Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bickel Running Review of 2009

For the past 16 years I’ve been doing a personal Holiday Greeting that is kind of a quick year in review. Last year I did a “State of the Store” year end review. This year I figured I would create a Bickel Running Year in Review – kind of summing up the various running related things I have been up to. I intend to do a business one as well on my business blog. I’ll cover Coaching, the new Trail Project, the Moorestown Running Company, RunSignUp and my personal running. You can read about the business side of my life here.

Helping Lorenzo Eagles, Ethan Betten, Jim Brudnicki and Troy Pappas coach the distance runners in Cross Country and Track at Moorestown High School continues to be the most fun thing I do. 2009 was another great year. Track saw some great accomplishments by our runners. In particular, Ryan Wolff made it to States in the 1600. The only downside of Track season was Dave Ringwood getting injured with an ITB injury and had to miss his last season.
Of course Cross Country – MXC – is my favorite season. We had over 60 guys on the team this year. The great thing about XC is that everyone can do it and focus on improving. In many ways, this was one of our best teams. It just seemed that more guys pushed themselves harder and improved this season. We had great senior captains this year – Sam Weintraub, Joel Robinson, Brandon Greenwood and Tyler Ems. Weintraub, Greenwood and junior Anthony Horten traded the #1 spot. Sophomore Jack Inglis and Junior Paul Rothenberger showed tremendous progress and were in our top 5 consistently and will be key leaders on next year’s team. We went undefeated in dual meets, won the Liberty Division and finished 6th in the State Meet for Group 3 Schools. And we had a lot of fun! I can’t wait until next year!

One of the best things we have done as a team is to put on the yearly Moorestown Turkey Trot. It has turned into a real tradition in town – a way for people to connect on Thanksgiving morning, many collegians come back to reconnect with their high school friends, and a cool way to get a turkey finger puppet! It was a bit wet this year, but all 822 registrants went home happy and ready to eat turkey…

It is cool to see so many MXC alumni running in college – Holaday at Amherst, Healey at Rhode Island, Ringwood at Hopkins, Friedman at ‘Bama, Matteson at TCNJ.

Trail Project
Over the past several years the MXC team built our own cross country course (at no cost to taxpayers or to the school district) around the high school. As a follow-on to that activity a group of people got together to spread this idea throughout the town. We now have formal approval from the Township to build a 2.5 mile trail around the perimeter of the Swede Run Open Space land on Westfield Road. You can read more about this effort and our long term goal of creating a network of trails for walking, running and biking throughout Moorestown at We are actively fundraising. For more information, and to donate either go to the webpage, or send me an email at The plan is to build the trail this summer – and we will be needing lots of help from the community to spread the woodchips.

Moorestown Running Company
Last year I put together a longer blog just on the store - We continue on the same path we laid down last year. One of the highlights is the growth of the Moorestown Distance Running Project – which has dozens of runners now and winning and competing in many team competitions. Of course the real core of the store are the great people working there – Joe Halin, Ralph Harris, Ed Scioli and our new addition this year, Maureen Shockley. In spite of the bad economy this year, our customers continue to run and buy new shoes from us! Our business in the store is up 8% from last year. And we have expanded into some other areas to improve our service to the running community – Team Uniform Sales as well as Coaching Services. The net results is that we have finally broken even (although we did not pay down any of our debt yet). This is important because it is a sign that we are a viable business and will continue to be a part of the community for the long term!
This past year I finally scratched that itch to create a web service for online race registration. is the big guerilla in this market and I had used them both as a race director and runner and was just frustrated by the old technology, how hard it was to use and the expense. In the summer, Stephen Sigwart came on board to do the development. We got our first version out in time for the fall races and have had over a dozen use it so far and it looks really solid. In November, Marlise and a friend and Carolyn Schustrich made a trip to Florida to attend the Road Race Management Conference to get feedback from race directors. With the interested we have gotten, I made a decision to really invest in it and go forward. So Stephen, who graduated a semester early from TCNJ at the top of his Comp Sci class, is joining full time on January 4. In addition, my old running buddy from college, George Buckheit, is helping to reach out to race directors, managers and timing services. We have a lot of exciting projects planned to make things even easier and better for race directors and runners. The top of our list is a Partner Program to help timing services and race management firms better serve their races – getting more runners and making life easier and simpler for everyone. After that we will be coming up with some neat Facebook innovations and connections.

Personal Running
It has been a good year – no major injuries! I’ve gotten in over 1,300 miles. I ran a 18:52 5K (6:03 per mile pace) at the Haddonfield Adrenaline Run and a 31:28 (6:19 pace) for the Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K, which are the two races I kind of try hard in. I still have the nagging threat of my calf popping, so have to keep a lid on how hard I go… The other highlight of the year was the South Jersey Old Man Team Championship. My Bucknell friend Kevin Doyle challenged his Medford crew of old men against our MDRP crew. You can see our illustrious Championship Trophy in the store – we were victorious thanks to aggressive recruiting on our side! This coming year I am hoping to run a bit faster at my two races – we’ll see if I am able to up my training a bit and cut down my eating and drinking!