NOVA Running Club 2015 Men’s MVP: Greg Swiatocha
Greg was NOVA’s undisputed number one runner in 2015, and he set a new standard of excellence for our men’s team. Greg had numerous strong performances throughout the year at a variety of distances. The highlight of 2015 was at the Army Ten Mile, where he ran a big PR of 55:51, which is arguably the best race of his career. I was really happy to see Greg run so well at Army, as he worked very hard, mostly solo, throughout the year, and his PR was well-earned. Greg showed excellent range at a variety of distances, running fast at 5k (16:25 at Clarendon Day), 5 miles (28:19 at Alexandria Turkey Trot), 10k (34:17 at St Patrick’s Day), and the half marathon (1:14:45 at DC Rock N Roll). Beyond just race stats, Greg also assumed a leadership role at NOVA befitting his top-runner status, doing great work as Membership Coordinator, leading the development of a strong (and growing stronger) men’s team, and generally spreading the good work about NOVA in the community. With Greg as the lynchpin of the men’s team, NOVA will be able to attract many more talented
athletes to keep him company at the front of the pack.
NOVA Running Club 2015 Women’s MVP: Stephanie Lundeby
Stephanie proved in 2015 that she is not one to back down from a challenge, no matter how daunting, and that no setback will deter her from accomplishing her goals. The goal in the spring was to run sub 3:10 in Boston, and Steph proved she was fit to meet her goal by running 1:26:57 at the DC RNR half. Shortly before the big day in Boston, however, Steph got sick. To say the race did not go well as a result of her not being 100% is a grave understatement, as Steph spent an hour in the medical tent around mile 18, and slogged home in over 5 hours. Upon hearing this tale of woe, my expectation was that Steph would be out of commission for at least a couple of months as she recovered from the trauma she put herself through in Boston. But rather than lick her wounds, Steph was back with a vengeance, missing only a few weeks of practice. After a successful tri season highlighted by competing in the Age Group World Championships in June, Steph ran a huge PR of 3:07:26 in the Philadelphia Marathon in November, following a short training cycle and crushing her goal for the year. Steph’s future in the marathon is bright indeed, and sub 3 hours is definitely within the realm of possibility.
NOVA Running Club 2015 Coach’s Award: Craig Shearer
Craig is an extraordinarily deserving winner of the Coach’s Award for 2015. To say that Craig overcame numerous major obstacles to make his return to competition in 2015 would not come close to doing justice to the difficulties Craig faced in the previous few years, as he dealt with a series of major injuries that threatened to end his career. During his many injured-induced absences, Craig cross-trained like a man possessed. If I asked any of my injured elite athletes to pool run as much as Craig did for even a couple of weeks, they would consider me a cruel taskmaster, yet Craig maintained a punishing regimen for months at a time without complaint. When he was finally able to get back on his feet, the hard work paid off, as Craig had an excellent season of near-weekly races, highlighted by his outstanding 17:10 at the Hot Cider 5k. There’s no doubt that Craig will run sub 17 consistently in 2016 as he continues to return to full racing fitness. Craig is among the most dedicated and hard-working athletes I’ve ever been around, and it is my
pleasure to have him at NOVA.