Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bickel Running Review of 2010

To follow up on last year's promise, here is my yearly review of the running part of my life. 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.

While I really like everything I get to do, this has to be my favorite. During Spring Track Sam Weintraub had an unfortunate "football" injury that caused him to have a tough season. It was a shame since he had a great base and would have qualified for States. Fortunately he has gone on to run at University of Rhode Island and make the Varsity squad this year. Tyler Ems had a nice spring season and decided to run at Loyola. It makes me very happy when guys graduate and continue running at the collegiate level. Of course the highlight of Spring Track had to be the emergence of Anthony Horten as the most talented runner we have had the pleasure to coach. He figured out what it takes to be good during this season and dropped from 4:40 to 4:24 in the 1600.
Of course Cross Country – MXC – is the best season. We had 73 guys on the team this year. The great thing about XC is that everyone can do it and focus on improving. We were very lucky to have an amazing group of Captains - Dylan Monaghan, Anthony Horten, Brett Samocki, Forrest Klawunn and Paul Rothenberger. In addition, we had the best Freshman class of all time show up - a great group of guys who will make sure the program carries on even though we graduate 5 of our top 7 runners. We extended our dual meet win streak to 30 winds over the past two years, won the Liberty Division and finished 5th in States Group 3 (second largest schools). Again the highlight was the continuing progression of Horten. He won the South Jersey Open and Burlington County Open and finished 5th at States. My biggest fear all year was not to screw him up, and for the most part we achieved that. I can't wait to see him in the Spring and at college as he continues to improve.

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. We had over 800 registrants this year who all went home happy and ready to eat turkey…

It is cool to see MXC alumni running in college – Healey and Weintraub at Rhode Island, Ems at Loyola, Ringwood at Hopkins, Matteson at TCNJ.

Trail Project
We have completed our second trail in town! In addition to the MXC course at the high school, we now have 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 athttp://www.moorestownxc.org/Trails/.

Moorestown Running Company
Two years ago I put together a longer blog just on the store. We continue on the same path - focused on the running community in Moorestown and the surrounding area. 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, Maureen Shockley and our latest addition, Colleen Hughes Tindal (former MXC runner). The good news is that we have finally made a profit. Although it will take us another 10-15 years to recoup my original investment, it is a great step forward and makes us a real, ongoing business.

You can read more about this one in my business blog. From a running community perspective, we are working with great running organizations like the Road Runners Club of America, Weight Watchers, www.RunningintheUSA.com, and a number of timing services and race directors across the country (as far away as Alaska and as close as Moorestown). Everyone that uses it seems to love it and find it much easier to use than anything else out there. It is also cool to have grown a team that will make sure we keep moving forward fast. I'm also very happy that Jack Wickens introduced me to the USATF program where businesses can help people training for the Olympics, as this is how Jordan Desilets and I met. 2011 is really a year focused on partnerships and growing and building out a bunch of cool technology for this community. It will be fun.

Personal Running
What started out as a promising year, ended in injury and frustration. I ran a "controlled" 19:00 at the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5K and then a quality 31:06 at the Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K on a hot and humid day. My goal was the USATF National Cross Country Championship in December. They have age group team competitions and we have a number of 50-60 year old guys who are pretty good in the Moorestown Distance Running Project. Unfortunately in the beginning of August I had a mis-step on a sore plantar (arch in the foot) that has put me out of commission until just last week. I start a long recovery now - doing 2 miles every other day for a week or two and then a slow increase. In addition to not being able to pull the old man's XC team together, the real frustration was not being able to run with the MXC team during this past fall season. Hopefully I will be back to running again fully by Spring Track in March. And maybe another shot at an old man XC team race...

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