New Hampshire is a small state but when it comes to running “there’s nothing else like it,” said New Hampshire running guru Andy Schachat. As race announcer for Announcers on the Run, Schachat’s finish line presence at numerous races (92 by the end of the year) gives him a unique perspective. I spoke with him about 2018 top performances.
New Hampshire was host to two National Championships, the USATF Mountain Running Championships at the Loon Mountain Race in Lincoln on July 8 and the USATF 50K Trail Championships at Ragged Mountain on Aug. 12. “It was a highlight for New Hampshire and an extraordinary compliment to the race organizers,” said Schachat noting Paul Kirsch and Chris J. Dunn (Loon Mountain) and Tom Hooper (Ragged 50K).
The sheer volume of races in the state is notable, “every weekend you can drive no more than 30 minutes and find a race,” said Schachat. “The state is small but we are united as a running community maybe because we are small,” he added. Runners tend to get to know their competition well.
Derrick Hamel, 35, of Newmarket had an outstanding year and again won the Seacoast Road Race Series. Hamel won the Maine Coast Marathon in Kennebunk, Maine on May 13 in 2:28:17, set a new course record at the SIX03 Summerfest 10K in Dover on July 28 (33:14), and finished 7th at the USATF 50K at Ragged Mountain on Aug. 12 in 4:57:04. He was 30th at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4 in 2:25:43, the second-place male finisher from New England.
Neal Darmody, 28, of Bow made his mark this year including placing third in the men’s division of the USATF-NE Grand Prix and wins at competitive races such as Runner’s Alley/Redhook 5K in Portsmouth on May 27 in 15:05, the Market Square 10K in Portsmouth on June 9 in 31:44 and the Bill Luti 5-Miler in Concord on July 21 in 25:07. He won the Great Bay 5K in Greenland on Oct. 27 in 15:05.
On the women’s side, Corey Dowe, 25, of Barrington continued her strong post-collegiate running. Second in the USATF-NE Mountain Running Series, she won the Runner’s Alley/Redhook 5K in 17:09 and the Great Bay 5K in 16:46 along with numerous top five finishes including third at Saunders 10K in Rye on Aug. 16 in 39:08 and second at the St. Charles Children’s Home 5K on Sept. 3 in 18:56.
Kelly Goodwin and Addie Fuller tied for the Seacoast Road Race Series win. Goodwin, 26, of Dover had a number of top three finishes and age group wins including third at the Children’s Museum 5K in Dover on May 5 in 21:08, second at the Cochecho Half Marathon in Dover on Sept. 1 in 1:32:18. Fuller of Eliot, Maine at age 13 is an up-and-coming runner; she won the Tails to Trails 5K in Dover on April 29 in 23:07 and frequently won her age group including at Runner’s Alley/Redhook 5K in 20:14.
“One of the most memorable races that we’ll talk about for many years” was this year’s Boston Marathon on April 16 said Schachat. Although brutal rain, wind and cold slowed much of the field, Rhyan Raddack, 31, of Portsmouth overcame the conditions and finished in 3:16:09, one of the top local finishers. “It was a remarkable performance, she greatly exceeded expectations and stood out,” said Schachat.
Other top local women at the Boston Marathon were Amy Bernard, 40, of Hampstead (3:06:17), Ashley Busa, 33, of Portsmouth (3:15:05) and Lauren Finelli, 41, Portsmouth (3:16:42). The top New Hampshire woman was Isabella Caruso, 22, of Hanover who finished in 2:56:18. On the men’s side, Samuel Fazioli, 26, of Salem was the top New Hampshire finisher in 2:38:33, “a nice moment for a well-deserving runner,” said Schachat. Aliaksandr Leuchanka, 26, of Lee was the top local finisher in 2:39:12 followed closely by John Corona, 25, of Portsmouth (2:39:16) and Wesley Dinnan, 30, of Dover in 2:43:11.
Masters runner Casey Carroll shows no sign of slowing down. Carroll, 47, of Dover, won the New Hampshire Marathon in Bristol (fourth win in six years) on Sept. 29 in 2:49:45 and consistently finishes in the top five of races. “There is no stopping him,” said Schachat who was thrilled to announce his second place finish at the CambridgeSide 10K Classic in Cambridge, Mass. on Nov. 18 (34:06.)
Bernard is new to Masters running and is off to a strong start, winning her age group in the USATF-NE Grand Prix. She had many top age group performances in races throughout New England and won the Epsom Old Home Day 4-Mile Road Race in 26:12.
Dover Race Series winners were Christopher Dunn, 23, of Kennebunk, Maine who “in terms of quality and quantity is as good as anyone in the Seacoast,” said Schachat, and on the women’s side, Abby Cirinna, 38, of Dover.
Sarah Canney, 36, of Farmington placed third at the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships 10K in Woodford, Vermont on March 10, earning a spot on the U.S. National Team. Canney had many strong races this year including a top 25 finish at the Mount Washington Road Race (1:31:56). “It is a tremendous tribute to the incredible hard work she has put in for years,” said Schachat.
Oyster River High School grad Veronica Jackson qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon with a 2:41:48 at the California International Marathon on Dec. 2 in Sacramento, California.
Other runners of note include Zachary Switaj of Dover, Vojta Ripa of Rochester, Brandon Newbould of Nottingham, Kassandra Marin of Merrimack, Judi Lemaire of Wolfeboro, Geri Clifford of Rye, Taryn Litterbrant of Dover, Jasmin Lepir of Dover, Aidan Cox of Northwood, Tyler Sheedy of Dover and Haley Kavanagh of Durham.
On Dec. 15, the Ugly Sweater 4-Miler in Manchester; on Dec. 16, the Jingle Bell 5K in Concord.
Nancy Eckerson writes about running for Seacoast Sunday. You can reach her at email@example.com