Nelson 26th at Johnstown Half

Johnstown, PA

Yesterday morning Wolf Creek Track Club member, Bryce Nelson, competed in the 4th Annual Johnstown Path of the Flood Half Marathon. This was Bryce’s first appearance for the club since helping lead the team to victory in the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon Relay. When asked about his absence, Nelson said “It was good to be back in the WCTC singlet representing the club. I really missed the feeling of racing for a team.”

The Johnstown Path of the Flood Half Marathon is held in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in remembrance of the great Johnstown Flood of 1889. Despite its being based on a historical event, the race itself is quite new, with the inaugural event being held in 2014. There were over 800 runners registered for all three races, with 342 runners competing in the half marathon field. The point-to-point course travels mainly on the scenic Path of the Flood trail, with short portions at the start, and last 5k, traveling through the streets of Johnstown. While the course is a strong net downhill, there are several climbs that can prove challenging to any level runner. Overall the course is very fast with every uphill being soon complimented with a long downhill.

The race started at 8:00 am and the temperature was in the low 50s. When asked about the event itself Bryce said “It was a good event for a newer race with so many people. Everything ran smoothly. It was clear however that they just needed more volunteers to man water stations and direct intersections.” Bryce finished the half marathon in a time of of 1:37:43 – good for 26th place overall in the 342 runner field. He broke it down saying:

“It was a moderate effort. I was there first and foremost to help a friend of mine beat his long-standing goal time of 1:40:00 and second have my first good feeling long run in a while. We started the race conservatively, picking up some strangers who also had similar goals, and we worked our way down to below pace as we hit the more downhill portions of the trail. I really enjoyed the Path of the Flood trail, as it reminded me of my home trail in Saltsburg. There were some surprise uphills in the middle of the course that broke up the monotony and made it challenging. We closed strongly despite the last 5k being kind of poorly marked, and crowded with cars. By the end of the race it was just Kevin and I in our group so that was a confidence booster for Kevin as well. I gotta say my favorite part was running with strangers and talking to them about their training. Bumping into strangers and running with them is an aspect of these kind of races I always hear about but haven’t ever gotten to experience.”

Wolf Creek Track Club is happy to see Bryce back on the results sheets and wishes him luck in his summer training season. Bryce wanted to wish his fellow Wolf Creek Track Club members “Good luck, fast times, and healthy bodies throughout the summer.”

For full race results click here.

WCTC 3rd at Pittsburgh Marathon Relay

Pittsburgh, PA

This morning the Pittsburgh Marathon began at 7:17 am. It was a chilly, damp morning at the start with the temperature in the low 40s. The Wolf Creek Track Club set out to defend their Marathon Relay title from last year.

The team comprised of Sean McDonnell, Brandon Wise, Theo Reynolds, Ryan Budnik, and Moses Greenspan placed 3rd overall in 2:28:45 – an average pace of 5:41 per mile. McDonnell ran the 5.3 mile leg in 29:28 (5:34/mile). Wise finished the 3.8 mile section in 21:20 (5:37/mile). Theo ran the 6.4 mile leg through the hills of Oakland in 35:38 (5:35/mile), while Budnik completed the 6.5 mile leg in 37:57 (5:51/mile). Budnik handed off to the closer, Moses Greenspan, who finished out the last 4.2 miles in 24:24 (5:47/mile). The team set a new Wolf Creek Track Club record for the marathon relay, besting the previous club record of 2:31:22 by 2 minutes and 37 seconds. 

As Moses Greenspan stated, “We went out there. We ran hard. We didn’t get the results we wanted but we gave it our all.”

The winning relay team, out of the 1,045 teams in the field, was Goon Squad finishing in a time of 2:25:27. The 2nd place overall relay, SuperSmashGang, captained by Nick McClure finished with a time of 2:27:05.

The overall male winner of the marathon was Jacob Chemtai with a time of 2:15:25, while the overall female winner was Ayantu Dakebo Hailemaryam in a time of 2:36:20.

Congratulations to all the participants!

Restore the Shore Revamped; Fall 5k Series Advanced

  • Announcing the Wolf Creek Track Club’s 2017 5k Races!

Restore the Shore has been moved to Moraine’s South Shore this year! The course travels along the beautiful Sunken Garden Trail, which winds along Lake Arthur. This is a great beginners trail race. Restore the Shore once again supports the Moraine Preservation Fund, an organization which maintains and improves Moraine State Park.

We’ve moved the first race of the Fall 5k Series, the Premium Outlets 5k, from October to September. Same unique location, same great course, new date! Premium Outlets 5k supports the Simon Youth Foundation, an organization that helps at-risk teens graduate from high school.

NEW RACE ADDED!

New to the Fall 5k Series this year is the Leaves N Lake 5k! Leaves N Lake will be hosted at the incredibly scenic M.K. Goddard State Park in Sandy Lake, PA. The course starts at the marina and travels along the John C. Oliver paved trail, which offers sweeping views of Lake Wilhelm. The race benefits the Grove City YMCA.

The next two races of the Fall 5k Series, the Grateful Gallop and Resolution Run, will remain on their original dates: Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Eve respectively. The Grateful Gallop once again supports the Grove City Community Food Pantry, while the Resolution Run supports LDC, a non-profit, which fosters small business development within the region.

As always, shirts, food, prizes, and medals will be given away at all of our races!

Just like last year, a male and female overall series champion will be crowned. Runners must participate in at least 3 of the 4 races to be eligible to win. Winner will be selected by best average time. Will you be the 2017 Fall 5k Series Champion? Sign up today: Registration for all races is only $15 for a limited time!

 

Resolution Run Recap; Series Champions Crowned

 

The concluding race of the Wolf Creek Track Club’s “Fall 5k Series”, The Resolution Run 5k, took place yesterday morning at the LindenPointe Innovative Business Campus in Hermitage, PA. The race started at 9:00 AM. At the start of the race, the temperature was about 30 degrees. The course was challenging at times due to some ice patches along the route.

Nick Hamilton, 26, from Pittsburgh and representing Steel City Endurance finished first overall out of the thirty-five runner field in a time of 22:20. Steven Nichols, 45, of Grove City was the 2nd male finisher in 22:57. Following Nichols, was Douglas Basinski representing Big Beaver Big Dawgs, 45, of Pittsburgh who completed the course in 24:08. Coming in 4th among male finishers was Luigi Mascio representing Wolf Creek Track Club, 63, of Cranberry Township, in 25:15. Rounding out the top five male finishers was Randy Brown, 59, of Hermitage in 25:48.

The first overall female finisher and second place overall finisher was Karastin Henley, 23, of Vermillion, Ohio with a time of 22:30. The second place female finisher was Rebecca Sperring, 45, of Hermitage in 25:10. Rebecca was followed by Elise Hilton, 13, of New Castle with a time of 26:12. Placing 4th among female finishers was Jennifer Knightstep of East China, MI, in 28:01 and rounding out the top five female finishers was Hannah Wilhiem, 23, of Hartford, OH in 30:16.

As the final race of the Fall 5k Series, which consisted of three 5k races throughout Mercer County, the series champions were crowned Saturday morning. The Overall Men’s Champion was Nick Hamilton. Nick won the Premium Outlets 5k and the Resolution Run 5k, while adding a 4th place finish at the Grateful Gallop 5k. Nick’s average total time of 21:16 bested 2nd place series finisher Luigi Mascio’s average total time of 24:39. The Overall Female Champion was Larissa Cassano who placed 7th, 12th, and 14th respectively among female finishers. Larissa won her age group in two of the three races and the only race she did not win her age group she took 2nd. Cassano’s average total time was 32:37.

Each race of the Fall 5k Series benefited a local charity. The Premium outlets 5k raised money for the Simon Youth Foundation, the Grateful Gallop 5k raised money and non-perishable food items for the Grove City Community Food Pantry, and the Resolution Run 5k raised money LindenPointe Development Corporation 501(C)(3). There were 113 total finishers throughout the series. The club will be hosting the Fall 5k Series again next year and hopes to increase participation! Please help spread the word!

 

For full Resolution Run 5k Results, click here: https://wolfcreektrackclub.com/resolution-run-5k-results/ 

For results of the previous Fall 5k Series races follow the links below:

Grateful Gallop 5k (Fall 5k Series #2)

Premium Outlets 5k (Fall 5k Series #1)

The Wolf Creek Track Club would like to thank all the participants, volunteers, sponsors, the City of Hermitage and LindenPointe for making this event possible. The club would also like to thank the platinum event sponsors Grove City College, Wise Physical Therapy, and Marco’s Pizza. 

 

Please stay tuned for the club’s upcoming events including group runs, youth practices, and races. Stay up to date with all club happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

 

As always feedback and testimonials are welcomed!

 

WCTC Wins Three Rivers Association Title, Qualifies for Nationals

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The Wolf Creek Track Club (WCTC) participated in the USATF Three Rivers Association Cross Country Championship this afternoon at Coopers Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, PA. The club competed in the Open Championship. The 5k race started around 1:00 PM. At the start of the race, it was about 50 degrees and sunny.

Ryan Budnik claimed the Three Rivers Association individual title. Budnik was followed by Andrew Mascio who placed 2nd overall. Mascio was closely followed by Brandon Wise who took 3rd overall. Simon DeAngelo placed 4th overall. Ben English rounded out the Wolf Creek Track Club’s scoring five. With the victory, the Wolf Creek Track Club qualified for the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships which will be held on Saturday, December 10th at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida.

USATF Club Nationals

Top 15 Places to Run in Western PA

Where are the best places to run in Western PA? Club directors Andrew Mascio and Brandon Wise rank their top 15 favorite places to run. 

Andrew Mascio says: 

1. Ohiopyle State Park (Ohiopyle, PA): This place has it all from the flat Great Allegheny Passage to the hilly, scenic Baughman Trail. Diverse terrain and seemingly endless running options makes Ohiopyle the #1 spot to run in Western PA. Greatallghenypassage

2. Maurice K. Goddard State Park (Sandy Lake, PA): Looking for a dirt road, a paved lake loop, or some trails to run? You can find all 3 at the beautiful MK Goddard State Park. 

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3. Sandy Creek Trail (Franklin, PA): Flat, fast surface and sweeping views. And the Belmar Bridge. Enough said. 

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4. Moraine State Park (Portersville, PA): North Country Trail, 7.5 mile bike path, the scenic Sunken Garden Trail, a lake and multiple beaches. Let’s move on.

5. McConnells Mill State Park (Portersville, PA): Nice shaded paths through the woods with unique boulders lining them. Sounds pretty great doesn’t it? This running video was filmed at the park: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zJrjkN7cXU 

6. Saltsburg Trail (Saltsburg, PA): Quick, gravel surface. Scenic views at the Conemaugh Dam.  

7. State Game Lands 284 (Mercer, PA): Only for running on Sundays during hunting season. Beautiful grass trail that provides a soft surface. Great views of nature. 4 miles one way. 

8. Sandy Lake Rail Trail (State Game Lands 130) (Sandy Lake, PA): Hidden gem in Sandy Lake. Dirt/grass surface 7 miles one way. 

9. Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA): Flat, fast, nice views of lake Erie. 

10. Ernst Trail (Meadville, PA): Flat paved path in Meadville that travels through the woods, past railroad tracks, open cornfields, and more. Fantastic views. 

11. North Park (Allison Park, PA): A hotbed of running in Western PA. Packed with runners all the time. Has trails in woods plus the 5 mile classic lake loop. Ranked lower on the list because it can sometimes become boring. 

12. Cook Forest State Park (Cooksburg, PA): Trails through the historic forest or a flat road that travels along the river. 

13. Memorial Park (Grove City, PA): A surprising park in the small town of Grove City. Used to be a mine which has led to some unique terrain in the park. The trails in the woods are fun to run with the interesting mounds left behind from the mines. Lower on the list because there is not a lot of running real estate. 

14. White’s Woods Park (Indiana, PA): Beautiful, well-maintained trails with sweeping views of downtown Indiana. 

15. Montour Trail (Coraopolis, PA): Flat, quick surface good for a tempo run. Not as scenic as some of the other trails on the list.

Brandon Wise says: 

  1. Ohiopyle State Park
  2. Maurice K. Goddard State Park
  3. Oil Creek State Park (Oil City, PA)
  4. Moraine State Park
  5. McConnells Mill State Park
  6. Memorial Park
  7. Sandy Creek Trail
  8. Sandy Lake Rail Trail 
  9. State Game Lands 284
  10. Samuel Justus Trail (Franklin, PA)
  11. Saltsburg Trail
  12. Cook Forest State Park
  13. North Park
  14. Presque Isle State Park
  15. Brady’s Run County Park (Beaver Falls, PA)

We hope you get the opportunity to run at all these great parks and trails. 

Don’t agree? Feel free to leave your own rankings in the comments section. 

Premium Outlets 5k Recap

po5k

The first race of the Wolf Creek Track Club’s “Fall 5k Series”, The Premium Outlets 5k, took place this morning at the Grove City Premium Outlets. The race started at 8:05 AM. It was 40 degrees with wind gusts of up to 10 MPH and a slight drizzle at times during the race. 

Nick Hamilton, 26, from Pittsburgh and representing Steel City Endurance finished first overall in a time of 21:04.8. Michael Renga, 21, of Red Lion, PA finished 2nd in 21:55.6. Chad Hendrickson, 43, finished 3rd overall in 22:24.6. The fourth male finisher was LeRoy Clark, 48, in 22:27.2 and rounding out the top five male finishers was Harry Linowski, 21, of Glenside, PA (23:48.7). 

The first overall female finisher was Amanda MacIsaac, 36, of Grove City, PA in a time of 22:26.5. Amanda was followed by Jennifer Schehl, 36, of New Wilmington, PA (24:57.3). The 3rd overall female finisher was Melody Childs, 27, of Grove City, PA in a time of 25:55.7. Fourth overall was Janet Clark, 48, in 27:54.2 and rounding out the top five female finishers was Rachel Singer, 29, of Grove City, PA (28:51.9). 

The Wolf Creek Track Club would like to thank all the participants, volunteers, sponsors, and the Simon Property Group for making this event possible. The track club’s next event the “Grateful Gallop 5k” is being held on Thanksgiving Day at Greenwood Drive in Grove City, PA. 

For full results of the Premium Outlets 5k click here: https://wolfcreektrackclub.com/premium-outlets-5k-results-overall/

Let’s Make a Difference This Fall

“We want to grow the sport of running and give back to our region.”running2

Help us achieve this mission by participating in the Fall 5k Series. Let’s show everyone what a great community Western Pennsylvania is for running. Let’s come together for good. Let’s support three great causes in the Simon Youth Foundation, Grove City Community Food Pantry, and the Lindenpointe Development Corporation.

Simon Youth Foundation 

The first race of the Fall 5k Series, the Grove City Premium Outlets 5k, supports the Simon Youth Foundation. The Simon Youth Foundation helps at-risk teens graduate from high school. The foundation creates and initiates educational opportunities for students. SYF has maintained a 90% graduation rate at its Academies since inception, graduated more than 14,000 students, and awarded nearly $16 million in scholarships. 

Primarily located in Simon Malls, Simon Youth Academies offer flexible schedules and small class sizes that make learning accessible to students who struggle to connect with material in a traditional classroom or school because of homelessness, bullying, serious illness, parenthood, supporting their families, or facing other challenging personal circumstances. Each year, the foundation awards scholarships to high school students in every community that is home to a Simon Mall. The foundation targets first generation college students and those with demonstrated financial need in order to extend educational opportunities to all students who want to learn, regardless of their circumstances. The Simon Youth Foundation provides these opportunities, ignites hope and serves as a starting point for students’ journeys toward lifetime success and achievement.

Grove City Community Food Pantry

The Grove City Community Food Pantry, founded in 1980, provides food and other basic necessities to underprivileged individuals and families residing in the Grove City School District. Participants in the Grateful Gallop 5k, on Thanksgiving day, are encouraged to donate canned foods, cereal, toiletries, and cleaning supplies to the food pantry. There will be a collection box for these items on race day.   

Lindenpointe Development Corporation (LDC)

The concluding race of the Fall 5k Series, the Resolution Run 5k, supports the Lindenpointe Development Corporation. The Lindenpointe Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that supports local small business development. As a small business incubator, the LDC serves the PA/Ohio interstate region by providing education, training, mentorship, and other services to help local small businesses survive the early stages of development and lead them to future growth. 

Making A Difference 

This fall we can make a profound difference within our community. We can take the positivity of running and apply it to all aspects of life. We can bring new people to love the sport of running as much as we do. We can encourage a healthy lifestyle, a positive environment, and a competitive spirit. But we need your help to make this happen.

SIGN UP NOW

3 Tips to Improve Your Running Form

runner

Making improvements to your running form is one of the simplest ways to become a faster runner. Here are 3 pointers to improve your form:

1.  Run with a slight forward lean of about ten degrees. Running with a forward lean, rather than running totally upright, will help you increase your stride turnover. A forward lean can also help runners avoid heel striking. Furthermore, a forward lean provides even more momentum on downhill stretches.

2.  Keep your arms relaxed. Make sure to keep your arms close to your body and swing them straight forward and back. Many runners tend to swing their arms out sideways, which reduces efficiency. Another common issue that decreases efficiency is tensing up the arms since it results in extra strain on the body. Essentially, the goal is to avoid all side-to-side body movements in order to keep your body moving forward with maximum efficiency. A free-weight exercise you can do to improve arm strength, speed, and efficiency is dumbbell arm swings

3.  Strengthen your core, hips, and gluteus medius. Strengthening these muscle groups, will help to correct any natural body imbalances you may have. Correcting body imbalances will lead to a smoother, more efficient stride while also decreasing the risk of injury. A strong core will keep your body upright and improve your breathing. Strong hips and glute med muscles will help you avoid the “egg beater” (kicking legs out side to side) and will give you the strength to continue moving in an efficient forward motion. To strengthen your hips/glute med, you can do the Myrtl Routine.

Questions/Criticisms? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you. 

The Basics of Distance Running Will Help Make You Great

Author: Andrew Mascio, USATF Registered Coach MoraineX5

Distance Running can be a very complex sport at times with hundreds of different training methods and philosophies. Many successful coaches have somewhat conflicting strategies, so it’s sometimes hard to know as a runner who to listen to and what to follow. But even though there are disagreements and debates about the best training methods, there are some basic fundamentals of distance running that if every runner does, they will improve. 

The Fundamentals of Distance Running: 

1. Stay Healthy:

I know you’re probably thinking well that’s obvious because if you’re not healthy then you can’t improve. But even though this is an obvious fact to improving, not only in distance running but in every sport, many runners often neglect or skip the simple things they can be doing to prevent an injury.

Stretching after every run, even on an easy day, is very important to helping prevent injuries and also improving your flexibility and stride length. After an easy day, I recommend stretching for at least 5 minutes and on a hard day at least 10 minutes.

Listen to your body – in workouts don’t force the pace. If your legs are feeling tired, you can still run the workout at the same effort as a previous workout, but it may not be as fast. Keeping the effort the same is important, but keeping the pace the same isn’t.

About a year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to Skype the American record holder in the marathon, Ryan Hall, and one of the pieces of advice he gave me that has stuck with me since is that it’s better to take workouts easier than harder. He said that when he was a freshman at Stanford, he would always run with the top group, but he ended up not having that great of a season by his standards. So his sophomore year, he decided to run workouts with the second group and this resulted in him having a much better season. 

Another way to help prevent injuries is weight training. Doing core each day to improve abdominal strength is critical to building a strong running body and to improving form. Additionally, lifting will help strengthen your body. Having strong muscles will help ensure a consistent, smooth running form, which will lessen the chance of injury. As Reed Ferber, Ph.D., director of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary states in a 2013 Runner’s World article, “If muscles are weak, one footfall will not be like the rest. How your knee turns, your hip drops, your foot pronates changes with each step. But with strength, these movements are the same each time, so your mind and body know what to expect.”

Lifting and core are not the only ways to improve strength and running form. Body weight exercises that target the legs, hips, and gluteus medius are also critical to strengthening your body. Some of these exercises include: Fire Hydrants, Donkey Kicks, Lunges, Clamshells, Lateral Leg Raises, and more. 

2. Proper Nutrition: 

Another obvious yet often ignored key to becoming a better runner is nutrition. Proper nutrition doesn’t just mean proper nutrition the week of a race – it means proper nutrition the entire season. Get in a habit of eating properly so that it becomes a pattern of excellence throughout your season. It can be hard to resist sometimes but just avoiding dessert after dinner can make a big difference. Try to obtain your calories from more “productive” foods for runners than sweets. To see some of food recommendations for distance runners you can access our Wolf Creek Track Club nutritional suggestions here: WCTC Nutritional Guide

3. Keep it Fun: 

Often the stress and pressure of competitive racing can get to some runners. An easy way to avoid this is to never lose sight of the fact that running is fun. There is a reason you choose the sport of running and that is because you like running. After hard workouts and races, hang out with your teammates later that evening. In a 2011 Outside.com article, University of Houston Head Cross Country Coach, Steve Magness, states, “Hanging out with friends is one of the most effective recovery protocols there is.” Magness goes on to state, “Going from a high-stress workout to a desensitized period of just joking around together decreases tension way faster than anything else we’ve tried.”At practice, make sure to mix things up – maybe have some themed days or play a game like dodgeball or something before an easy day.

If you get tired of running the same old routes, switch things up by going somewhere unique to run like a state park or rail trail. Another way to avoid the stress and pressure of racing, is to remember on race day that all the work for that race has already been put in and there’s nothing that you can really do that day to change the time you’re going to run. There’s no need to be uptight before races, there’s no need for fiery, pump-up speeches from coaches. All you need to do is believe in yourself and training, stay loose and keep the mood lighthearted before the race.

At the Rio Olympics, champions like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah were incredibly loose before their races. They were having fun with the crowd, which I believe helped their performance to a degree because they kept loose and confident instead of worrying and stressing out about the race. 

4. The Long Run: 

Personally, I believe the long run is often overlooked in its importance to becoming a better distance runner. Many coaches put a lot of emphasis on VO2 max days as being the most important training days. Don’t get me wrong VO2 max workouts are critical to improving as a runner, but I also believe the long run is just as important as a workout. A long run builds confidence. A long run improves endurance. A long run challenges the body and mind in a way repeat workouts cannot.

Long Runs should be about 25% of your weekly mileage or minutes. When doing a long run, don’t just run the same pace as an easy day, but try to be slightly faster than your typical pace. Let’s say you consistently run 7:00-7:30 pace on an easy day, then your long run should be at about 6:20-6:50 pace. After a long run, you should not feel as tired as a VO2 max day or a race, but you should definitely feel more fatigued than a regular run.

Mark Wetmore, the legendary Head Cross Country Coach at the University of Colorado, has been a firm believer in the importance of the long run for decades. In a 2014 FloTrack article, Wetmore asserts “there is no more important workout than the long run.” Under Wetmore, the Colorado cross country program has won 7 national titles between the men’s and women’s teams.

Personally, the long run has made a huge difference in my training. Four years ago, I would only be able to do a 15 mile long run at about 7:20 pace, but now, exerting the same effort, I can do a 15 mile long run at roughly 6:20 pace. That builds confidence. Over the years, the long runs I’ve done have helped me build a strong base, which has enabled me to get to this point. Make your long runs count. 

As a distance runner, you need to be diligent and intentional about all four of these things. If you do a good job at all four of these of things, you will be on your way to becoming a great distance runner.

Have fun training! I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”