Less than two weeks out from the 26th Annual Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathonon Oct. 12, this is an update, where proper, to the athletes in the New England’s Finest Programthat first appeared in the Sept/Oct. issue of NER.
Great performances are an indicator of great fitness, but less than extraordinary outings may be due to marathon training. So with that in mind, here’s the outlook.
The mighty men of the Western Mass Distance project headed to Hartford (L-R): Sub-4 miler Ben Groleau (half), NEF M40 Hartford Half Marathon course record holder Dan Smith (full) and Bronson Venable (full). Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner
Jason Ayr, Westfield, MA– In his first Hartford Marathon in 2016, Jason ran a PR 2:24:26 to place 4th overall. He returned a year later to turn in another PR performance, this in 2:20:36 to place 3rd. In 2018 he ran a “tempo run” of 2:28:45 to place 2nd at the undulating Cape Cod Marathon. This May, Jason ran 50:18 at the Broad St. 10M in PA; same month, same state, he ran 2:29:11 to place 2nd at the Run For the Red Marathon. One month later at Grandma’s, Jason was just 35 seconds shy of a Trails qualifier in another PR of 2:19:35. Two weeks post Grandma’s he relayed that, “I reached that time after a really rough last few miles. I know I can clean that up and get the OTQ. Hartford has always been a great experience, I’ve PRed every time I’ve run it!”
*Update: Jason ran 1:07:52 at the Philly Half Marathon on Sept. 15
Photo: Jason Ayr by MickFoto/NERunner
Paul Gennaro, Worcester, MA– A former BU track captain with PRs of 14:29 for 5K and 30:38 for 10K, Paul notched a 13.1M PR of 1:08:45 to place 9th at this year’s USATF-NE 13.1M Championship and then ran 2:28:28 at the Vermont City Marathon to place 6th.
*Update: Paul ran 53:24 at the USATF-NE 10M Championship on Aug. 24 and 31:42 at the USATF-NE 10K Championship on Sept. 22.
Everett Hackett, Hartford, CT– The former Hall HS standout and George Mason D1 collegiate runner logged a PR 2:25:27 at the 2015 Hartford Marathon (after going through halfway in 1:08:30!) before qualifying for the 2016 US Olympic Trials Marathon courtesy of a 1:04:34 run at the Jacksonville Half Marathon. Everett entered the Trials in LA ranked 135th out of 164 marathoners from around the country. Only 105 would finish with Hall exceeding expectations in 87th place.
At half the distance Hall has won the Johnny Kelley, Cheshire, Mystic and Fairfield half marathons. At Hartford, he’s come close, running 1:05:44 in 2017 to place 3rd and 1:06:32 for 4th last year. This past Dec. Hackett traveled west with pal John Busque and, although his legs “felt like cement” in the late going of the Cal int’l Marathon, he still managed a 1:22 PR of 2:24:08. At this May’s warmish Vermont City Marathon he placed 5th in 2:27:43.
*Update: Everett was the first New Englander and 14th overall at the New Haven 20K US Championships on Labor Day, running 1:01:45. Just 5 days laterhe won the Beantown Marathon in Hingham, MA in 2:25:42.
Everett Hackett at the 2016 US Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles. Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner
Brian Harvey, Boston, MA– In his two marathon appearances here, Brian has done no worse than 2nd. The B.A.A. ace won the 2016 race in 2:17:55. Chasing an early frontrunner (who would place 4th) early in the 2017 race cost him late as he placed 2nd in 2:19:11. In the 2016 molten LA Trials that preceded Brian’s marathon win here, he was ranked 53rd and finished 32nd in 2:23:46. Looking for a 2020 Trials qualifier, Brian ran Grandma’s in June of 2018 but fell short in 2:22:40. He then dropped to half the distance at Hartford in Oct., placing 5th in 1:08:18. Two months later he’d run 2:17:48 at Cal Int’l to stamp his ticket to Atlanta. Stress-free, Brian is “very excited” to once again contest the full distance at Hartford.
*Update: 10th at the USATF-NE 10M Championship on 8-24 in 52:28, Brian was third at RI’s Downtown 5K in 14:56 and a week later on Sept. 22, was 6th at the USATF-NE 10K Championship in 30:47.
Brian Harvey, 2016. Photo by FitzFoto/NERunner
Ross MacAndrew, East Greenwich, RI– In his fifth marathon and second Boston this past April, Ross notched a PR 2:25:21 as the 6th fastest runner from New England/New York and 49th overall. On July 20, Ross won the Craft Brew 5K in Newport, RI in 15:56.
*Update: Continued back pain, MRI, out for six weeks. Ouch!
Spencer McElwain,Saco, ME– The Dirigo RC ace ran his debut marathon at Hartford in 2013 as a 20 year-old and clocked 2:28:09, noting, “That experience was a big reason I fell in love with marathons. I’m looking for redemption as the next year I had to drop out at 14 miles with a hamstring strain.” In extremely windy conditions, Spencer ran 2:28:27 at the 2017 Philly Marathon. This year he was 10th at the USATF-NE 15K Championship in 49:21. This summer, Spencer won the Patriot 5K in Gray, ME in a time of 15:19 (4:55 pace).
Bryan Morseman, Bath, NY– With a 2:19 best, Bryan has won 65 marathons. His fastest time in 2018 was a 2:23:23 at the Glass City Marathon for 2nd overall. Perhaps more impressive was his win at the tough Cape Cod Marathon in 2:26:38. In 2016, with temperatures in the low 80s, Morseman placed 9th overall in 3:06:33 at the IAU 50K World Championships in Doha, Qatar to help the USA secure the gold medal.
Matt Pelletier, Oneco, CT– Six-time winner of the Vermont City Marathon, 7-time winner of the Blessing of the Fleet 10M. Matt won Harford in 2014 with a time of 2:17:02 after previously placing 2nd and 3rd. Placed 2nd (while injured) at Hartford in 2016 in 2:19:36. Back after a near 3-year retirement at age 40, Matt is rewriting the Masters record books, including at Blessing of the Fleet where he erased a 21-year-old M40 record while placing 3rd overall in 52:50.
*Update: 5th overall in 25:32 at the Bobby Doyle 5M, Matt was 3rd overall at the Surftown Half Marathon (RI) on 9-8 in 1:09:19. Keven O’Neil’s NEF M40 record of 2:31:19 set in 2010 is now in the rearview mirror as the trajectory moves much closer to the overall Hartford Marathon Masters mark of 2:23:52 set by Polish Olympian (1992) Wieslaw Perszke in 2003.
Matty P. at this year’s Blessing of the Fleet 10M, photographed by the fellow whose M40 record he broke, Scott Mason.
Dave Principe, Johnston, RI– Principe, 52, started the year as top Senior at the New Bedford Half Marathon in 1:15-flat. He then placed as third Senior (2nd US) at the Boston Marathon in 2:39:52. Dave’s target at Hartford will be fellow Ocean Stater Glen Guillemette’s NEF M50 record of 2:39:14 set in 2010. After winning the M50 title at the Blessing of the Fleet 10M in 57:27 and Run 4 Kerri 4M in 22:38, Dave was 3rd M50 at the Bridge of Flowers 8K/USATF-NE race in 29:39; the following day he was the top M50 at the Bobby Doyle 5M in 28:17.
*Update: Training with Matty P. and Bronson Venable, Dave is cutting his own path through the M50 competition, winning the Senior division of the Bobby Doyle 5M in 28:17; the Surftown Half Marathon in 1:16:34 and the USATF-NE 10K Championship in 34:29.
Dave Principe at the 2019 Run For Kerri 4M. Photo by Scott Mason
Dennis Roche, Springfield, MA– After debuting in 2:29:04 for fourth at the 2017 Bay State Marathon USATF-NE Championship, the Western Mass Distance Project runner set his sights on Hartford in 2018. After running through halfway in 1:12:47 with NY’s Eric MacKnight, Dennis powered on alone to negative split 1:11:24 and post up third in 2:24:11.
*Update:Dennis was 6th at the USATF-NE 10M Championship in 51:49 and 5th at the Surftown Half Marathon (9-8) in 1:09:57.
Jeff Seelaus, Brookline, MA– Since graduating Amherst College (class of ’16) Jeff has indulged his propensity to go long…with remarkable success…now bolstered by good training partners and a coach, he comments, “I’d attribute a lot of my development to many, many weeks of running slightly more than I should be and upping my workload.” Not long after graduation Jeff tackled the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:34:32. He returned the following year and lowered that to 2:24:21. Running for the Tracksmith Hare AC, Jeff traveled to Berlin in 2018 and ran 2:20:56, finishing as the third US runner. This June at Grandma’s he nailed an OTQ in 2:17:05. “Looking at Hartford, I think it’ll be incredibly beneficial to scrap the splits and just race,” says Jeff in reference to his previous ‘time focused’ efforts. “I would love to win and that is my goal. I’m not sure what time it will take but I know that the competition will be fierce and I’ll need to be both physically and mentally ready for anything, I can’t wait.”
*Update:Jeff ran 53:40 at the USATF-NE 10M Championship.
Ryan Smith, Farmington, ME– An asst. coach at UMaine, 24 year-old Ryan arrived from Goshen College (IN) holding eight school distance records. He ran his marathon debut at Hartford last year, placing second in 2:22:36. Ryan ran a “practice” 26.2er in May at the Gate City Striders Marathon, winning in a course record 2:30:13. Flyin’ Ryan’s full effort occurred at Grandma’s a month later where he ran a PR 2:21:07. Ryan was the victor at this year’s Bridgton Four on the Fourth in 20:16. The focus at Hartford is the same as last year—contend for the win and get an OTQ. To aid in this we promised Ryan there wouldn’t be a repeat sogfest this Oct., and he, in turn, replied, “I think I can give the weather another shot, as long as it was worked on for this year, as promised. Word is there will be a few guys shooting for the trials standard this year, so hopefully we can put up some good performances!”
*Update:Ryan ran 30:27 at August’s Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine and later in the month was 2nd overall at the USATF-NE 10M Championship in 50:44. This past Labor Day he was 2nd New Englander (to Everett Hackett) at the New Haven 20K US Championships, placing 18th overall in 1:02:29.
Ryan Smith at Hartford, 2018. Photo by MickFoto/NERunner
Dan Smith, Shelburne Falls, MA– A Masters runner and member of the Western Mass Distance Project, Dan ran strong at Hartford last year and came from behind to beat NEF M40 course record holder David Bedoya andset the new NEF M40 record of 1:11:52.
Michael Stadolnick, Plainfield, CT– It’s been four M40 wins in a row for Mr. Hartford, starting with a 2:34:46 decision over former overall champion Michael Wardian in 2015. With Matty P. in the NEF program and Moninda Marube, 40, in the Elite program, we’re predicting Michael as 1st M45-49.
Bronson Venable, Warwick, RI– The former Iona Gael and standout at powerhouse Bishop Hendricken HS (RI) started working himself back into shape last summer and ran 1:10:19 at the Surftown Half Marathon. A 14:28 indoor 5,000m runner, Bronson is training with Matt Pelletier and David Principe for a sub-2:25 effort. On July 4 he won the 51st Arnold Mills 4M in 20:07. This summer, Bronson also won the Gaspee Days 5K in 15:01 and the Fairhaven Father’s Day 10K in 31:24.
*Update:Bronson was 10th at the Bridge of Flowers 8K/USATF-NE Championship in 26-flat and on 9-8 placed 7th at the Surftown Half Marathon in 1:10:54.