Quick Takes from Mr. Dooley’s on Upton 15K/USATF-NE, Cohasset 10K

Photo: The lead pack at Upton through a 4:58 mile – Western Mass runners Ben Groleau and Dennis Roche (rear), CT’s John Busque and the BAA’s Jonas Hampton and Eric Ashe. All photos by MickFoto/NERunner.

Quick Takes from Mr. Dooley’s on Upton 15K, Cohasset 10K


The weather on Sunday, March 31 was overcast and breezy, but warm enough to open the patio at Mr. Dooley’s Irish Pub right across from where the awards for the Cohasset 10K were conducted.


We’d been in Upton the day before for the USATF-NE 15K GP Championship, and so had Central Mass Strider Dan Vassallo, first across the line here in 32:44. “This race has a lot of history for me, I knew the previous race director very well so I always try and make it back,” said Vassallo, who had placed 7th at Upton the day before in 49:05 and 8th in 1:08:16 two weeks ago at New Bedford.

Dan Vassallo.

When this is pointed out, Dan allows that he has been beating himself up a bit, and after his second Olympic Trials Marathon appearance in Atlanta 2020 he believes he’ll retire from competitive running…at the tender age of 34. Say it ain’t so.


Dan’s most recent Trials qualifier arrived last Dec. 2 courtesy of a 2:17:27 performance at Cal Int’l. The talk turns to the IAAF’s recent decision to lower the Olympic standard for the men’s marathon from 2:19-flat to 2:11:30.


This certainly seems an unjust turn of affairs, and one that robs the US Olympic Marathon Trials of one of its greatest storylines…that dark horse who emerges to place among the top-3 on the day of the Trials to cement an Olympic berth.


This development certainly has taken a bit of wind out of the sails of the BAA’s Jonas Hampton, 2nd at Upton in 47:15 to former training partner John Busque (47:10).


Hampton ran 2:15:58 to win Hartford in his marathon debut in 2015. In 2018 he ran 2:14:19 at Chicago and that’s close enough to dream of the perfect race in Atlanta. Hampton’s PR is slightly better than the 2:14:47 best of Peter De La Cerda. Who?


Exactly. In 2000, NER was in Pittsburgh for the men’s Olympic Trials Marathon. The day dawned already in the high 60s with rising humidity. The sun came out and it got worse. Couple that with a very hilly course and the fact that the IAAF had recently announced a lowering of the men’s Olympic standard to 2:14:00.


Despite the heat and the hills, former D2 runner Peter De La Cerda (CO) pushed the pace to try a run a huge PR and attain a 2:14 clocking. It wasn’t possible but De La Cerda didn’t blow up.


Rod DeHaven would win in 2:15:30 followed by De La Cerda in 2:16:18 and Mark Coogan in 2:17:04. Because DeHaven only had the ‘B’ standard he was the lone US rep at the 2000 Olympic Marathon.


So here we are again. Atlanta’s course wasn’t designed to be a speed burner. Former U. of Hartford teammates Busque and Hampton are both looking at near-term marathons, Hampton at Boston and Busque is on the elite waiting list at Grandma’s. Hampton wasn’t going to run a fall marathon but with the IAAF’s ruling, he now very well may.

Upton 15K women’s winner Rachel Coogan, BAA superstar Karolyn Bowley and Whirlaway’s Paul Hammond atop the Tom Hurley Pleasure Chest.


Fast out of the Gate: The BAA’s Eric Ashe was injured after Cal Int’l but now has run two solid races for 3rd at both New Bedford in 1:07:07 and Upton in 47:17 (2-seconds behind Hampton).


The BAA’s Rachel Coogan, 28, ran a 3-minute PR of 1:17:41 for 6th at New Bedford and then bested the women’s field in 55:08 (5:55 pace) at Upton. Runner-up Jaclyn Solomine, 24, of Whirlaway is another runner on the rise, clocking 56:01 in Upton and 1:19:50 at New Bedford.


The next two age-group Superstars: Third woman in Upton in 56:54, the Green Mtn. AA’s Kasie Enman is 39, on the verge of the Big 4-0 after a terrific Open career that included winning the 2011 World Mtn. Running Championship. Kasie has again qualified for the Trials and will be in Atlanta.


Fourth placer at Upton, Karolyn Bowley of the BAA, may be in Ed Whitlock territory. Karolyn ran in high school but later took an extended time off to raise four children. Now she’s back, has joined a club and is being coached by Bob Rothenberg (former coach at Brown). She ran a 3-minute PR of 1:21:30 as top W40 at New Bedford and ran 6:08 pace for 4th at Upton in 57:04…and she’s 49.

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