January 2022 Newsletter

Note from the Editor

A new year, a new president, new members, new books, new trails, new goals! What a set of fresh features we have to start the year!

Anne Farrell

UVRC Newsletter Team

Article Collection
Robert Jones

UVRC Newsletter Team

Letter from a Board Member

New Year, New President

By: Robert Jones

Hi there! If you’ve paid your dues (a shameless reminder to do so) and are still on the club email listserv, you’ve probably seen some random emails from me. Some of you may have been like “oh hey it’s RJ!” others might have thought “Who the heck is this Robert Jones person?”. Well to those who I haven’t met it is time for a formal introduction and to catch everyone up on some administrative changes; I feel usually we would have this at our year end banquet but I don’t have to tell you why that was not a possibility this year. 

But anyway, recently the Upper Valley Running Club President Jim Burnett stepped down from his role and I have been honored to take up reigns as the new UVRC President! It was actually a fierce battle on the Peak of Mt. Washington. For two days and two nights we fought (as is tradition for the assumption of the UVRC Presidency) and those below thought the peak was enveloped in lightning and thunder. And in the end though victorious I was gravely wounded and faded from thought and time, but I have been reborn as RJ…the President (I hope there are some Tolkien fans out there, if you haven’t seen or read Lord of the Rings, maybe make that a 2022 goal).

All jokes aside I truly am honored and privileged to be entrusted with this role and the legacy of a great community that comes with it! I hope to keep the success of my predecessors going with the help of all our awesome membership!  We have a great base built in the Upper Valley and I’m of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. But while that may be true that doesn’t mean we can’t add to it, cause modularity is the future! So I have some ideas and goals for the club that I'll get into but first a bit more about myself.

My name is Robert Jones but if you see me out and about please call me RJ. My father’s name is Robert, his father’s name was Robert, my Uncle’s name is Robert and his father’s name is also Robert, so I decided to nix all those pesky extra syllables and save everyone some time. But if you must address me formally please use my full title: Robert Jones, Like Fifth or Sixth of his name, Wearer of Bright Clothes and Running Shorts with Sharks on Them, Father of too Many Shoes, the Sweaty Man, That Guy, Keeper of the Club Instagram Although he Doesn’t Completely Know How to Use it, Tied for His Mother’s Favorite Child, Baker of Cookies, Occasional Dungeon Master, Maker of Cool Strava Run Titles, Executive Vegetarian, He Who Doesn’t Mind Putting an Exclamation Point at the End of Every Sentence in an Email Even Though it Makes Him Sound Manic! I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona and have been in the Upper Valley since 2014, which seems like ages ago now, and I came here as a researcher at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (just a mile North of Dartmouth!). And now my deep dark secrets: I’m actually fairly new to running and I used to haaaattteeee it. I’m talking a deep loathing and I referred to it with the hyperbole that comes from youth as being “the absolute worst/god’s punishment on humanity”. Obviously I had some growing up to do when I said that but I also didn’t know what I know now which is that if you don’t find ways to make something enjoyable it isn’t likely to just happen on its own. And if you’re trying to do something you aren’t necessarily good at, if you don’t set yourself up for success, of course you won’t enjoy it. 

For example, whenever I did dip my toes into running it was a one off or a short stint where I tried to go faster than I was ready for because I assumed that I “should” be at a certain level of athleticism probably from a certain amount of naive masculine pride, felt it was too hard, unfun, didn’t see improvements in what really was an unrealistic time frame and gave up. It wasn’t until I got introduced to the UVRC that I started seeing running as enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, at first it was still a physical and mental struggle. In my first Saturday morning runs I was the often the last person up a hill, gasping for breath while trying to hold a conversation, and on the verge of death after a mile. But I was also learning from talking to people. Learning that others had just started running later in life and were amazed at their ability to still do so. I was meeting people who were like me; disliked running at first but took it slow, got into it, and now were running competitively. And perhaps the most important in getting over the hurdle into enjoying running, I was being embraced by a community and being actively encouraged. People I barely knew slowed themselves down to talk to me just so I wouldn’t have to run alone. I made friends in the club that kept encouraging me to come to TNT and more runs so much that it became a habit. I had my first 5k ever and there were total strangers out on the course shouting encouragement at me as I was clearly struggling. I’ve learned that this community is rad as heck and so full of kindness and support, it’s unbelievable. Which is chiefly why I want to give back and hope that I'm in a position to do so!

So on to my ideas or goals rather. I think the great thing about being the President of a club like this is that it is, for the most part, not an actual executive title. We don’t control the purse strings, we are not the end all be all decision maker, and we are not alone. In fact we have a very involved and very caring board of members that lead the club (which you could be a part of too!). This is all to say I think the President is just a starter and pusher of ideas but we as a group work together to make them happen but honestly in case you were curious, your Board is a total democracy. And as I said, we have a great foundation between our different programs and activities but we can always do more.

For one my goal is to help increase our membership and member activity. I think now, more than ever, we owe it to ourselves to be on top of our mental health and being physically active is a great way to do that so much the better when you can be active with other people. Again we have an incredibly friendly running community and I want to share it with more of the Upper Valley. So you may see an increase in emails encouraging you to come out and run and to bring your friends! While we of course have bills to pay and associated costs with running a club, we have historically been pretty chill about people coming to activities without actually being dues paying members yet. I think that like any service you should at least have the opportunity to try it out before you commit, so seriously, bring your friends along to a track workout or a saturday morning run so they can get a taste, you won’t see us checking membership cards at the door and I have faith that people will join by virtue of how awesome the club’s members are.

Secondly, in talking to our membership it sounds like there is a good quadrant of inbetweeners. People who are not necessarily new to running but are still striving to meet their pace or distance goals. Which while I’m here let me reiterate some our club’s mentality. There is no, nor will there ever be, a pace or distance requirement to be part of or participate with the Upper Valley Running Club. Our goal is not to make everyone elite runners, though if that happens woo well done! Our goal is to promote running and physical activity in the Upper Valley and to get our community members comfortable with running whatever form that may take. Pace and or distance are helpful metrics to set goals but they do not define you as a runner or as a person. Given that, I’d like to start an additional social run to accompany TNT, Saturday Morning Runs, and our Couch to 5k Program, specifically more geared to community members that are looking improve their endurance by running at a predetermined set pace. While it’s still in the works, including a catchy title, the plan is we would meet in the Hanover area during the week (probably Wednesdays or Thursdays so you can continue to do TNT!!) and run at a stated average pace, or paces depending on group size, something between 10 minute miles to 9 minute miles (progressing faster as the season goes on BUT SLOWLY) for 3 to 5 miles. While I want to reiterate sincerely that every activity that we do as a club is open to all people and all paces and that no one in the club is here to judge anyone by their skill level, I also understand that traditional workouts and social running can be a bit intimidating without having the confidence that may come with base building because I’ve been there. When it comes to physical activity you have to start somewhere and my goal is help more people build up the confidence to tackle their running goals. But as I said it’s a work in progress so stay tuned and I’m open to feedback!

Which speaking of feedback, my third goal is to hear more from you! My predecessors have done a tremendous job reaching out to the community and I want to keep that going. What are things that you want to see in the club? Are there things you think we should be doing more of, or less of? Other activities we can try perhaps! The Board is always open to suggestions and has really upheld a “let’s just try it and see” mentality so really no suggestion is off the table! All of us want to make this a club that serves the community so we want to hear your needs and do what we can to address them. While you can always email me (rm.jones652@gmail.com) I also made an anonymous (if you like) suggestion box if you’d like to drop something in to let us know your thoughts: https://forms.gle/WuBWVc2bosVX8MB19. 

Alrighty I have definitely written more than I intended but that’s because I am excited! I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to be part of this running community and the opportunity I have to be a force for continued growth and improvement. And I can’t wait to interact more with all of you and look forward to your input on how we can help this running community grow! See you around UVRC Fam!


A winning RJ and his stylish UVRC singlet

Member Submission

2022 New Year Running Goals

By: Robert Jones

Helene Sisti

  • My goal for 2022 is to complete a 10k road race!


  • My goal for 2022 is to run with a new member of the UVRC at least once a month!

Ryan Scelza

My running goals for 2022 include:

  • Complete the UVRS
  • Run 1,000 miles
  • Meet at least 5 new UVRC members

Julia Neily

My goals for 2022 are:

  • Continue my daily running outside at least one mile streak - overall goal is 1000 days
  • Do the Upper Valley Running Series
  • Do at least one Winter Wild Race 
  • Cross train:  yoga once a week, strength train 2X a week

Anne Farrell

  • Run 806 miles
  • Run 2 local races
  • Keep finding joy in running
  • Publish some excellent newsletters!

Joffrey Peters

  • Run 1:17 at the Mt. Washington Road Race
  • Go for a long FKT on trails
Member Submission

Book Review of "Trail to Gold: The Journey of 53 Women Skiers"

By: Dorcas DenHartog

Trail to Gold: The Journey of 53 Women Skiers, by the U.S. Olympic Women Cross-Country Skiers 1972-2018

When I started skiing in 1982-1983,  there were no books to read about the history and who was who and how, beyond John Caldwell’s book, The NEW Cross-Country Ski Book.  Desperate for any information in that pre-digital age, I saw a photo of his daughter, Jennifer, chopping wood for the family wood stove.  He called it training. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘I do that. Maybe I can ski, too.’  Still, I was a nobody, looking in from the outside. Even as I trained the summer before college, even as I trained and raced for Middlebury College, there was always a history, always stories that everyone else knew. Since then, I have always wanted to write that history for the young girls who followed me.  

Now, we have!

Trail to Gold: The Journey of 53 Women Skiers, is a collaborative book project dreamed up during the March 2019 Cross country World Cup in Quebec City. Everyone was excited to see a World Cup finally back in North America. The Americans had been kicking some butt and getting on the podiums with historical power house countries like Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Finland.  Someone found an Airbnb for us to rent, 200 meters from the arena, and so many of us gathered for an unofficial reunion. There were Olympians I had only known of and teammates I knew dearly. For three days we shared our experiences - great memories, but also the frustrations of finances, body image, relationships, expectations, competing against better funded teams and performance-enhanced athletes. Many of us had withdrawn from the sport and gone on to other things, disappointed that our hard work had never resulted in much recognition or reward.  Together, we realized that our time on the team, in the sport, had indeed contributed significantly to the growth of the sport. 

We decided we needed to acknowledge and celebrate all the women who had brought us to this point - where we were finally cheering on U.S. World Cup, Olympic gold, and World Championship medalists, women, and teams that had accomplished our dreams.

So for the past two years, our book committee of six women, led by Sue Wemyss (Middlebury College 1983; Sarajevo Olympics 1984), brought together old interviews of past Olympians, dug up photos - personal and professional, had a crash course on writing, finding a printer, editing, copyrights, ISBN numbers, publishing, finding book reviewers, book distribution, and selling a book!  The book is yearbook-like, with an entry and photo of each of the 53 women, with chapters at the beginning of the book, each illustrating a topic or issue in the development of cross-country ski training and racing in the United States. This book won’t tell you how to train - but it will tell you the inside story of what these 53 women did - from their first 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan - that built towards the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

This February’s Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, will mark the 50th anniversary of the first US women’s Olympic team that participated at Sapporo. It’s been a long and initially ‘ungroomed’ trail to get there. We wanted to share what it’s been like to be a part of those last 50 years. What it was like growing up an active girl, a competitive female, dreaming of being on a National and Olympic Team, dreaming of being a World Cup and Olympic medalist, and finally - gold medalists - plural! This covers U.S. women nordic Olympians from the time when it was socially inappropriate at best and downright mean and unfair at the worst to be an American, a female, a competitive cross country skier living on Power Bars and potato salad made from the mayo, salt and pepper scrounged from the condiment stand in the (Dartmouth College) Hopkins Center’s cafeteria. 

That last part was my own experience - quite a good lunch, actually, between selling shoes and stringing tennis rackets at Art Bennet’s in the ‘80s. Working retail to pay the rent, between doing the morning (bicycle) ride from the old Mary Hitchcock Hospital from 5:20 am- 7:30 am. Then rowing if I had time at the Ledyard Canoe Club. And afternoons rollerskiing or running or hill bounding at Oak Hill. 

Athletes of all ages will appreciate the stories inside. Read about my teammates - especially those of us pre- social media. Read about those who kept their teammates happy, laughing, supported, even if their results didn’t make the American media’s level of attention. 

You can buy copies at: Omer and Bob’s - they have several copies for sale or your perusal; from me - Dorcas DenHartog; or order books from Pathway Book Service, in Keene, NH. Our subject matter was outside of Pathway’s usual categories of books, but the woman who helped us had brought her son up through the Stratton-area Bill Koch League, and they wanted to give back the love! 

You’ll also find us at book signing events around New England - watch the NENSA website for the Craftsbury Marathon, January 29-30th, 2022,  and Women’s XC Ski Day - January 23rd, 2022 at the Rikert Touring Center (Ripton, VT), and more. It helps that former Bowdoin College 2014 alumna and 2018 Olympian, Kait Miller, works for NENSA. 

We live in a great place to be an athlete, be athletic, and be a fan. 


Member Submission

You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go

By: Julia Neily

I parked at the Lebanon Green and walked to Omer and Bob’s. Hannah was standing there in a neon LL Bean jacket and running pants. It looked like she had auburn hair under her hat. I love red hair, the same color as my daughter Emily’s. Freddie stood beside her wearing a blue Detroit half-marathon shirt. He had an easy smile and a beard. 

“Hi, I’m Julia.” 

“Are you new?” Hannah asked.

No, I just haven’t gotten off my butt or had the courage to show up for one of these runs in a couple of years. I didn’t say that. But I did say, I’m the one who finished dead last in the Hanover Turkey Trot.

“No, I just haven’t come to these runs in a couple of years.”

They smiled and chatted with me some more. We stood outside Omer and Bob’s. It was cold. 9am. Pam showed up. I knew her from other races. She is in my age group and always won. I used to be envious, jealous of those women who were my age and always won. I wanted to walk home with a medal and a gift basket. But after a while I got to know them and found out they were really nice and could teach me about running.

Then came Michael and cheerful Sven who said, “I’m always late!”

Tim and Daniella, very young - no wrinkles and a big smile. I felt intimidated, my fault - not theirs. We went around in a circle and shared how far we wanted to run, how fast and if we had any races coming up.

I told them my goal for that day was to show up for this running group. They smiled. I told them I planned to run 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back in about a 14 minute per mile pace. No one laughed at me or made me feel bad. I guess I am the only person who could make me feel bad. Hannah was welcoming and friendly. I’d seen her running from a distance many times. So lithe and strong. I decided to get a neon LL Bean running jacket too. 

The run was hard. My hips hurt. During the run I thought I’ll turn back now, this is too hard. But I told them out loud that I was going to do 30 out and 30 back so I’d have to follow through. For me this is the value of showing up and running with others. Accountability. Inspiration.

As we left, I said, “See you next week!”

Hit the Trail


By: Jennifer Hansen

Route: Londonderry Rail Trail

Percentage Runnable: 100%

Distance: Up to 9 mi. (4.5 out and back)

Elevation Change: none

Parking: Several, but I recommend the Harvey Rd. lot right by Manchester Airport 

Map: Londonderry Trailways Website

Let's say you have a flight that gets into Manchester in the afternoon and you have a little time before dark to try a new trail...or you drop your daughter and her friend at the Mall of New Hampshire and want to get in a run -- what's to do? Head over to the Londonderry Rail Trail, which is a surprisingly scenic, paved route through the woods of Londonderry. The trail is not plowed, so in the winter you will take your chances, but if you bring along snowshoes and microspikes, you can keep your options open.

I tried it on a sunny November day. I was delighted to be in woods that felt pretty secluded (not just behind folks' back yards), with wetlands, stone walls, forest, bridges, and yes, the occasionally busy street crossing. I only went a couple miles out and back, but the trail is currently built out 4.5 miles, so you could go for a total of 9 miles from the airport and back. 

The trail is well-signed and well-used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and the occasional jokester (see photo).

Runner Profile

Jim Westrich

By: Matt Sherman

Name: Jim Westrich

Town: Norwich

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?  I am from Algoma, WI (near Green Bay and Door County).   We moved to the area when my wife got a job at Dartmouth College.

What do you do professionally?  I work for Medicaid (DVHA) in the state of Vermont.

How long have you been running? I ran Cross Country 2 years in high school and 3 years in college.  I did not run much after that but started running again 8 years ago (an Upper Valley influence no doubt).

Why do you run? Main reason is health related–probably both physical and mental health.

Best athletic accomplishment and why?  The age-adjusted algorithms would disagree but I think it has to be running 2:45 in the first 25 miles of my first (and was going to be my only) marathon in 1988.  I mention the first 25 miles because I hit the wall (basically no on-course nutrition or even formal water stops available back then) and took 10 more minutes to finish.  The reason it was such an accomplishment was I basically did nearly no marathon training (I ran over 10 miles only twice before the race).  I was in good shape but no real marathon training.  I did it because I was curious.  

If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why?  Half-marathon.  I have run this distance enough it feels like I have the right amount of confidence with the training (still have to do it!) and the pacing to do it.

If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?  I ran the Midnight Run in Reykjavik in 2019.  I just did the 10k but it is eerie running after 9pm and it still being light (it is a full light but the light is a bit odd). 

Reykjavik Midnight Run 10K in 2019

Favorite local running route? I really enjoy running on gravel/dirt roads so I enjoy all of them in northern Norwich and southern Thetford.  My favorite is up Patrell and Kerwin Hill then crossing over to Ladue, Norford Lake, and Stowell.  Lots of shade in the summer, colors in the fall,  and there are some nice hill views at the peak of Patrell.

Any notable streaks or other unusual running events?  I ran over 2 years without any real injury (I defined “no injury” as not taking more than a day off because of injury).  I was counting by miles and it got to 2800 miles.

The only running shoe for me is ______________________.  I have been very flexible with shoes since I got back into running 8 years ago.  I have tried 10 different brands and mostly like buying last year's cheaper shoes.  I am old fashioned in that I still like racing in racing flats (I bought New Balance Hanzos in 2019 which should last me another year of racing).  I highly recommend Solereview.com for in depth reviews of shoes.

What is your motivation? This is largely what changes the most for me.  I got back into running 8 years ago to get a little exercise and was interested in getting faster.  I thought I would do shorter races and did Senior Games track.  It became clear that I was not a speedster so I gradually started training and racing longer distances.  I am motivated by training for marathons and qualifying for bigger races.  In 2020 my commute shortened and I just ran most days for the sake of running.  It really helped deal with staying at home in a public health emergency.  Then late in summer 2020 I had an injury and related (brief) hospitalization.  I basically could not run much for around 3 months.  I very gradually got healthy enough to run normally and I was really grateful just to run in 2021.  I was motivated to train a bit harder in 2021 and create goals that push me a bit because you never know what will happen (and running may not always be an option).  I try to be grateful now that I am running and have (for now!) several marathon goals in 2022. 

Carrying Vermont Flag at opening ceremonies for National Senior Games back in 2016

What is your favorite race? Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Favorite running book/film?  It may be somewhat dated but “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” (book and movie) confronts a lot of important issues.  It may not be a “running” movie but the climatic and final scene is a cross country race. Unlike nearly every other running movie, losing becomes a deeply symbolic act.  Speaking of losing, “How to Lose a Marathon” is a decent book with a great title.

What does your daily workout consist of?  A good chunk of the year I have weekly mileage goals so I usually run a distance that fits into my schedule and gets me to that weekly goal.  I am lucky that there are so many good roads to run on near my house.

What is your diet like? I am a vegetarian who tries to avoid simple carbs.

What are your priorities in running?  First is to be a runner (this may be the long lost Philosophy major in me coming out).  It certainly feels like you are a runner when you run year round and often with no training goals.  Second is to not to be injured.  I try to vary my workouts and do some strengthening but mostly despite my third priority below I try not to do too many hard workouts.  I always try to gradually increase training levels if I am trying to get faster or stronger.  Finally I want to do something I have not done before each year.  This may mean a faster race distance (got some fastest personal times in 2021) or a new training challenge (tried a 100 mile week in 2020) but while I am trying to do something better the goal is pretty flexible. 

Manchester City Half Marathon 2021

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