).  So read on to hear why we are SO excited to partner with Heartbreakers in hosting TTB Boston. We love these guys!

No pun intended – It seems like the Heartbreakers are at the heart of the running community here in Boston. What in your opinion makes the Heartbreakers special, how have you built such a sense of community in your club?

What sets us apart is our ability to make meaningful and deep connections to our runners. What started as the first free public speed session in Boston became a club because people wanted to represent the training group in races. We used to do a track workout and drills every Thursday and we'd drink beer late after every workout. We became a tight crew who knew each other as runners first. After 5 years of that, we decided to make it formal. Every thing from that point on was influenced by the community within the team and my experiences, first, as a collegiate athlete (the close family that created) and, second, as coach to the community of people training for Boston. The team really feels like a family. There's a list of benefits for people who are considering joining but it's funny to me how small all of those things are compared to the real benefit: the family of Heartbreakers.

We know you welcome all types/ages/abilities of runners to your workouts and club, how do you as Chief Heartbreaker (Coach) approach the real challenges of tailoring your workouts and message to this broad and diverse population of athletes?

I strongly believe in setting up a positive, empowering atmosphere. With that as an operating principle, the different speeds work along side each other and support each other. At each practice, we have an "A" (advanced) workout and a "B" (intermediate) workout. Runners self select into which workout they want and usually group up or pair up based on speed once they choose a workout. No one is made to feel uncomfortable if they are slower. All I care about is effort and the team at large is the same way.

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What do the normal weekly workouts you offer look like?

TUES |  Heartbreaker Practice (team only)- longer intervals, hills, tempo running on a track, Heartbreak Hill, or Boston Common

THURS | Speed Session (free; public) - shorter intervals, hills, tempo running with drills session

SATURDAY | Long run at Heartbreak Newton (Free; public)

We’ve heard tale of something called “Office Hours” held once a month; can you tell the TTB community at large what that’s all about and maybe how it got started?

Our "Office Hours" run is the easiest thing we do. It's a  group run after which we hang out and have a beer. I wanted a regular run on the calendar that wasn't focused on getting better at running; this one is about getting to know your teammates better and getting some face time with me as a coach.

You have long been involved with preparing and training runners for the Boston Marathon, especially people running for charities that might be new to running or maybe just new to the distance. What have you learned in your time doing this about what this race means for the city and for those raising money for charity?

The race itself, as the longest continuously run marathon in north america, as the target of a terrorist attack (2013), and as a celebration and competition always runs, always inspires, and always feels special. Nothing unites this city and its runners like it's marathon. In the case of the charity runners, their grit, their deep connections to their causes, their journey of self discovery over the course of the training period, and then their realization of a life dream/goal in the race's finish embody everything that is the Boston Marathon.

Photo by Josh Cambell

Photo by Josh Cambell

You were named the New England USATF club of the year recently, you’ve sent runners to the Olympic trials, you’ve had runners wear the stars and stripes and compete for the USA in XC championships, and your hearts can be seen on victory podiums all over the area. Can you fill us in on who “The Flyers” are and how they fit into the club? Are they a tight knit crew? In what ways do they help you inspire and guide the club?

I'm really proud of the Flyers and their accomplishments. Cate (USATF Nationals), Rosa (XC Team USA), Lou, and the team at large have had a great year. The Flyers started with Lou (our team captain). He came on as our Newton store manager shortly after working a stint in B2B PR and that got him training harder again. He had let some fitness go after competing at Boston College as an undegrad. His renewed focus resulted in a really amazing season in 2015. He was the USATF-NE road racing champ that year (repeated again in 2016) and set PRs at every distance from the mile up. After that year, he wanted a cast around him so he started recruiting some friends. I worked with Lou to make sure that the people who come on understand that they are a part of something different. This team is "team first" and I always stress that. We don't have standards or an application. You have to come to us and want to run for us. It's important to me that they are integrated with the larger team so I do a lot of thinking around ways to get them interacting and supporting each other.

The Flyers are very tight. Many of them workout together. Lou's two roommates are also Flyers (David & Jonny). The group enjoys the freedom of being able to choose their own coach, workout times, and more. I want them to be empowered to do their best running, not be pushed into a framework or bogged down with the BS of some of the legacy clubs. In our only our 3rd year as a club and with only our one year of the Flyers, I'm very pleased with were we are.

Photo by Josh Cambell

Photo by Josh Cambell

What’s your favorite place to run in Boston?

JP/Brookline's muddy river path & Jamaica Pond.

Favorite Track workout?

I was an 800m runner so I like 200s or 300m build ups. I like to spin the wheels then do some drills. 12x200 @ with 30 sec recovery was a my favorite one in college. That's evolved to 8 x 200 with 60 seconds of recovery. It's just enough work to stay sharp.

Favorite post workout fuel?

Depends on the time of day: egg sandwich or cheese burger.

Beer or Coffee after a hard workout?

Depends on the time of day again. More often it's beer. I prefer to exercise at the end of the day.

Favorite Beer?

Harpoon IPA.

questions by Jared Calabrese

3.1 BOSTON | CO-HOST: BROOKLYN TRACK CLUB

Last year both Brooklyn Navy Track Crew and the Lost Boys each hosted a race in our traditional summer series.  If you look through the photos from our talented photographers, you’ll notice an overlap.  Members wore each other’s team jerseys.  So in the time since TTB’s 2nd summer series, it only makes sense that both teams are now officially joining forces.  Take The Bridge Boston will be their first race, running as Brooklyn Track Club.  While founding members of both groups: Leigh Anne Sharek, Agustin Lastra, Darcy Budworth, and Tim Rossi, are still helping to find the main direction of BTC.  Leading the charge, is Head Coach, Steve Finley. We sat down with Finley, to find out what brought the two groups together, and what his plans are for BTC in the coming year.

Photo by Zach Hetrick

Photo by Zach Hetrick

Give us a little background on BTC, and what you are working on creating for the team in the next year.

The Brooklyn Track Club is the combination and evolution of the Brooklyn Navy and Lost Boys TC groups that have been racing on the scene the last couple of years. Since the summer bridge races I started to coach or work closely with most of the Lost Boys squad, and continued to coach many of our tight knit BNTC group. One day we realized if both groups ran in one jersey we would have a solid team of athletes, and people.

Crew or Club?

Club, Crew, as long as it’s a group of people chasing the same passion it makes no difference really. After discussing with the group we decided on Brooklyn Track Club because we wanted to be straight forward about our intention as a group, our home base is in Brooklyn and our main focus is on performance.

In last year's interview co-founder of BNTC Agustin compared crews to tribes and noted that clubs have a lot of rules and regulations.  What measures are you taking to keep with the same feel of BNTC and LB?

We’ll be relaxed as always, you learn over time it’s hard to implement too many rules as a coach. My main goal is to help everyone get whatever they want out of the sport. Besides, the Lost Boys are like a bunch of wild animals, even with our new squad you’ll still see the occasional Lost Boys jersey on the underground NYC running circuit.

Photo by John Benitez

Photo by John Benitez

You've cheered at many TTB races, but you finally raced the NYC vs the World event for the NYC Marathon weekend.  Are you racing or cheering in Boston?

Nothing beats lacing them up and racing. I will be “racing” Saturday night in Boston. Wouldn’t miss it.

Favorite hoods to run in NYC?

Lower East Side, Red Hook Bk, both are relatively isolated and have great track facilities

Favorite place to run in Boston?

The Franklin Park trails are always the highlight in Boston, the indoor track at the Reggie Lewis Center’s is a close second.

Favorite workout?

1000s with full recovery.

Favorite fuel after a hard workout?

Guinness and chocolate milk, respectively.

Photo by  Christophe Tedjasukmana

Photo by  Christophe Tedjasukmana