The Little Things . . . a Going the Distance newsletter March 2016 || issue #41 Share on Facebook Spring Session Coming, plus XC and All-Sports S


The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

March 2016 || issue #41
Share on Facebook

Spring Session Coming, plus XC and All-Sports

Sharon Yu -- Soul of a Runner


Winter Wanes, Spring Arrives

For runners, this was a stunningly mild winter. Not much snow or ice, some cold days, but not many and not very cold. How many days did you miss running outside because of the weather?

And on Saturday night, March 12, the clocks move ahead and we gain an hour of daylight in the evening. No more running in the dark unless you're doing those long, marathon training runs at 5am (which is a great time to do them, seriously!).

Spring Signup

Signup is available for the GTD Spring program. First onsite session is Tuesday, April 19. This is one day after a local marathon, so if you're running 26.2 on Monday the 18th, come to the track to tell us how it went.

Here are some links --
Spring Program Details
Spring Program Regisgration


XC -- North Shore and Merrimack Valley

Registration is open for the GTD XC program.

In addition to the North Shore location in Peabody, we now offer a 2nd location in Tewksbury, providing easy access for xc runners in the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

North Shore Details
North Shore Registration

Merrimack Valley Details
Merrimack Valley Registration


All-Sports -- North Shore and Merrimack Valley

Registration is open for the GTD All-Sports Speed & Conditioning program.

The program in the Merrimack Valley (Andover location) is 10 Monday evenings, beginning June 6.

The program in the North Shore (Peabody location) is 3 mornings per week for 5 weeks. It begins on July 11, with a 2-week prep program that starts on June 27.

North Shore Details
North Shore Registration

Merrimack Valley Details
Merrimack Valley Registration


Sharon Yu -- Soul of a Runner

[We all think we're runners. We're tough. We know what we're doing. We've seen it all. Really?
How deep do we go? Do we have the soul of a runner?
Do we know how to model our story after a Hockomock Swamp Rat Dossier?]

NAME: Sharon Yu
HOMETOWN: Haverhill
AGE: 63
RUNNING CLUBS: Andover Striders, Winners Circle Running Club, Goon Squad Runners
OCCUPATION: Registered nurse working in short term rehab
PR'S: 5K- 21:34, 5 MI- 34:47, 10K- 44:40, 10 MI- 1:15:22, 13.1 MI - 1:40:34, 26.2 - 3:37:24
FAVORITE RACES: Vietnam Memorial 4 miles
Bobby Bell 5 miles
Yankee Homecoming 10 miler
Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K
Around Cape Ann 25K
WORST RACE: Ocean State Marathon 1997, my 13th marathon. The weather was awful, a wedding party in the hotel room next to mine kept me awake most of the night before the race and I felt like I had the flu during the race.
BEST RACE: The old Cherry Pie Classic 5 miler, where Ann Kucharski, Heidi McGaffigan and I raced each other the whole way and finished within 10 seconds of each other. Also, the 100th Boston Marathon.
LOCAL RUNNING HERO: There are quite a few local runners I look up to, but my favorite has always been Barbara Robinson. We met after the Cape Ann race when I was in my 30's and she was in her 50's and we kept passing each other the whole way until she beat me by passing me on the last short hill at the end. I thought I could catch the "old lady" but she was fast!
BEST AND WORST THINGS ABOUT DISTANCE RUNNING: The worst is not being able to run, whether it's due to injury, illness or a too-busy work schedule. The best is running on a beautiful or stormy day, alone or with a group, on hills, at the beach, on a trail or in a race.


My first road race, October 1980. A 5 miler that started at the Sanborn School in Andover.

I started running in 1976 after watching Boston from the corner of Hereford and Boylston. I thought it was the most exciting event and that it would be "fun" to run it someday. It took awhile but in 1991 I ran Boston for the first time, as a bandit. By total accident I ended up in the first corral, behind the elite runners. It was my second marathon and I ran 27 minutes faster than I did at Cape Cod the previous October.

I went to a very small high school and graduated in 1971. There were no sports for girls at my high school and Title IX was not in effect then. Girls could be cheerleaders and that was about it. Now there are so many different sports girls can participate in and they can go to a gym for strength training. Girls never went to gyms when I was in high school. Most of the road races were dominated by males when I ran my first race in 1980, but now some races have more females than males in the field. I read that 57 % of the 18-34 age group at Boston this year is female. It's probably hard for girls now to imagine a time when they wouldn't be allowed to do something simply because they're girls, but it was true for a long time. My youngest granddaughter was watching a video clip with me of the 1967 Boston Marathon when Kathrine Switzer ran and there was a dog running in part of the video and she said, "but they let dogs run." In the mid 80's there was a running club in the Merrimack Valley called "Fast Women" and I think my old training partner Sue Cronin still has the t-shirt that says Fast Women.
There were no running clothes designed specifically for women in the 70's, no jog bras and few running shoes to choose from. Thankfully, that has changed!


With my favorite trophy, one of Tony Sapienza's that I received when I won my age group at the Sapeinza 5 miler.

I've been involved with several running clubs through the years in a variety of positions, from secretary to president to just a casual participant in club activities. For the most part it was always fun. It's a great way to meet other runners, promote the sport and get involved with helping to put on a road race or compete in the Grand Prix.

Boston Marathon

Michele and me after last year's Boston.

I was lucky enough to meet Fernando through joining a club and receive coaching that helped improve my running immensely. There was always a group long run for marathon training, and carpooling to various races. Those were fun times. Unfortunately I've seen good people hurt by people in running clubs who took their position in the club a bit too seriously. Fortunately, there are many good clubs out there. I was involved with the Mill City Alliance, the group that plans the Mill City Relay, for many years, and got to meet runners from many different clubs whose main focus was to plan a fun, competitive event for the local running community, not just their own club.


Eric and me after a race we ran on Mother's Day.

I think everyone who runs should volunteer at a race. It gives a totally different perspective of road racing and an appreciation of the work that goes into planning a race. Working registration, handing out t-shirts or standing out on the course at a water table will make you like those volunteers a little more when you run by them in your next race. It is hard work to put on a road race. No one does it alone, but the race director is usually the person to take the heat for anything someone isn't happy with, including the weather! I was a race director for 7 years for the Toys For Tots race in Merrimac, MA and was very fortunate to have the Winners Circle's help on race day. But getting sponsors, contacting the police, deciding on t-shirt designs and sizes, obtaining raffle prizes is very time-consuming. The first year I directed the race, there was a snowstorm overnight into the next morning. The race started at 1pm, so I was hoping the weather would improve by then. But all morning I was getting calls from runners asking if the race was still on. I hadn't been told by the police that we couldn't run so I was telling everyone yes. Then the phone rang and it was the Merrimac Police Department and my heart sank. But the officer only asked the same question, was the race still on. It was and the snow stopped and everything worked out for the best. An experience like that shows the other side of running, not just the racing part.


With Barbara Robinson in 2009 at the Run For All Ages in Wakefield.

I've had some great times over the years, running with friends I would never have got to meet if it hadn't been for running. I was fortunate to be able to travel to Ireland and run Dublin with my Irish friends. I got to run all around Paris. And I have some wonderful memories of long runs with people who no longer do them but are still with me when I do. One of the best things about running is that it is the great equalizer. You can be running with the town manager, a lawyer, a physician and 2 Ph.D's (as I do Saturday mornings) but at that time, you're all just runners.

Previous Issues of The Little Things

Please go to this link for previous issues of The Little Things.


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