“New England’s Finest” – The Marathoners

The ING Hartford Marathon/NER “New England’s Finest” program is six pages in length in the Sept/Oct issue, including introductory letters from ING Hartford Marathon RD Beth Shluger and NER Editor/Co-Publisher Bob Fitzgerald, along with photos and text on the course, the marathon’s ‘green initiative’ and its elite half marathoners. Here we look at “New England’s Finest’ marathoners.

Sheri Piers, Falmouth, ME-The word for Sheri’s season to date is simple: Stupendous! Ranked 11th going into April’s Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon, Sheri, 37, ran a breakout PR of 2:38:46 to place 16th. Two year’s ago her PR was 3:09:00 from Boston. Hoping to break three hours at that year’s Maine Marathon, she ended up second in 2:56:40. She then got to watch her husband, Wayne, 43, qualify for Boston with a 3:13:16 in just his second marathon.
Training partner Kristen Barry of Scarborough, who’d placed second in the Maine Half Marathon, suggested they shoot for the Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:47:00. On Nov. 18, 2007, Sheri and Kristen ran together through the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:45:37.
Working on her speed since the Trials, Sheri ran 17:26 to win the women’s division of the Portland Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K, tying Kristen’s course record. At the Beach to Beacon 10K on August 2, Sheri was 10 seconds behind Kristen as Barry broke the decade-old Maine women’s course record in 34:37.
Working full-time as a nurse with five kids in the fold, the Dirigo RC ace is hedging her bets for the fall, projecting a finish somewhere in the 2:45:00 range (we’ll see if this doesn’t lower a bit). Hartford will be her 8th marathon. Wayne Piers will also be going the distance on Oct. 11!

Shannon McHale, West Simsbury, CT-The former Shannon Hovey will have the benefit of knowing the Hartford course; plus, this year she’ll also have the benefit of training exclusively for Hartford. After running 10 miles of molten macadam at last year’s heat and humidity stressed Chicago Marathon, Shannon wisely stepped off the course and 10 days later placed third at Hartford in 2:45:14.
“I was extremely happy with that,” says Shannon, a member of New Balance-
Connecticut. “Hartford is obviously a more difficult course than Chicago, but it’s a great event and it worked out really well.”                                                        
The 36 year-old former nurse and current massage therapist has run six Boston and Chicago Marathons since 2003, including a PR 2:42:08 from Chicago in 2006. She was just off that at the Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon in Boston with a time of 2:42:40.
At Hartford her stated goal is to shoot for a sub-2:40. Hartford will be Shannon’s 15th marathon.
The five children shared between Shannon and her husband, David McHale, will be elsewhere on marathon day as David-a veteran of 17 marathons with a best of 3:02-will also be running.

Patrick Moulton, Pelham, NH-Having moved back to his native NH at the end of July after a year-long stint as a Hanson’s Distance Project runner in Michigan, Pat is one of the èÏBig Three’ Olympic Trials èÏA’ qualifiers from New England along with brother Casey and Nate Jenkins of Lowell, MA. Pat qualified for the Trials at the 2006 Austin Marathon (TX) with a 2:15:35 clocking and was NER’s 2006 Runner of the Year.
In his most recent marathon outing at the Men’s Olympic Trials Marathon in New York City last November, Pat placed 28th overall in 2:18:35.
“I was looking for a fall marathon in the area and since my girlfriend has family out in Connecticut I thought Hartford would be a great competitive race to be in,‰âÂVbCrLf said Pat. “Casey’s not running a fall marathon but when he contacted me awhile back and told me about the New England focus this year and I was sold! I’m really looking forward to running this year.”

Diona Fulton, Somerville, MA-We were on hand when Diona, 28, was looking to break her 2:54:27 PR at the 2006 Chicago Marathon. She ended up running 2:51:31 and at this June’s Grandma’s Marathon, lowered that to 2:50:32.
Diona also ran at the Chicago “heat disaster” of 2006 and went through the finish line in 3:10:35. Three months later she won the extremely hilly Carlsbad Marathon in 3:07. “I’ve got a thing about finishing marathons,” says Diona. “Carlsbad was almost a training run but it was a very tough course.”
Finishing up a Masters in Education this fall, Diona is logging 100-110 mile weeks with
a stated desire to go sub-2:50 at Hartford. ING Hartford will be Diona’s 11th marathon.

Amy Nedeau-Belchertown, MA-When you think of the former Boston College ace you think 5K/10K. Amy does, after all, hold the women’s course record at the ING Hartford Marathon’s Huck Finn 5K (16:47, 2003) while her husband Erik ‘Ned’ Nedeau-the Amherst College women’s 2007 NCAA D3 XC Championship coach-holds the men’s record at 15:03 set in 2001.
Amy did, however, run her debut (and only) marathon at Hartford in 2006 along with training partner Seana Carmean, who placed fourth in a Trials qualifying 2:45:22. Amy logged in 6th among women in 2:53:34.
Seana missed both the 2004 & 2008 Trails with recurring injuries and no longer races, but she still trains religiously with Amy, 33, a 5th grade school teacher who’s out the door at 5:00 am.
“I’m actually in good, long-distance shape,” asserts Amy. “I’ve been running 100 miles a week during the summer, almost exclusively on the trails with Seana. We’ve seen moose, we’ve seen moose in compromising positions, we saw a bear that luckily was totally disinterested in us. I feel I’ve gotten a lot closer to 2:50 shape.”
Earlier this year Amy showed her strength in setting a new women’s record at the Wachusett Mtn. Race. It’s up in the air who’ll take care of Lucas, the couple’s 2 1/2 year-old son. Perhaps Amy’s mom if Eric goes for the Huck Finn 5K, or just decides to hang out with us in Bushnell Park’s Oktoberfest Beer Garden.

Michael Hall, New Milford, CT-A 2004 graduate of UConn, Michael, 27, is one of the state’s top distance runners and projects a 2:30:00 finish at Hartford. His PR is 2:35:16 from Philadelphia in 2006.
This April he ran 2:37:34 at Boston and placed 10th at the USATF-New England Half Marathon Championship in New Bedford with a time of 1:09:37. Hartford will be just his third foray at 26.2-miles.

Simonetta Piergentili, Wilmington, MA-A native of Italy who’s resided in the US since the age of six, ‘Sim’ is currently ‰âÂèÏon her game’ and has a definite predilection for the longer distances. Although injured for almost two years until recently, Sim has been a fixture at the Boston Marathon and in her last outing in 2006 she placed as fourth female Master overall in 2:52:28.
At the international-caliber Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, ME this August, Sim, 44, was the second female Master in 37:30, behind only race winner Edith Masai of Kenya. Against an international field at Falmouth (which again included Masai) the Whirlaway Racing Team ace placed as fifth Master in 42:47.
Working as a Faculty Asst. at the Harvard Business School, Sim doesn’t want to jinx her health just yet. “I’m hoping for a 2:50 and that’s what I’m training for but let’s just say I’ll be somewhere under three hours.”

Glen Guillemette, Narragansett, RI-At age 48, Glen Guillemette is still winning races, ala this June’s Pack Monadnock 10-Miler. He is a former winner of the Ocean State Marathon, Clarence DeMar Marathon and Bay State Marathon.
At the 2007 USATF New England Championship (Cape Cod), Glen ran 2:33:07 on the rugged course. An amazingly consistent runner for over 28 years, the President of Guill Tool & Engineering gets better as the miles pile up. With a lifetime best of 2:21, Glen is shooting for a 2:33 at Hartford, a time that would have won the Masters division last year by over 7-minutes. Glen’s career encompasses 45 marathons including 15 Bostons (in one of which NER bet on Glen to beat a 40 year-old ballyhooed Runner’s World staffer…and won). Yah!

Dave Oliver, Westborough, MA-A speedy and versatile runner from 5K to the marathon, Dave and Reno Stirrat constantly trade top divisional places on the USATF-NE Grand Prix circuit. With Reno running the half at Hartford, it’s full speed ahead for Dave, 52, the third Senior overall at this April’s Boston Marathon in a time of 2:43:35.
A native of the UK, the Chief Technical Officer and VP of Business Development at Polytec is a veteran of 25 marathons. with a best of 2:40:00, that’s exactly what Dave is shooting for at Hartford.
Joining him at the marathon distance will be his 23 year-old daughter, Amy Oliver. “She’s really excited about it,” says Dave. “She’s run a few half marathons but this will be her first marathon.”

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