Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This is the second installment of a new series at Villanova Running called These Five Things. The series focuses on Villanova's standout performers over the decades -- great runners on the Main Line who helped create and solidify the glory of the Villanova program.

Sumner's anchor beat Frey and Georgetown in 1991
While at Villanova from 1989-1993, Brad Sumner was an NCAA, Penn Relays, Big East, and IC4A champion.  He won an NCAA title in 1990, running the third leg of Villanova's NCAA indoor national champion 4x800 relay squad.  Outdoors, Brad was a 3-time NCAA finalist and 3-time All-American at 800 meters, finishing 8th (1:50.09), 4th (1:46.77), and 4th (1:47.65) in 1991, 1992, and 1993, respectively. He heroically anchored Villanova's 1991 Penn Relays 4x800 team (7:15.55) to a Championship of America victory by half a stride over Georgetown's (7:15.73) Ethan Frey (see photo, right). He repeated the feat the following year as Villanova again took the 4x800 at the Penn Relays -- this time by a much wider margin (see photo below).  In 1993 Sumner again helped Villanova to a Penn Relays title, but this time not without controversy. Arkansas coach John McDonnell accused Sumner of knocking the baton from the hand of the Arkansas third leg, John Schiefer, as Villanova, in front of 39,592 onlookers, went on to win the 4x1500 wagon wheel at Penn for the first time since 1984.  Sumner was also a six-time Big East champion (1990: 4x800; 1991: 4x800i; 1992: 800m; 1993: 800i, 4x800i, 1500m), and anchored Villanova's 2-mile championship relay at the 1993 IC4A meet.

Brad was recruited to Villanova from Rochester, New York. He still holds the New York State championship meet record at 600 meters (1:19.56), set in 1989 running for McQuaid Jesuit. At that same New York state meet, Brad also anchored McQuaid Jesuit's come-from-behind 4x800 state championship relay effort.  While a prep runner, Sumner set a national high school record for indoor 600-meter run and he anchored 4x800 meter relay teams that won two national indoor championships, three Eastern States titles, and two state outdoor championships.  He was inducted into McQuaid Jesuit's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Post-collegiately, Brad was an 800 meter finalist at USA Outdoor Nationals in 1993 (6th in 1:46.33), 1994 (4th in 1:47.79), and 1995 (5th in 1:48.90).  On April 11, 1995 Sumner ran 3:59.11 to place his name on Villanova's illustrious sub-4:00 list.  He competed at both the 1992 (details below) and 1996 US Olympic Trials.  While at Villanova, Brad met his future wife in teammate Tosha Woodward. Together they have 2 children, Brynne (12), and Will (9) and live outside Atlanta, Georgia, where Brad works in the financial services industry.

In this series, each person will be asked to reflect back on their days at Villanova, and to complete the following sentence:

"When I think back on my times at Villanova, both as a student and an athlete, more and more my thoughts revolve around These Five Things: . . . . "

Here are Brad Sumner's responses to the question:

1. Teammates

The transition from high school to college is a big change for any student but being a member of the track team was a great advantage in making that transition as your teammates served as a kind of family, given how much time you spend traveling, training, rooming and going to classes with them. Looking back at my years at Villanova I’m reminded of how much a part of your life your teammates are and how much of a role they play in your success.

It wasn’t always a smooth ride the first two seasons as we went through a coaching transition but having Mike Seeger take me under his wing my first year is something I’ll always appreciate. He was the captain and primary motivator during the transition from a team with a questionable future to a team in the midst of a rebuilding phase. Our 4x800 win at the 1991 Penn Relays is the most memorable and proudest moment I have while running with Mike at Villanova.

Following my freshmen year, Marty Stern was named the head coach of the Villanova men’s program and gradually our recruiting prospects improved and the addition of Louie Quintana to the roster my junior year had a tremendous impact on my development as a runner. 1992 was a breakthrough year for me and I think much of that can be attributed to training and racing with Louie – probably the toughest competitor I’ve ever trained with.

Louie and I both qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1992 and based on our performances at the Trials and the following year at the NCAA Championships and USATF Nationals, we were able to spend the summer of 1992 and 1993 traveling and competing in Europe. Being able to do this with a fellow Villanova teammate made it a tremendous experience and one of my favorite Villanova memories.

2. Coach Pyrah

You can’t talk about the Villanova Track & Field tradition without mentioning Coach Pyrah. He was an old-school coach who always seemed to have his stop watch ready to go and was a welcome presence, even though he wasn’t as involved in the program's day-to-day operation. He was loved and respected by the entire team and it’s hard to imagine Villanova having the success it enjoys to this day without the foundation built by Jumbo and Coach Pyrah.

Sumner anchored the 4x800 again in 1992
I enjoyed Coach Pyrah’s stories and recollections, and even though he often repeated them, he provided a connection to Jumbo and the years of success the program enjoyed. Coach Pyrah also had this way of keeping you from getting over confident or cocky after a race by reminding you of a performance from one of the greats from the past. I can only imagine the number of record breaking races Coach Pyrah witnessed over his career and in the back of my mind I always wanted to run a race that would leave an impression on him.

I’m reminded in Mark Belger’s “These Five Things” of how Coach Pyrah used to recall the same rule from Jumbo regarding having three things you could do while in college (school, running, and socializing/girls) but you could only be successful at two of them. I’m sure the intent was to focus on school and running so maybe that’s where I ran into a little trouble by dating my then future wife, Tosha Woodward. All kidding aside, it’s great to have the shared experience of both running for Villanova.

For more information on the career of Jack Pyrah, go HERE.

3. Marty Stern

Marty Stern was named the head coach of the men’s program following my freshman year at Villanova and I’m sure there was a tremendous amount of pressure on him as he took the reins of a program that was in need of rebuilding. Even though Marty had a great deal of success with the women’s program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We hoped the success and recruiting of the woman’s program would translate to the men’s team and after my first meeting with him I knew things were going to be different.

Marty was very competitive and he brought an organization to the program that helped create an environment for success. That first season wasn’t without friction but over the next few years our recruiting improved and it started to feel like the program was on the path to success.

Our 4x800 win at the Penn Relays in 1991 was one of the great memories I have with Marty. Every Villanova runner dreams about winning at Penn Relays, but looking back I’m sure it was a tremendous moment for Marty and a bit of a relief given the pressure on the men’s program to produce results at the Penn Relays.

4. Penn Relays

While at McQuaid Jesuit High School I was a member of several competitive relay teams that participated in the High School Championship of America 4x800 so I was already familiar with the significance of the meet though we were never able to win.  Following the high school 4x800m I was able to watch the Villanova men win the college men’s 4x800 Championship of America and hoped someday I’d be able to do the same.

Sumner was a 3x Penn Relays Champion
When back on campus, I still enjoy walking down the Penn Relays Wagon Wheel trophy lined hall between the Jake Nevin Field House and the Pavilion and I recall how it served as a daily reminder of the importance of the Penn Relays to Villanova.

My freshmen year, discussion of Penn Relays began the first day of Cross Country practice and after winning the 4x800 at the indoor NCAA meet it seemed like we would have good chance of winning at Penn that year. At Penn, I ran the third leg and handed off to Mike Seeger with the shortest of leads and stood on the track and watched Mike Seeger battle Mike Jasper (Georgetown) in an incredibly close race where we came up just short, losing by less than a second. This was the toughest loss I experienced at Penn as it was the closest I’d come yet to a win.

The next year our team of Aidan O’Regan, Finn Kelly, Mike Seeger and I would have a chance to redeem ourselves and in a twist of a fate Mike Seeger ran against Mike Jasper on the third leg. This was another battle and Mike had the strongest leg of the day putting on a big move over the last 200 meters that gave us a short lead over Georgetown. I hung on against Ethan Frey, had my first Penn Relays watch, and the experience was made all the better given the results of the previous year.

5. Villanova Tradition

All you have to do is flip through a Villanova Track & Field media guide to see the rich tradition of Villanova track and field. I think the combination of a beautiful campus, excellent academic reputation, and strong athletic program makes it a memorable place to attend school and I think there are only a handful of schools that can compare in terms of having such a rich tradition.

Whether it was the pictures of athletes like Ron Delany hanging on the wall near the stairs in Jake Nevin or the trophy- and NCAA certificate-lined hallway between the Jake Nevin Field House and the Pavilion, there was a daily reminder of the success of the athletes that came before you. I used to love walking down that hall looking for names on the certificates or looking at the years on the Penn Relays Wagon Wheels and trying to determine relay team members for given years. I think any athlete who puts on the Villanova singlet wants to be a part of that success and as an alum it’s nice to know I was able to contribute a little to the wall.

One of my favorite memories that was a nod to the past was our Penn Relays pre-race tradition of visiting Jumbo’s statue by the track and touching Jumbo’s stopwatch for good luck the night before heading down to Penn. I’m not sure where or when it started but Mike Seeger passed this on to me and it’s something I carried on before every Penn Relays while at Villanova.

As an alum I still feel like I’m part of the same program whose success spans decades. I look at the talent on the team now and the continued leadership under Marcus and the future for the Villanova Track and Field program looks bright. It seems like it would be a great time to run at Villanova and Tosha and I enjoy following the team on Facebook and Twitter and of course, the Villanova Running blog.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bobby Curtis a Strong 3rd in Belgian 5000

Bobby Curtis came a strong third over 5000 meters in Ninove, Belgium on Saturday night, running 13:29.70 at the 23rd Raschaert Memorial.  Curtis was part of a three-man group, led by 2012 Olympic 5000 meter finalist and 2011 Pan Am Games 5000 meter gold medalist Juan Luis Barrios, that separated itself over the final lap.  Curtis finished in third, about 2.5 seconds in arrears.

Rank Lane ID    Name    Team    Cat      Result
1 3 9265    Barrios Juan Luis    MEX    Sen      13:27.32
2 2 9043    Hiss Bachir Youssouf    DJI    Sen      13:28.20
3 4 9455    Curtis Robert    USA    Sen      13:29.79
4 14 2447    Naert Koen    EA    Sen      13:34.31
5 7 9405    Wallerang Olle    SWE    Sen      13:34.74
6 11 9236    Onishi Tomoya    JPN    Sen      13:40.46
7 9 3010    Bouchikhi Soufiane    OLSE    Sen      13:43.55
8 17 9227    Hoshi Sohta    JPN    Sen      13:46.85
9 15 9241    Yoroizaka Tetsuya    JPN    Sen      13:48.05
10 10 9225    Fukatsu Takuya    JPN    Sen      13:49.41
11 8 9046    Nurme Tiidrek    EST    Sen      13:51.07
12 13 9469    Riley Jacob    USA    Sen      13:52.90
13 5 9229    Kakuage Hiromitsu    JPN    Sen      13:53.78
14 21 9204    Sonnenberg Nico    GER    Sen      14:00.07
15 24 9474    Van Halen Aric    USA    Sen      14:01.54
16 12 9235    Oishi Minato    JPN    Sen      14:03.14
17 18 9230    Kiname Ryo    JPN    Sen      14:09.37
18 23 9404    Uhrbom Fredrik    SWE    Mas      14:10.01
19 16 9234    Nishiyama Yohei    JPN    Sen      14:12.23
20 19 9368    Ellefsen Persen Asbjorn    NOR    Sen      14:13.53
21 25 2199    Van Assche Lukas    VAC    Sen      14:30.13
22 26 1072    Caelen Florent    RFCL    Sen      14:35.38
23 22 9456    Devar Frank    USA    Sen      14:45.31

0 9187    Grobl Tobias    GER    Sen      DNF

1 3093    Kibet Alex*    VAC    Sen      DNF

6 2396    Lunders Mats    LYRA    Sen      DNF

20 9029      Nixon Andrew    CAN    Sen      DNF

27 9463 Leer Will    USA    Sen      DNF

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27, 1985: Sydney Maree's 13:01.15 Sets New AR

On this day in 1985 Villanova legend Sydney Maree set a US National Record in the 5000 meters, running what was on that day the third-fastest time in history.  In the process he chased Morocco's Said Aouita to a new world record of 13:00.40, breaking Britain's David Moorcroft's two-year old record (13:00.41) by the thinnest of margins.  Maree's time of 13:01.15 -- which destroyed the extant US National Record of Alberto Salazar by over 10 seconds -- would stand as the US record for 11 years until Bob Kennedy became the first American (and first non-African) to break the magical 13:00 barrier in July 1996.  Maree's 13:01.15 remains the fastest 5000 meters ever run by a former Villanova athlete.

Aouita and Maree waged an epic battle over multiple laps, with Aouita able at the end to ward off Maree by two strides.  As the video above shows, Maree took the lead at the bell and held the lead for most of the final lap but was unable to stave off Aouita, who retook the lead in the final 150 meters of the race.  Aouita would go on in the next month to claim the 1500 meters world record, a record that Maree himself had held briefly in 1983.

Sports Illustrated described the race this way, in its August 5, 1985 edition:

Two men were out to get him. Sydney Maree, the former 1,500 record holder, and the Olympic champion at 10,000, Alberto Cova of Italy. Both are renowned finishers. After Torstein Brox of Norway and Bob Verbeck of Belgium had rabbited past halfway at near-record pace, Aouita took over and kept up a steady flow of 63-second laps. Only Maree and Cova stayed with him. "From 3,000 to the end, I felt very bad," said Aouita. "Not in my legs, but in the stomach." Aouita is all chest and legs and teeth. He has run a 1:44.37 800, but speed training is said to hurt his flat feet.

Maree stayed second, so close that Aouita would always sense him. "From 2,000 meters, I knew he was there and going well and that he would attack," said Aouita. "The question was when."

And whether Aouita could respond. "I felt [then] that I couldn't do it today," he said. "At 3,000 I even thought of dropping out of the race."

With 600 to go, the pace got to Cova, and he fell away. Ten meters before the last-lap bell, Maree took off. The sight of him cutting in ahead jolted Aouita. "I liked it very much when he attacked," said Aouita later. "He helped the last 400 meters."

Aouita came to Maree's shoulder with 200 to go, and Maree held him there, outside, running farther on the turn. But Aouita fought even with 150 to run, pulled ahead off the turn and sprinted through the stretch. "I knew," he said. "I knew when Sydney sped ahead it was going to be a world record."

That was an awful lot of certainty for what turned out to be a very near thing. He hit the line in 13:00.40,.01 faster than Dave Moorcroft's great solo run at Bislett in 1982.

Aouita's last lap had taken but 54.4 seconds. Maree had given Aouita the world record with his long charge, and Aouita acknowledged it. "If he had gone from 800 meters, we'd have broken 13 minutes," he said, greedy and happy at the same time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sheila Reid 4th in London DL 3000 in 8:44.02 PR

Reid comes 4th in new 3000m PR

Sheila Reid ran an 8:44.02 PR today over 3000 meters in London, finishing 4th in a very fast race. The top four finishers all bettered the pre-existing 2013 world low for the event (which was 8:44.30 by Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana). Reid reacted well when the race leaders struck for home, and she was able to finish well clear of Jordan Hasay in 5th.

Rank Athlete Nation Result Diamond Points Diamond Ranking






Sonia O'Sullivan's Last Lap

Today is the 17th anniversary of Sonia O'Sullivan's Olympic Record (15:15.80) set in the semi-final of the 5000 meters at the Atlanta Olympics.  On this day it is worth remembering this fine Villanova athlete -- without dispute the greatest female runner in Villanova track and field history.  Sonia O'Sullivan competed for Ireland in four Olympic Games (1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens), winning a silver medal over 5000 meters in 2000. She was twice the World Champion in Cross Country, performing the rare long- and short-course double in Marrakesh in 1998. Sonia was also a World Champion on the track, winning the 5000 meters in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1995 (as well as a world championships silver over 1500 meters in 1993 in Stuttgart). She was a three-time European Champion over 3000 (1994), 5000 (1998), and 10,000 (1998) meters, and won European silver two additional times. She was runner-up over 3000 meters at the 1997 World Indoor Championships. At Villanova, Sonia was a 5-time NCAA individual national champion.  She won two NCAA cross country individual titles (1991 and 1992), two 3000 meter NCAA crowns (1990i, 1990), and the 5000i meter title in 1991. She set world records over 2000 and 5000i meters.

 2x World Cross Country Champion
World Champion at 5000 meters
Olympic Silver Medalist at 5000 meters
World Championships Silver Medalist at 1500 meters
4x Olympian (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)
3x European Champion
3x World Record Holder
5x NCAA Individual Champion
16x International Medalist
Irish National Records over 10 distances
6x Penn Relays Champion
10x Big East Champion

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nine Cats Named to All-Academic Team by USTFCCCA

The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has announced its list of All-Academic award winners.

To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher and have met either of the following athletic standards:

(1) for the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by;

(2) for the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships (including preliminary rounds).

Here are Villanova's members of the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team:

Rob Denault           3.40     Marketing        
Sam Ellison           3.34     Communications
Sam McEntee           3.46     Comprehensive Sciences

Summer Cook           3.57     Political Science
Kelsey Margey         3.27     Sciences
Ariann Neutts         3.46     Humanities
Stephanie Schappert   3.78     Marketing
Alexandra Wasik       3.80     Global Interdisciplinary Studies
Michaela Wilkins      3.33     Arts

Monday, July 22, 2013

1984 US Olympic Trials 800 meter Final:
John Marshall Runs Fastest 800 Ever by Villanova Athlete

No Villanova runner has ever gone faster over 800 meters than John Marshall's 1:43.92 at the 1984 US Olympic Trials final.  Marshall came third on June 19th in a thrilling race, out-leaning pre-race favorite James Robinson to make the Olympic team.  Robinson wasn't the only favorite not to make the team:  Villanova's Don Paige, who won the 1980 US Trials in 1:44.53 but could not compete due to President Carter's Olympic boycott, was generally expected to make the team easily.  However, the fast pace (the leaders out in 50.2 seconds) seems to have caught him off guard and he could rally to no better than 5th place.  Marshall's time was only .01 second off the US national record (Rick Wohlhuter's 1:43.91) at that distance as the day began, as both Jones and Gray (who would go on to win the US Trials in 1988, 1992, and 1996) went under the old mark.  Indeed, it was the first 800 meter race in history where four men dipped below 1:44.00.  In the video below, Villanova's legendary Marty Liquori covered the race for ABC Sports with Al Michael.

1. Earl Jones        1:43.74
2. Johnny Gray       1:43.74
3. John Marshall     1:43.92
4. James Robinson    1:43.92
5. Don Paige         1:45.17
6. Stanley Redwine   1:45.32
7. Pete Richardson   1:46.62
8. Eugene Sanders    1:47.05

Former Villanova Teammates Jerry Bouma,
Eamonn Coghlan attend "The Gathering" in Dublin

 An Irish Gathering
The Edmonton Journal
July 21, 2013
Edmonton’s Jerry Bouma is just back from Dublin after celebrating The Gathering with running legend and college friend Eamonn Coghlan and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Jerry Bouma was team co-captain in 1974
“The Gathering is a largely government initiative to attract the Irish diaspora home and enhance tourism and business opportunities,” says Bouma, whose consulting company specializes in the food and agriculture industry.

“I trained for track events at Villanova University with Eamonn, who I tell people is to Ireland what Wayne Gretzky is to Canada. He is senator now and invited a dozen college track alumni over to play in a Senator’s Cup golf tournament.”

Coghlan, who won the indoor mile at the Journal Games in 1981, is a three-time Olympian and a former 5,000-metre world champion. At the age of 22, he ran a sub-four minute mile to set an Irish record before claiming the European record.

Coghlan was tagged “The Chairman of the Boards” for his mile wins on the US indoor circuit. He broke the world record three times and claimed the indoor world record for the 1,500- and 2,000-metre distances.

“The prime minister was unable to play golf because of controversies that make our own scene look tame,” says Bouma. “Abortion, banking, the future of the senate and fractions in his own party are just some of the heated discussions. But Kenny did spend about three hours with us before leaving to participate in the 180-kilometre Ring of Kerry bike tour the next day.”

For more on Jerry Bouma, the first Canadian scholarship runner at Villanova (1970-1974), go HERE.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On this Day in 1975: Marty Liquori Sets US National Record

Liquori was ranked #1 in the World over 1 Mile and 5000 meters -- the last American to accomplish either

On July 17, 1975 Marty Liquori broke Steve Prefontaine's national record in the 2-mile run by crossing the line in 8:17.12 to win in Stockholm, Sweden. Prefontaine had set his second national record (8:18.29) over two miles almost exactly one year earlier, but Liquori bested a strong field -- including both New Zealand's (Dixon) and Sweden's (Garderud) reigning 2-mile record holders and the reigning Olympic 1500 meter gold medalist (Walker) -- to claim the US record.  Liquori's run on this day bested his previous PR over two miles -- 8:25.27 set one year earlier on the same track -- by over 8 seconds. Liquori's new national record would last 19 years, until being broken by Marc Davis (8:12.74) on August 24, 1994.

2 Mile Run
Stockholm, Sweden  July 17, 1975

1.  Marty Liquori     USA     8:17.12  NR
2.  John Walker       NZL     8:20.57
3.  Anders Garderud   SWE     8:20.94
4.  Rod Dixon         NZL     8:26.40

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Up to the Marathon: Q&A with Carrie Tollefson

Tollefson won the 1500 meters at the 2004 US Olympic Trials (above) and represented the USA at the Athens Games

Big Switch: 5 Questions With Carrie Tollefson

  • By Sarah Barker,
  • July 15, 2013
We catch up with the 2004 Olympian, who is running her first marathon this fall.

Olympian Carrie Tollefson is accustomed to making a left and covering 1,500 or 5,000 meters very quickly.

She won 13 Minnesota State High School championships, she was a 3K/5K star while at Villanova, and represented the U.S. at the 2004 Olympics in the 1,500 meters. While she rarely raced further than 8K, she claims to once have gone 22 miles on a training run. By mistake.

In late May, Tollefson announced she would run her first marathon, her hometown Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, in early October. At the time of the announcement, she anxiously awaited the arrival of baby No. 2, thus, the most assuredly fast aspect of this inaugural adventure will be the 12-week combined post-partum recovery/marathon training program.

Having a husband (Charlie), a 3-year-old (Ruby), a newborn (Everett), a training camp, the C Tolle Run online show, commentary for New York Road Runners, promotion for Twin Cities Marathon, and a newly signed contract with Reebok as a brand ambassador, Tollefson says, puts her in the same boat as thousands of working moms who run marathons. Unlike most of those moms though, running just to finish is new territory for Tollefson.

Why a marathon? And why now, with only 12 weeks to train?
I want one under my belt before I do commentary for the NYC Marathon; then I’ll be a legit marathoner. No one can say, “Oh, she hasn’t done one. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” As an athlete, I know it’s crazy to tackle this right after a baby, but lots of working women do this, and boy, now I really get it. I know how hard it is to fit in a run. Some days I don’t want to go, and I just don’t — and that’s OK. I want to enjoy the journey, get what I can out of my training and see what happens.

Did you run through your pregnancies? What about starting back post-baby?
I ran three-to- five miles, five days/week and lifted three times/week until my due date. Ruby was early, but Everett was a week late and I was having some nerve pain, so I ellipticaled that last week. I’m ultra-conservative about starting back, with running and core work (I actually loving doing core stuff!): Four weeks with Ruby and a little over three weeks with Everett. I figure, I’m only going to be a new mom for a little while — I’ve got the rest of my life to get my six-pack back.

What’s your training plan and do you have a goal time?
I’m following the Carrie Tollefson training plan: Increase mileage by 15 to 20 percent each week, max out at 65 or 70 miles/week (which is weird because as a mid-d runner, I ran 80 miles/week, so I’m going to have to pull from that base). I’m thinking Wednesday, a medium-long run and a long run with tempo incorporated on Saturday and Sunday. The other days, I’ll fit in whatever I can. Right now, I go at 8:30 or 9 p.m. after the kids go down, but once Everett starts sleeping through the night, I’ll get up at 5:30 a.m. or so and go before Charlie leaves for work.

In September, Ruby and Everett will go to daycare Tuesday and Thursday, but those are going to be big work days for me, not workout days. I plan to do some long runs when I’m on the road for work — if I’m going to be away from Charlie and the kids, I’ve got to make that time count.

I still have a competitive spirit, and I’m not gonna lie — it is fun to run fast. Hopefully I’ll be feeling good and my talent will take over. I would love to see 2:59:59.

Is the marathon a one-and-done for you?
It would be interesting to see what I could do with a proper buildup and 16-week training. I live with Mr. All-Or-Nothing (Charlie does Ironmans), but you know, there’s nothing wrong with 5Ks.

How do you deal with the transition from elite athlete to running for fun?
I cherish the time I had as a full-time athlete — I got to see the world and meet amazing people and, heck, having a massage was part of my job. But I’ve always had a healthy outlook on my career. I gave it my all and now it’s time for something else. I really love being with my husband and kids. And I’m excited about work. If I run fast again, that would be awesome, but it’s not my priority — it’s probably fourth or fifth on my list.

Monday, July 15, 2013

She's Baaack: Rhines Takes BUPA Great Edinburgh Run

Jen Rhines has been fighting injuries and Father Time, but she showed (once again) that she's one of the most resilient and versatile runners in US distance history (witness making three Olympic teams at three different distances).  Rhines won the BUPA Great Edinburgh 10K Run in Scotland on Sunday, besting the women's field over the hilly 10K course in 34:22, a full 2:12 margin over second-place finisher Nicola Duncan.

The three-time US Olympian was the first American winner of the race in four years.  "It feels amazing," she said. "I'm so excited to come here and win at such a great race. I've got to say you guys love your hills here; it was a tough course to get around!"

Scotsman Andrew Lemoncello, who ran at Florida State University in the States and competed in the 2008 Olympics in the steeplechace, won the men's race.

Jen was not joking about the hills, as the course elevation map reveals:

Here are the top-10 results on the women's side:

PosGenderBIBNameClubFinish TimeGun/Chip
1F101JEN RHINES00:34:22Gun Time
2F107NICOLA DUNCANPortobello00:36:34Gun Time
3F102JENNIFER MCCLEANEdinburgh Athletic Club00:36:37Gun Time
4F120JENNIFER EMSLEYCentral AC00:36:51Gun Time
5F103FIONA MATHESONFalkirk Harriers00:37:18Gun Time
6F109JESSICA OLIVER-BELLShettleston Harriers00:38:06Gun Time
7F117ALEXANDRA LAMONDStirling University Athletic Club00:38:35Gun Time
8F118KATHRYN PENNELShettleston Harriers00:38:42Gun Time
9F104DIANE LAUDERGala Harriers00:38:55Gun Time
10F111KARA TAITKilmarnock Harriers & AC00:38:57

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Malone Named New Jersey Athlete of the Outdoor Season

Incoming freshman Ben Malone (USA prep #2 over 1500 meters in 2013) has been named New Jersey's Athlete of the Season for the 2013 outdoor season.  Here's how his selection was described by the folks at NJ Runners, the state's MileSplit affiliate :

"Ben Malone didn't take part in the awesome spectacle that was the NJSIAA State Meet Tournament, but that didn't stop him from running amazing times. He is NJ#2 and US#6 with a converted 1600m time of 4:04.17 from the 4:05.59 mile time he ran at Penn Relays placing second. He took down one of the best distance runners in state history Edward Cheserek at Glenn D. Loucks Games winning with a meet record 4:09.73 in the mile. Consistently hitting under 4 minutes 10 seconds in the mile all season, Malone will be attending Villanova University next fall."

"He didn't race too often this season, but the quality of the performances and the range this runner has in events pushed him to the top. It took me the longest to choose this award between Isaac Clark and Malone. Clark had an amazing year individually and helping his team's 4x800m relay to amazing times. Malone didn't go after the 800m this season, but still pumped out a NJ#10 time of 1:52.80 at the Bergen Co Meet of Champs, he is NJ#2 and US#6 in the converted 1600m, ranks NJ#22 in the 400m with a 48.94. He set the state record in the 1500m run this season clocking in a 3:46.97 US#2 (which would convert to a 4:05.06 for the full mille!). So he picked and chose his races, went after the mile, and performed well all season. I wish, as I'm sure other track fans do as well, that he ran in the state meets so I could see him tear it up with the other fine performances we saw from the rest of NJ into early June but that's past now. Good luck to you Ben Malone at Villanova next fall, we'll be keeping tabs on your career."

Here's the 1500 meter race Malone ran (along with future Villanova teammates Jordy Williamsz and Sam McEntee) at the 2013 Swarthmore Last Chance meet.  His time of 3:46.97 put Malone at #2 in the US prep ranks and broke the New Jersey state high school record:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Schappert 8th in 1500m Final at World University Games

Former Villanova All-American Nicole Schappert ran 4:15.02 today in Kazan, Russia to finish 8th in the 1500 meter final at the World University Games.  Schappert's time was well off her 4:07 PR set in 2012, but she is coming off surgery and was unable to attain her full level of fitness by missing the 2013 indoor season.  All in all, though, Schappert represented the USA well in Kazan in advancing to the event final.  Here are the results:

1821SHARMINA Ekaterina RUS4:05.49
2773KOROBKINA Elena RUS4:08.13
33GEGA Luiza ALB4:08.71
4409MAGNANI Margherita ITA4:09.72
5643SMIT Angie NZL4:11.72PB
6387TARPLEE Claire IRL4:13.37
7657BRONIATOWSKA Katarzyna POL4:14.31
81063SCHAPPERT Nicole USA4:15.02
9572GUEVARA Cristina MEX4:16.97
10991KOYUNCU Tugba TUR4:18.62
111011AJOK Docus UGA4:25.83


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Schappert Runs to World University Games 1500m Final

Today in Kazan, Russia former Villanova All-American Nicole Schappert advanced on time into Friday's 1500 meter final at the World University Games.  Schappert ran 4:17.15 to finish 6th in the faster of two semi-final heats (see complete results below) to qualify for the 12-person final.  The top four finishers in each of two heats plus the next four fastest finishers were all advanced into the final.  The top 8 finishers in heat 1 all ran faster than the winner of heat 2, and Schappert was 6th fastest overall.  She owns a 4:07.79 PR over 1500 meters.  She will attempt to join her Villanova teammate Marina Muncan (who won in 2009) as a 1500m gold medalist at the Games.

Qualification rule:4 (Q) + 4 (q) 
1991KOYUNCU Tugba TUR4:15.93Q
2821SHARMINA Ekaterina RUS4:15.95Q
3409MAGNANI Margherita ITA4:15.99Q
41011AJOK Docus UGA4:16.44Q
5572GUEVARA Cristina MEX4:16.67qPB
61063SCHAPPERT Nicole USA4:17.15q
7643SMIT Angie NZL4:17.94qSB
8387TARPLEE Claire IRL4:18.77q
91048PIERDEVARA Florina ROU4:21.85

10916KURMANN Lisa Maria SUI4:22.10

11583CHULUUNKHUU Shinetsetseg MGL4:36.50

12961RAHMONOVA Dilshoda TJK4:48.77

512MAFATA Moleboheng LESDNS

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ex-Nova AA Monique Morgan Strikes Gold for Jamaica

Former Villanova All-American Monique Morgan 
Wins Gold For Jamaica

Morgan won gold medal in 100 meter hurdles at Central American and Caribbean championships

July 8, 2013

Morgan was All-American in 2006
MORELIA, Mexico - This past weekend at the XXIV Central American and Caribbean Senior track & field championships former Villanova standout Monique Morgan won a gold medal for Jamaica in the 100 meter hurdles. Morgan, who also competed for her native country during her collegiate career, registered a winning time of 13.25 to pace a field of seven athletes that ran into the wind during the race.

During the three-day competition Jamaica won a total of 21 medals - second only to host Mexico - including 11 gold medals. Morgan's time of 13.25 put her comfortably ahead of runner-up Kierre Beckles from Barbados, who finished with a time of 13.37.

Morgan was an All-American hurdler for the Wildcats and finished in eighth place at the outdoor NCAA Championships as a junior in 2006. She graduated from Villanova a year later and finished her Wildcats career as a three-time BIG EAST champion. Morgan continues to train with Wildcats assistant coach Anthony Williams, who will begin his 20th season at Villanova this fall.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

NJ Meet Honors Nova's Former WR Holder Frank Budd

Sprinter's world-record legacy lives on at the Frank Budd Track Meet

 Dave D'Alessandro/Star-Ledger Columnist By Dave D'Alessandro/Star-Ledger Columnist

July 06, 2013

His life began with polio, the paralytic curse of three generations, and the fact that he became the fastest man on the planet is not so much an irony to Frank Budd as it was a lesson of what an iron will can do for a man.

His wife of 50 years, Barbara, tells him this almost every day. She’s a critical care specialist, and this isn’t something they teach you in nursing school, but she applauded the stories from her mother-in-law — notably, how Frank’s mom applied a concoction of goose grease, nutmeg, mutton fat and witch hazel to a slightly deformed right leg, and transformed this limping child into arguably the greatest sprinter New Jersey has ever produced.

“She believed it was going to help Frank, and it obviously didn’t hurt,” Barbara said the other day. “But I think it was more about will and determination. I still believe it’s about having a positive attitude, and having a strong family around you, and Frank has both.”

“And keep in mind,” Frank Budd added, “that polio was more of a theory than medically proven. The doctors said it was ‘probably’ polio because my left leg was stronger, and the calf was an inch larger in circumference than the right. When I got to Villanova in 1958, a coach told me I was limping as I ran — I guess I just didn’t notice — but it gradually grew stronger.”

Frank Budd with Jumbo Elliott in 1961

How strong?

There is a long and distinguished thread of world-class sprinters that binds the fabric of our state’s track and field history, including many men who carried the title of World’s Fastest Human – from Eulace Peacock in the 1930s to Dave Sime in the 1950s to Carl Lewis in the 1980s.

And along the way, there was Frank Budd.

“New Jersey has been home to a long line of incredible track and field athletes,” said Elliott Denman, the track historian and 1956 Olympian, “and Frank Budd surely ranks as one of the best of the best.”

We get another reminder of this today, when he hands out some medals at the eighth annual Frank Budd Track and Field Meet, an open USATF-sanctioned event at his alma mater, Asbury Park High School.

Some impressive athletes got their starts at this meet. AjeĆ© Wilson of Neptune, who is winning gold medals all over the world now, won the women’s mile here in 2006 at age 12.

It is but a small tribute to the man who broke the world record for the 100-yard dash at the AAU Championships at Randalls Island on June 24, 1961.

The extraordinary part of that achievement is that the previous mark of 9.3 seconds (held by USC’s Mel Patton) had stood since 1948. Nowadays, sprint records seem to last as long as it takes for Usain Bolt or Asafa Powell to lace up their shoes.

Budd, of course, ran on a cinder track, not the rubberized ovals that bounce Bolt and Justin Gatlin along at speeds that were unimaginable 52 years ago.

“And that day, I was in the first lane, where everyone runs during the distance races, so it was chewed up more than usual,” Budd recalled.

“But that 9.3 stood for a long time, and my theory is that it was because timers were just reluctant to give out a 9.2. But that day, just before I got in the block (Villanova coach) Jumbo Elliott said, ‘I want a 9.2 today.’ And I think the only reason they gave it to me was because the guys who came in second and third were timed at 9.3.”

 In Sports Illustrated’s recap of that historic race, Roy Terrell wrote, “Patton himself always said that the first man to run 9.2 would be tall and strong and quick, a young giant with the reflexes of a cat. Budd is completely middle-size — 5-feet-10 inches, 172 pounds — and he never seems to be in a hurry until he runs. He lacks the effortless grace of a Patton . . . the catapult start . . . (and) he has none of the incredible finishing power. He just hustles along.”

It had been a year since his disappointment at the Rome Olympics, where his 4x100 relay team thought it set the record, only to be disqualified for an illegal handoff, but the 21-year-old from Villanova was now immortal. And though Budd’s 9.2 wouldn’t hold up long (Bob Hayes ran a wind-aided 9.1 the following year), he continued to dominate indoors and out, setting another record for the 220-yard dash.

By 1963, he was in the NFL, even though he hadn’t picked up a football since high school. He caught 27 passes over two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, then played three years in the CFL. When he returned to Jersey, he had positions with the Department of Corrections and at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City.

He is 73 now and lives in Mount Laurel. For the past four years, Budd has been in a wheelchair, fighting multiple sclerosis, which was diagnosed in 1996. Twice he also experienced acute renal failure and was given long odds to beat it, yet he did.

“This is a man who walked both our girls down the aisle, which was very important to him — he put aside his walker in 2003 to dance with one of them,” said Barbara, who has three kids, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren with her husband.

“But that’s Frank. He’s still the most remarkable man I’ve known, considering where he was as a young man and where he is today, remarkable in that he doesn’t let MS get him down. I like to think that’s why he was a champion.”