December 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to December, runners! We had a mild fall with great racing ending in a fun fall banquet. I am the new co-editor of the monthly newsletter and I’ll be helping Geoff out with the newsletter each month. I’ve been a member of UVRC for two years and I’m excited to take a more active role in the club!

We’ve got lots of great pieces this month about two different turkey trots, shoe recycling, junior cross country olympics, and more! Thank you to all the runners of the Norwich Turkey Trot and the many donations to the Haven. Keep running (and writing about running)!

Table of Contents

    1. Letter From Board Member: Kim Sheffield
    2. Welcome New Members
    3. Things I See When I am Running by Lori Bliss Hill
    4. Norwich Turkey Trot  by Judy Phillips
    5. Runner Profile: Jotham “Joe” Burnett by Lorna Young
    6. Running Away From Home by Mary Mancuso
    7. Junior Olympic Cross Country New England Regional by Gunner Currier
    8. 700 Pairs and Counting… Two Years of UVRC Running Shoes Recycling by Jim Burnett
    9. A Grand Day Out by Jeremy Merritt


Letter From a Board Member: Kim Sheffield

Tis the season…

Thanksgiving thru New Year’s – so much going on.  Multiple holiday dinners with families. Office parties. Gift shopping. Gatherings with friends. More food than usual. More drink than usual. Lots of festiveness. Some stress.

But for us runners, we won’t be distracted. I am down in Florida, so life is a bit different for me. But for you UV folks,  You live in cold, beautiful New England. Racing season is over. You are training indoors; you’re Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, running with many layers on…. All to keep you in shape for spring/summer and fall races.

This end of the calendar year brings time of reflection and New Year’s resolutions for many.  What worked well? What needs to be tweaked? How did my summer running prepare me for winter sports? How will winter prepare me for summer races?

Let me close with a line from Linus in Charlie Brown’s Christmas and say….”on Earth, peace and goodwill to all UVRC members.”

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


Welcome New Members!

  • Vanessa Garlick
  • Laura Johnson
  • Amy Olson 
  • Michael Stevens-Aranda

Things I See When I am Running

by Lori Bliss Hill

A beautiful, bluebird sky day, with a nice change of season slowly arriving.

Norwich Turkey Trot


Per Molly Turco, founder and organizer of the Norwich Turkey Trot, the 9th
Annual event had another record turnout this year. The weather was perfect autumn running weather, cold and crisp. All proceeds from the Trot support the Upper Valley Haven, and this Thanksgiving morning event serves as the unofficial kickoff to Dan Fraser’s “19 Days of Norwich and Beyond, 1% for the Haven”. It’s the perfect way to begin the season of giving, by helping our neighbors in need.

The final stats are as follows:

— 500+ trotters
—1,000 lbs of non-perishables
—dozens of bags of clothes
—$10,000 in donations!!! (including some allowance money!💗)
—100% a great community event and great way to lend a hand to neighbors in need via #UpperValleyHaven

THANK YOU to everyone who came out/helped at the 9th Annual #NorwichVTTurkeyTrot 🦃 Please join us on the Green next year.

Runner Profile: Jotham “Joe” Burnett

by Lorna Young


Town: Canaan, NH

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?

I’m originally from Canaan, but I came back a year and a half ago to raise my kids.

What do you do professionally?

I manage Cardigan Mountain School’s international family relationships and run a consultancy that helps small businesses mass produce their goods in China.

How long have you been running?

I remember running 5 and 10k races as a kid.

How long have you been running competitively?

I don’t remember ever not considering a race a competition, from elementary school mile runs in PE class until now. So, I guess, since Canaan Elementary, 4th grade.

Why do you run?

As a competitive outlet and to ease my mind.

Best athletic accomplishment and why?

My 2:41 at the New York Marathon last year is probably the highlight so far.

If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why?

I think my best distance is the Half Marathon but I enjoy them all in different ways. I think the field of runners and course make the race for me more than the distance run.

If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?

Coming into the home stretch in a 5k race a few years ago, I was on pace to break 16 minutes (a long-time goal). I turned into the home stretch and saw the clock ticking off a time in the mid 14s. An instant of euphoria (“I’m going to break 15?”) was shattered when I looked at my watch and saw that the course was more than a quarter mile short.  

Cross training activities?

In the winter, Ice Hockey and Skiing. Otherwise, not much sport besides trials of miles.

Favorite local running route?

I have some amazing, hilly, dirt-road loops in Canaan that include Clark Hill and Jerusalem Road.

Favorite post run treat?

Before-noon: New York Bagels; After-noon: Beer and salty snacks.

Strangest place ever run?

Defunct runway at an airfield on Long Island, which was hosting an amateur cycling race at the time. 

What made you start running?

I felt like I had to make a choice in my late 20s between being serious about athletics or partying and running was the best way to choose athletics.

Who is your running “idol”?

Murray Halberg is someone I look up to a lot after reading “A Clean Pair of Heels”. The people who are great runners don’t have real idyllic lifestyles in general. I guess I would choose Ben True as someone I idolize as much as any runner.

Are your reasons for running now the same or different than the reason you first started?

When I started I was chasing times more. Now my fundamental reason for running is to stay healthy and positive.

Why did you join UVRC?

I love people who love to run. Therefore, I want to be around runners as much as possible. Therefore, UVRC is a great club for me.

Ever run in a costume?

If you consider running down the street in neon shoes and short shorts or a reflector jacket and a balaclava a costume, “Yes, nearly every day.” In the sense of wearing a moose outfit or a wig and a tutu for a 5k, “No.”

The only running shoe for me is?

Mizuno wave rider trainers. I play the field more with racing shoes.

Morning or evening runner?

Morning. A morning without running is generally not a good morning for me.

What is your motivation?

I run therefore I keep moving forward. 

Favorite running book/film?

Clean Pair of Heels, The Murray Halberg Story 

How about favorite work out?

Probably the 8 or 10×800 “Yasso!”

If you could run with anyone, who would be the person?  Where would you run?

I’d want to race Ben True around Canaan St. Lake.

Additional input or comments? People to mention?

Yes, In 2008 I joined a group of Japanese people for a relay race in Shanghai. I thought they were laughably insane for organizing regular training sessions in the park and on the track, complete with workout “menus”, GPS watches and post-run beers. That group of people, Team Asia Runners Club (TARC), turned out to be a huge part of my life for five years and I still run with them when I travel to China and Japan. I would never have had the success I’ve had with running or experienced the benefits of running (social or athletic) if I hadn’t joined TARC. There is really no exaggeration in saying that a running team or club is invaluable for any runner’s success and I’m very grateful to all of you who organize and join UVRC events so we can reap those benefits here in the Upper Valley. Thank you!




Running Away from Home

by Mary Manusco

I hadn’t planned on running on Thanksgiving morning this year. We typically get up in the night to drive to New Jersey before the traffic gets heavy, and arrive in time for breakfast and to watch the parade on TV. This year, though, my son had just come off of a solid cross country season and wanted to run the 5K Turkey Trot in Sparta, NJ, on Lake Mohawk.

The timing was going to be tight. It’s a five hour drive and the race starts at 8:45. We hadn’t pre-registered in case we didn’t make it, but we managed to pull in to the Lake Mohawk Country Club just after 8:30. We dashed inside to register, got our numbers, and ran to the starting line. Well, sort of. It was a mob scene. When we got close we had to weave into the crowd and edge up to the front. There were around 2000 participants, including walkers, strollers and dogs, quite the crowd for country mice like us.

Also running were my sister-in-law and my older son. Rooting us on were two grown nephews and my husband. The crowd pressed in on us from all sides. There was a PA system, and a four wheeler acted as pacer. A good potion of the local police dept. was there to close off the entire area, including the course, to cars. The out and back course was a narrow, rolling paved road.

It’s fun to go somewhere else and do something completely different, but in the end I prefer the small upper valley races on dirt roads close to home. It took me over 20 seconds to cross the starting line, and I couldn’t run freely for at least a quarter mile. The walkers were still going out when I was half a mile from the finish.

A race is always a good way to start Thanksgiving morning and to prepare for the big feast later in the day. City (and suburban) races are a different experience altogether, and a good time was had by all, runners and spectators alike.


Junior Olympic Cross Country New England Regionals

by Gunner Currier

Myself and my teammates with the Granite State Flash had worked hard, far harder than during our regular season school teams, to prepare for this event.   For our 9-10 year old age division our coach wanted us to carry a 6:30 pace or better for the 3K Deerfield Park course in Smithfield, RI.    We went into the meet knowing that the top 30 individual runners would advance to the Northeast Regional meet the following week, which would be no easy task.     We also knew the top 5 teams would advance and felt pretty good about our chances as a team.

Race day arrived on November 12th and we waited our turn by watching the 11-12 year old groups of boys and girls run.    We supported our older teammates while our coach began to warm us up.   I felt confident that my teammate Tanner, who is also my teammate at Indian River School, would come in the top 30 and also felt that I had a very good shot at it.    As the race got closer I felt excited and confident, with a little bit of nerves.    My teammates were nervous as well, but my confidence in making the top 30 grew more and more as the race approached.

11:30 came and it was race time.   My coach had expressed to us over and over how important it would be to start fast at a race this size.   He told us to get out quicker than normal to avoid getting stuck in a crowd of slower runners, but also let us know once we were out of the initial pack it was important to settle into our pace and not burn out.   I worked so hard for this day and I truly believed our team would finish in the top 5, but if not I wasn’t going to get myself slip out of the top 30 without a fight.    Last year I ran the New England meet with an injured heel and finished 77th, this year was my chance to prove that was a fluke.

The race got started and my dad was standing at about the ¼ mile mark letting all of us Flash runners know how we were looking.    We all got of to a great start, with 4 of us in the top 30 at that point and the other two not very far off of it.    At this point we made our way towards the woods, where we’d have no more parent or coach support, it was time to let our training take over.    I was nervous without anyone’s support, but I knew I was in the top 30 and I fed off of that.    At the one-mile mark, I passed my teammate Aeden who is a very strong runner.   I knew if I was passing him, I was meant to compete at this meet.

At about the 1.6 mile mark we reentered the finish area of the course.   My dad was still standing at that point and yelled to me that I was 20th.    I could see the finish line at that point and knew my goal of the top 30 was really happening.   I got so caught up in the moment that I never went into a finishing kick, despite feeling so well, so I did fall two spots and finished in 22nd.

After last years disappointment, it was so exciting to know that I was one of the best runners in New England.  Even better was our team finished in 2nd, with Tanner leading the way with a 4th place finish.    Indian River School is a very small school and to know we had two of the top twenty runners in New England was so exciting, we were even 2nd and 5th amongst New Hampshire runners that day.   Two more of my teammates, Malcolm and Aeden, also finished in the top 30, so they would have qualified for the Northeast Regional, even if we hadn’t as a team.    Even our 5th and 6th runners,  Mychal and Carson finished 32nd and 33rd.    What a great day for our team, we had 6 of the top 33 runners, out of 100.


The following week at the Northeast Regional a slow start got me caught up in the crowd and it cost me 30 seconds on my time, at the exact same course in Smithfield.    It was a rough lesson to learn, as our very strong team finished in 6th, with the top 5 advancing to Nationals.    In addition to myself, two of my teammates were significantly slower than the week before, but we gave all we could.    At the ¼ mile mark I was in 110th, caught behind so many runners I knew I was faster than.    I worked my way up to 67th and fought as hard as I could, I like to think I simply ran out of course to catch them.    We would have loved to gone to Nationals as a team, but in the end only Tanner made it individually.I loved my teammates this year and although we came as close as you could possibly come to qualifying for Nationals, without making it, we’ve loved every second of working together and next year we’ll continue to grow as a team in the 11-12 year old division.


700 Pairs and Counting… Two Years of UVRC Running Shoes Recycling

by Jim Burnett

For the past two years UVRC has been collecting used running shoes for recycling. My helper and grandson, Rio, (shown above) helps me to tie the shoes in matching pairs and stuff them into boxes for mailing, 50 pairs+/- to a box. UVRC partners with More Foundation Group in Delaware, who sends us the boxes with free-shipping labels for FedEx Ground Pickup. To date 14 boxes of shoes or a total of approximately 700 pairs have been recycled by UVRC. YAY!


I encourage you to check out the More Foundation Group’s website,  Excerpts from their website follow.


“With every pair of gently used athletic shoes, MORE is able to plant one ton of carbon grounding trees and train poor farmers in sustainable agroforestry.” Recycling shoes keeps them out of landfills and the proceeds enable MORE to plant thousands of trees each year, which in turn offsets carbon in the atmosphere.

Jim Riordan
Founder and Director 

After a thirty-year career as a builder/developer Jim founded Perpetual Prosperity Pumps Foundation in 2004 to provide appropriate technology transfer for small rural farmers in Africa. Since 1980 Jim has been researching small-scale food production models and irrigation technology ideally suited for the poor rural farmer. He has visited many emerging economies and been to Africa seven times since 1999.

The Miracle Pump Irrigation System and the integrated MORE Growing System developed by Jim and associates is currently being taught by the Kumasi Institute for Tropical Agriculture, located in Ghana West Africa.

Jim is passionate about demonstrating small scale farm models that sustain yields ten times greater then traditional African agricultural practice. He believes that with access to micro-credit, training, and appropriate technology small farmers and villages can grow themselves out of poverty.

We are asking for used athletic shoes to fight poverty, hunger, and global warming.

This is accomplished by educating small farmers in the use of the MORE Farming System. This is the entire focus of MORE Foundation Group, a Not-for-profit Foundation registered in Delaware. We are 100% funded from the sale of ‘gently used athletic shoes’. Of the one billion pair of shoes placed in landfills each year we only need a few hundred thousand of those to reach a tipping point. Villagers seek opportunities to prosper, conserve natural habitat and regenerate regions that have been severely damaged. The highly qualified management of MORE Foundation in developing countries teaches small farmers and villages how to create Modular Organic Regenerative Environment’s (MORE).

With each 600 pair of shoes the adopted family will receive 12 months of hands-on MORE training. After MORE training is complete the family receives the tools, seeds, trees, and livestock to increase productivity as much as 1000%. MORE Foundation teaches the integrated MORE Farming System as well as small farm business management, rainforest resource conservation, capacity analysis, marketing research, profit center modeling, tribal community development, microfinance lending. As well as training in Co-op set up; how to form a village credit union with self-capitalized expansion. We also provide free medical assistance for the families protecting them from Malaria and other infectious diseases.

A Grand Day Out (excerpt)

by Jeremy Merritt

The easy part becomes the hard part

It’s a 14 mile, all downhill stretch from the North Rim to the low point back at the Colorado river. In the weeks before the trip, I was breaking up this run, analyzing it this way and that, and somehow came up with the idea that this would be the easy part. What I failed to consider is that this easy part begins after we’d already logged 23 miles with a good bit of vertical gain and twice as much descent. If mountain running has taught me anything, it’s that going down can hurt a lot more than going up.

Once we got down into the canyon past the pump house, our world opened up to inescapable direct sunlight from overhead — it was midday after all. I wouldn’t say I was really hot (though temps got up to 86 degrees F), because we had a good breeze most of the time, but we were both getting sun soaked and it started making me feel exhausted in a new and interesting way.

Mile splits for the “easy” section. Mile 30 was the stop at the pump house to re-fill water and 39 is the Phantom Ranch, where the wheels fell off and I went to sleep

The variability in the pace from the splits above is the equivalent of a diesel engine sputtering and eventually breaking down into a heap at mile 39. I would run a mile, and then walk for a bit. My right knee was really starting to get cranky on any of the steeper downhill sections. This start/stop gait began to coincide with any slight rise in the trail. A few miles past the 50k mark, I’d pick out a bolder or shrub ahead and tell myself: “Just run until you reach that, and then you can walk for a bit.” The Phantom Ranch was coming up at mile 39. About a half mile before I reached it, I decided that I was done running for the day. I would walk or hike from here on out.

Lars was well ahead of me at this point , off on his own personal mission to get to the Phantom Ranch as quickly as he could — for what bit of solace, I did not know. Often, the milestones we impose on a ultra-effort make little sense other than to simply comfort us that we’ve made some progress. I was looking forward to the Coke that Lars said he would purchase for me, but I had accepted miles earlier that there may not be Coke there, or the Ranch could be closed. This is the zen of distance running in action. Remove all expectations from your mind. Things will not go as you plan.

The Ranch was bustling with tourists all looking a hell of a lot cleaner than me or Lars. “How the hell did they get down here…?” I muttered to myself. I found Lars inside and he handed my an empty plastic cup. “No Coke, but they have lemonade.” I filled the cup with ice from the machine, (how do they power this place?), and filled it with lemonade. I headed straight back outside for the long unoccupied bench beside the door — I was intent on going to sleep.

I took my shoes and socks off first, and then I sipped the lemonade. My stomach revolted and said NO WAY. I put the cup down, laid out on the bench with my head on my pack, pulled my hat over my face and immediately fell asleep.

I’m not sure how much time we spent at the Phantom Ranch. It’s really just a blur.

I give Lars my lemonade.
I try to eat, but I only can get down a little food.
I see Warren and Chris at a picnic table — when did they get here?
A woman says I look exhausted and I hope she’ll offer to let us stay in her cabin.
We have to go.
I lay down again, and there is deer poop in the grass.
Lars is broken. I can only drink water, and I hate it.
We have to go.
I put on my shoes. Warren and Chris say goodbye.
I fill my water bladder and Lars’ too.
We have to go.
I feel a tiny bit better. The food must be helping.

“We have to go now.” I tell Lars, and he seems to snap out of it and agree that we should. Two other R2R2R runners who are hanging back offer us supplies. I ask for ibuprofen, and he gives us three each. I want to hug him. We begin walking down the trail to the river. “This is the pace I’ve got left, but we can do this.”

The bridge spanning the Colorado river

Mule piss and camaraderie on the South Kiabab

I’m hoping we can catch up with Warren and Chris because at this point we could use the company and I need some distraction. We’ve got 6.5 miles and almost 5,000 feet of climbing to do before we get out of this ditch. Lars seems to be in full-on focus mode, so he’s not talking at all. Luckily, we’re moving at a decent pace (20 mins/mile) and the climbing feels a whole lot better on my legs. I start telling Lars about a show that I like, just to keep us distracted and moving up. Periodically, we pass huge puddles of mule piss from the packs of them that carry supplies down to the ranch, but it doesn’t bother me — we’re going to finish this.

We have to stop now and then. We catch a glimpse of Warren’s orange shirt up ahead. We’re getting closer to them. We round another switchback, we take another break, we get a little closer. We toil, and we get it done. This is the work that you put in to finish something that seems impossible. When you have nothing left to give, but you don’t have a choice, you find a little more — because you have to. Night is approaching. It’s close to 13 hours that we’ve been out here. Still, we mine deeper into the depths of our bodies to find a little more.

Digging deep on the South Kiabab Trail

We finish the last few miles with Warren and Chris. Warren drags us up the trail with his enthusiasm. Chris and Lars are mostly silent, and the sun is going down. I switch on my flashlight for the last 20 minutes. It’s windy as hell — not a good night to spend down in the canyon. I see flashlights up above, and finally dare to look for the end of the trail. 13 hours, 31 minutes and 29 seconds after we’d taken our first steps down South Kiabab, we stepped back up onto the rim. 46.8 miles, 14,131 feet of climbing.

The tunnel near the top of the North Kibab Trail 
North Kiabab Trail. Lots of scary sections like this.  
Dawn as we descend into the big ditch

We caught the last shuttle from the trail-head to the Visitor Center parking area. We drove back to our motel, and I climbed directly into my bed — just got under the covers with what I was wearing. I was starving, but I could not eat. I sipped at a Gatorade the entire drive home, each sip seeming to bring me closer to vomiting. I needed sleep, and I needed it now.

Lars took a long shower and I awoke when he stumbled back into the room.

“Was it glorious?” I asked.

“Felt amazing to wash off all the dust.” Lars said.

So, I managed to hobble into the shower and let the hot water sooth my aching muscles. It was glorious, indeed.


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