Member Submission

Welcome Hannah Taska to the UVRC Board

By: Jim Burnett & Hannah Taska

The UVRC Board is thrilled to announce its newest member, HANNAH TASKA!

Interview questions from Jim Burnett and Hannah’s inspiring answers follow.

When did you start running and what motivated you to do so? 

I was a fast runner in the context of the other sports I played in middle school, and also enjoyed time trials with my brother on the swamps and roads near my house. My parents have always been active and inspired in me a love of hiking, running, and other sports. As a homeschooler, I joined sports teams in high school for the physical enjoyment, sense of accomplishment and confidence, and the social connections (in fact it was my primary way of connecting with peers at the time). 

After a year break from sports teams my freshman year of high school, and a soccer and basketball season, I joined track sophomore spring, likely because I was relatively good at running and track appealed to me most out of the available sports. I also shifted to nordic skiing junior year and cross-country senior year, motivated by the friendly team-mates, personable coaches, co-ed environment, and the excitement and satisfaction of training and of competing. My dad also encouraged me and trained with me on week-ends and in the summer.

I joined the cross-country and track teams at Colby College for some similar and some different reasons. I liked the coach and my team-mates, appreciated the structure and stress relief of the daily runs, and enjoyed the excitement of the work-outs and competitions. 

In addition to the benefits I mentioned before, running energizes, uplifts and relaxes me. Going for a run helps me feel satisfied with my day and in a positive mood for my other life activities. I also enjoy the chance to explore the Upper Valley and other places through running, whether on my own or with running friends.

How did you hear about UVRC and what prompted you to want to join the club?

I heard about UVRC through my boyfriend at the time, who was working at Omer and Bob’s, where UVRC runners gathered every Saturday morning. He recommended the club to me, I think because he knew I liked to run and he wanted to help me find social connections (I had recently moved to the area to be with him). I think that I also was looking for ways to meet new people, and as soon as I got involved in the club, I found UVRC runners to be a friendly and welcoming bunch.

Which club activities - race series, workouts, group runs and social events do you most enjoy?

I would say I most enjoy our Saturday group runs, when I have the chance for longer conversations with running friends or with someone new, and our Tuesday Night Track (TNT) runs, for the excitement and camaraderie of keeping pace with those near my speed. I do also enjoy getting treats at Lucky’s or pizza at Ramunto’s after runs, and the novelty and bonding experience of travelling to away races with the club!

What made you decide to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Did you enjoy the experience? What is most memorable about the experience?

My dad had run Boston and other marathons multiple times and it seemed to me that many runners viewed it as somewhat of a shared lifetime goal to run Boston at least once. I decided to try to qualify for Boston at Philadelphia because I too wanted to meet this goal of running the Boston Marathon, for the excitement and challenge of it and the camaraderie with other runners who have shared this experience. Having run both the Burlington, VT and Philadelphia marathons, I also had gained some confidence and the sense that I wanted to pursue some improvement in the marathon.

I had an exciting though also challenging experience with the Boston Marathon in 2018; overall I would say I enjoyed it, even though my body wasn’t enjoying it so much at times during the race. I appreciated the chance for the experience, and it was definitely an exciting and satisfying challenge. At the same time, one of the most memorable parts is that it was a cool and rainy day, which contributed to tight hamstrings for me and an alright but not outstanding time. Nonetheless, the dramatic conditions added to the excitement in a way, and there was still an impressive number of people cheering us on despite the weather. Another memorable part of the experience was sharing it with my dad, who came along to support me for the week-end, including cheering me on in the rain and taking me out to lunch afterwards in a warm cafe with a family friend.

You are now what I would call a serious and committed runner. What is your long-term running goal? 

Many of my longterm running goals are ongoing. I would like to continue to build friendships and other social connections through running and to inspire others to do the same. I want to continue to find emotional benefit, stress relief and inspiration in running. I would like to continue to run as long as it is healthy and possible for me to do so. I aspire to be a future Jim Burnett or Betsy Gonnerman! I also want to find more ways for running at a serious level to be consistently compatible with my gardening work and cross-training activities.

As for specific running goals...those are evolving, but currently include breaking 3:00 in the marathon (with 3:10 as a backup plan) and perhaps 1:25 in the half marathon. I would like to run the Mt. Washington Road Race. I also think it would be exciting to run a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle course race at some point in my life. 

Please include anything else you would like to say about joining UVRC.

Being in UVRC has helped me connect with a community of enthusiastic runners of all ages, including forming strong friendships. I feel at home in the company of UVRC runners and know I can count on my team-mates to help me get through tough runs, to engage in friendly and fascinating conversations, and to keep coming back for more work-outs. Joining UVRC also has encouraged me to think more about all the reasons why I run and to think about running as an important part of my life. 

I am happy to have been invited and welcomed to the board recently. I joined the board because I wanted to be part of discussions about a variety of ways our club can benefit its members and other runners in the community. As a board member I would like to inspire and help others to become involved in and stick with running and have it enhance their lives as it has enhanced mine. I look forward to being even more involved in the club that has given me so much!

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