By Seth Daniel
The Town Track program is growing in accolades, and this weekend the popular running club for all ages will play a major role in the Boston Marathon events.
Coach Sean Nyhan told the Patriot Bridge that the Club will have several adult runners in the Marathon this year running for charity, and their middle school runners will be part of the invitation-only 20th Annual Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Relay Challenge.
“This weekend will act as our Opening Day for Town Track and that’s earlier than we ever have had it,” Nyhan said. “That’s because we were invited by the BAA to participate in the Relay Challenge with our middle school runners. We’re representing Charlestown and Boston in the relay. Usually, every year, they pick teams from along the racecourse to compete in the relay. They always choose a Boston group, but it’s never been Charlestown. It’s always been other areas of the city.
“We’re getting more acknowledgement from the BAA because they see us at the Mayor’s Cup now and at other track events,” he continued. “They recognize that we’re very competitive.”
Nyhan said they will take a full slate of kids, likely 50 or more runners from the Middle School program. He added that another runner from Town Track qualified for the BAA Invitational Mile event on Saturday morning as well – a very exclusive race.
“This middle school stuff we’re doing is really taking off,” Nyhan said. “It’s really cool we’re being invited to compete.”
Nyhan said the Town Track Club has catapulted recently after a very humbling start. Now, it appears the sky is the limit.
“We’ve really jumped in the rankings as a club,” he said. “We won our first Mayor’s Cup in cross country last fall and we’re a Top 10 team nationally. When we started, we used to get slaughtered by the other teams, but we’re one of the better teams now. This year we have an opportunity to go to Junior Olympics in California. We are really making Charlestown a track town.”
Adults are also in the mix too.
Co-Coach Christian Blondin – a world-class runner in his own right – is competing in the 8th Annual BAA 5K on Saturday.
Four runners will be competing for Town Track in the actual Boston Marathon on Monday, also. Running will be:
- Mark Reed
- Courtney Walsh
- Kelly McManus
- Shelagh O’Connell
Additionally, long-time supporters Joe and Jessica DeRoeve are fundraising for the runners as well.
“Every year we have a good presence in the Marathon and it’s not well known in Charlestown that we have an adult running club too,” he said. “We have people from age 80 to age 5 that run with us. We’re not just for kids. We have a great presence in the Marathon.”
Nyhan and Blondin both also continue to be very accomplished in their own right. Nyhan said they have both qualified to go to the Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR, this summer to compete in a Master’s Division race. That, he said, demonstrates that the coaching for the young people and adults is top-notch. Nyhan, a former college track coach at University of California Santa Barbara.
“Charlestown kid will have the opportunity to go to major track events,” he said. “We believe track and field can be transformational and these opportunities that are coming up are awe inspiring. We still don’t have tryouts and you can do as much as you want. Right now in Charlestown you can go all the way to the Olympics. We have all the contacts there and the coaches are there too. It’s a great opportunity.”