Although NE Distance had fielded a full men’s team in the Championship 8k race at the Boston Mayor’s Cup in both 2015 and 2016 (and came away with the team title both times, might we add) this year marked the first time that the organization also had a full women’s team competing in the Championship 5k race. However, with a few Elite Team members unable to race due to minor injuries or weekend travel plans, this special achievement would not have been possible without help from virtually every facet of the NE Distance community! On the men’s side, Elite Team members Henry Sterling, John Schilkowsky, and Brian Crimmins were joined by NE Distance alum, Steve Mangan, NE Distance middle school coach and professional triathlete, Derek Jakoboski, and community run club member, Zachary Burkett. For the ladies, Elite Team members Obsie Birru, Katie Spratford, and Paige Ethier were joined by local masters stud and NEDi supporter, Annmarie Gower, and community run club assistant coach, Kim Chula-Maguire.

With many New England clubs, and a few clubs from outside our region, toeing the line on Sunday, the team competition was pretty tough. The men’s team competition was particularly stiff as two of the region’s newest but most competitive men’s teams brought their full squads: the Ocean State Athletic Club and the Tracksmith Hare Athletic Club, which took 1st and 2nd overall, respectively. Although the majority of the NEDi Men’s Team members hadn’t competed in well over a month, they fought hard throughout the race to ultimately finish in 6th place overall in the team competition with 125 points, beating New England rival, Greater Boston Track Club, in the process. In the women’s team competition, the NEDi lady squad finished with 73 points – just two points behind the GBTC team – to take 4th place overall. The women’s team competition was won by the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, a team which flew in all the way from Michigan and included 2012 and 2016 Olympian Desi Linden!

In the individual race, competition was even fiercer. Not only had many of New England’s top athletes come to run, but so too had a slew of elite athletes from all around the country. With such great depth of talent up front, both races went out pretty quickly – the men’s leaders were 4:40 at the mile while the women’s leaders were 5:12 – but the NE Distance athletes did not shy away from the challenge. Despite feeling the inevitable rustiness that comes from not having raced on the grass in almost a year, they put themselves in it early on, and hung tough all the way through to the finish. On the men’s side, veteran Henry Sterling led the team by finishing in an impressive 11th place while the ladies were led by a pair of strong performances from Obsie Birru and Katie Spratford, who finished 10th and 15th respectively.

Men’s Team Results
Henry Sterling – 11th 24:46
Steve Mangan – 42nd 26:24
Derek Jakoboski – 45th 26:34
John Schilkowsky – 51st 26:57
Brian Crimmins – 61st – 27:17
Zachary Burkett – 95th 31:41

Women’s Team Results
Obsie Birru – 10th 17:06
Katie Spratford – 15th 17:28
Annmarie Gower – 37th 19:12
Paige Ethier – 38th 19:15
Kim Chula-Maguire – 58th 23:00

Full men’s results can be found here, while full women’s results can be found here.

We caught up with each of the Elite Team members after the race to get their thoughts on the race itself and how it plays into the season as a whole. We also had special guest appearances from two NE Distance alums: Steven Mangan, who jumped into the race last minute and wound up as the Team’s 2nd man, and Ryan Widzgowski, who came to cheer on his old teammates! (*Note: there is unfortunately no interview of John Schilkowsky as a certain photographer/videographer/interviewer forgot to press record during his interview *)

NE Distance Kicks Off the XC Season at the Boston Mayor’s Cup