2008 Club Award Winners

The following club members were recognized for their achievements over the past year.
MEMBER OF THE YEAR GERALD “JERRY” HERMAN
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD DEAN COFFIN
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AUSTIN GEE
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD SCOTT HODUKAVICH
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RICH SZYMANSKI
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD DAVID JAMES
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RACHEL BLEACHER
RUNNER OF THE YEAR THERESA KAUFFMAN


2008 MEMBER OF THE YEAR
GERALD “JERRY” HERMAN

Along the road of life each of us chooses to focus on key elements as we move from changing roles of youth to adult, from career to retirement, from child to parent, then on to grandparent. Things like recreation & hobbies can often evolve to be a defining aspect of our lives. So it has been with Jerry. During the course of his life, Jerry has been keenly aware of the things that mattered the most to him: Family, Service to Country, Career, Friendship, and last but not least, Running.

Jerry enlisted in the US Air Force right out of high school. Eight years later he left active duty and began his civilian career. It wasn’t too many years after that when he joined the Delaware Air National Guard where he contributed nearly 26 years of additional service. He once ran Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in Saudi Arabia while his guard until was deployed for Desert Storm. Jerry’s running experience as a youth was mostly sprints & field events. He didn’t begin long distance running until he reached his 40s. His first race in the fall of 1984 was Brian’s Run in West Chester – and he’s been hooked on the sport ever since.

During Jerry’s involvement with the PCVRC Board of Directors, we have:
• Expanded the board to the current 9 members.
• Re-confirmed the club as a vital force in the Delaware running community.
• Worked to expand the membership base, and the involvement of members to benefit the club and the community at large
• In the role as President, Jerry is entering his 6th year.

Jerry is the example that any board member can look to for defining service to our club. He is quick to take on new & varied tasks to benefit Pike Creek in addition to his regular role as president. In the past year alone he has coordinated social functions, created a new tri-fold brochure, built & deployed our club banner at events, organized the marathon water stations, served on the Distance Classic race committee, reached out to recruit new members, and the list goes on & on. For everything he does for Pike Creek Valley Running Club Jerry Herman is our Member of the Year.

Jerry laments that his “fastest” days are behind him, but he still enjoys running & likes to race often. He has declared that 2009 will be his last year as President of our club. Hopefully for our sake he will continue serving in another role for many years to come, how would we get along without him?


2008 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
DEAN COFFIN

Dean Coffin joined PCVRC in 2005 after moving to Delaware the year before. He has been an active club member volunteering at the DDC 15K race & at the Delaware Marathon water station and most recently serving on the club’s Board of Directors as our Secretary. Dean has had some ups and downs in his 10 years as a runner, but he had his best year ever of racing last year.

Entering 2008 Dean had set 3 goals for himself: 1. Train smarter and go for personal records at every distance. 2. Be more active in the club. 3. Increase USATF participation and success for the club and its; members. He met all of these goals.

Dean’s accomplishments for 2008:
• Logged more miles than any previous year (745)
• Appointed to Pike Creek Board as Secretary
• Personally created role of “USATF Coordinator” for the club and help to increase racing participation. PCVRC was able to field a complete team at every event. PCVRC was the only club (of 10 local clubs) to finish in the top 3 of both the Road & the Trail circuits.
• Competed in all 10 USAFT Grand Prix races, plus the majority of the Trail races
• Won age group awards in 5 races
• Set the following new PR’s 2008:
8K 32:47 (Rothman) 10K 42:30 (BF Bridge) 15K 64:08 (DDC) 5 mile 33:47 (JCC Snowball) 10 mile 67:32 (Broad Street) Half marathon 1:33:58 (Caesar Rodney)

Dean finished the year with a nagging injury, plantar fasciitis but is on the men now. He is looking forward to 2009’s goal of Running his first marathon, continuing his service to the club, and chasing new PR’s as often as possible in a new age group 45-49!


2008 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
AUSTIN GEE

Austin Gee is the recipient of an “Outstanding Achievement Award” for two reasons. The first being his performance at the Delaware Marathon in 2008 with a time of 2:50:36. The second is his commitment to promote running throughout the community.

Austin grew up in Ann Arbor Michigan playing soccer and watching U of M football. He went to Albion and tried out for the soccer team, but was turned away for being too small. Later the cross country team picked him up and by his junior year he was the 10th runner on the team and a captain. Since then Austin has run countless races for Pike Creek and continues to improve.

After moving from Michigan to Delaware for an internship at Ashland Nature Center, Austin decided to move to Philadelphia for a teaching position. Along with his full time job as a teacher he is also involved in running programs throughout the community that teach the homeless or underprivileged children the values of working hard and being disciplined.

Every time Austin sets foot on the start line he seems to improve. The most inspiring thing about him is his ability to encourage everyone he meets, and showing them that there is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishing the goals you set for yourself.


2008 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
SCOTT HODUKAVICH

Scott is quite modest about his amazing running accomplishments. When told of this award, his first reaction was “not sure that I’m deserving. None of my PR’s are exceptional”. But those personal records included both half and full marathons, not mention that he ran over 10 races of at least marathon distance in 2008!

True to form, Scott didn’t know if he could attend this banquet since he had already planned a 25-30 mile training run in VA on the MMT 100 miler (Massanutten Mountain Trail) course where he’ll run in May. He says “I think it helps a lot to be familiar with the course and MMT is kinda challenging.”

Scott had 3 running goals for 2008, but says he “only did so/so with them.” One was to break a 21:00 5K, which he did it twice, “but with little room to spare.” They were the Haddonfield NJ Adrenaline 5K and the Reindeer Romp in Newark. Another goal was to qualify for Boston, but because of so many extremely long runs, it was difficult for him to incorporate speed work into his training. He was disappointed, even though he PR’d with a 1:38 Philadelphia Distance run (half) and a 3:43 Philadelphia Marathon.

His “ultimate” goal of running a 100 miler was attained, but he wasn’t entirely satisfied, since he was a mere 22 minutes past the official 30 hr cutoff time. That was the Vermont 100 in July, where he ended up with the distinction of being the last noted finisher. Smile, Scott. Completing a hundred mile race is remarkable!

He clearly prefers trail running, and since he likes beer he can “hash” with the best of them! Scott even got some Race Director by organizing his own hash. Many off-road distance events are informal and he enjoys “Fatass runs” (FA). “They’re not really races, but they’re frequently more memorable and more important to me than ‘real’ races.”

These were his races of 20 miles or longer:
January – PHUNT 50k (FA)
March – Buzzards marathon (FA) in Harrisburg
Catawba 35 mile (FA)
HAT 50K – PR’d with a 5:33
April – Bull run Run 50 mile
May – HUMP 50K
June – Laurel Highlands 70 miles (DNF’d at mile 57) –how many people ever get to say that?
July – Vermont 100 (3hrs 20 min.)
Sep – Stumpy’s Marathon (FA)
NCR 20 Miler
Oct – St George UT Marathon
Nov – Philly Marathon PR’s 3:43

Scott says that his personal 2008 highlights involved not racing, but pacing. He paced friends during portions of 100 mile races in NC and VA. He also “had a blast” volunteering at an aid station at MMT. He enjoys running with friends – Rebels, Traildawgs, Hashers, Pike Creekers, Tuesday night crowed at the track with Coach Fischer, team Vegan Philly runners. He appreciated the “awesome trophy” presented to him by the Rebel Runners, who felt that their “shaggy” deserved a much larger award than the token finisher item he officially received for completing the 100 miler!

His goal for 2009 is try again to BQ, “just to be able to say I did it”. But with his representation of our club in USATF events, PR’s numerous ultras, race director debut, support of fellow runners, and glossy magazine celebrity, Scott’s impressive achievement already speak for themselves.


2008 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
RICH SZYMANSKI

Rich Szymanski, 44, has been running since August, 2003 when he felt a change in lifestyle was in order. Rich as run a total of 13 marathons with personal records at both the Rock’n’Roll marathon in Arizona in 2005 as well as the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007, both run in 3:31:37. Last year he ran two marathons and a number of half marathons, including the Caesar Rodney Half-Marathon in March and the Virginia Beach Half-Marathon in September. He also complete the St. Andres Triathlon last year, his third triathlon overall.

However, Rich’s biggest accomplishment last year was in the Grand Priz Series, as he was the only runner to complete all the races in both the Road Race Series and the Off-Road Series. Rich continues to run consistently and he was injury-free last year. He is one of the senior members of the Rebel Runners and he can be frequently seen traversing the inside loops at the Delcastle Recreation Area with his fellow runners most days of the week. Rich’s continuing efforts and his consistent performance for the Club, particularly in the Grand Prix Series, have earned him an Outstanding Running Achievement Award.


2008 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
DAVID JAMES

About twelve years ago after fracturing his pelvis. David James was advised by a somewhat overweight orthopedic surgeon to forget running and stick to checkers. Needless to say David ignored the advise and continued to run competitively. However, last year was difficult year running wise and checkers looked more and more attractive as the year progressed.

David missed races in the early part of the year because of adductor problems but was able to run the Broad Street 10 Miler (62:02, 85.5% WAVA percentage). Training over the summer went well and the Dtone Harbor, despite being a very humid day, was David’s best race of the year. His time of 38:16 (84.2%) was within 10 seconds of Richard Webb’s Delaware state record. This race was followed by a resonable time for the Philadelphia Distance Run in 84:35 (83.4%) but running problems were already starting again.

During the PDR and subsequent races during the fall, David was plagued bt sciatica and upper hamstring problems. Many of his fellow runners noticed and often remarked (usually in a supportive way) while passing him in a race on his ugly running gait. David’s times significantly suffered but he was able to complete the Grand Prix Series and hang on to third place overall.

David has spent the winter trying to reslove his running problems through a combination of stretching, strengthening exercises and deep tissue massage. Mileage has been low but hopefully 2009 will be a better running year. And if all else fails, checkers anyone?

David also notes that sciatica and hamstring problems are contagious, since several of his aging running friends have developed the same conditation. However, considering all of his injuries, David still had an outstanding year in 2008 due to his determination and courage as well as his athletic ability. The club owes him a great deal for his willingness to compete in the Grand Prix Races. It is hard to imagine that our club would have finished third on the road-racing series without his fine effort.


2008 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
RACHEL BLEACHER

At the beginning of 2008, Rachel began running and was seen by many at the Delcastle as she struggled to complete a second loop. But the a lot of determination and hard training, Rachel complete the Nike San Francisco marathon in October in a time of 4.41, and thus earned herself the PCVRC Rookie of the Year Award.

Rachel was always a fan of sports, and she played soccer and volleyball in high school. Rachel’s running career started in college where she ran cross country, but was soon sideline with an injury. Once she had bought her house here in Delaware, she started running again for two reasons – to meet new friends and to get back into shape. It wasn’t long before she met the Rebel Runners and PC VRC members, and was quickly persuaded to run a marathon. After meeting with the Team in Training folks, Rachel decided to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and complete the Nike Women’s great experience in California – a state she never been to previously.

Rachel said she learned a lot from her first marathon, including the fact that not only do you have to be physically fit, but mentally in shape in order to get through those last miles. She says she now has more confidence and has transferred over to her day-to-day life. She would like to run another marathon and try to PR.

Aside from running, and her volunteer work as the Membership Chair for PCVRC, a little known fact about Rachel is that she likes to sing. She also enjoys golfing.


2008 RUNNER OF THE YEAR
THERESA KAUFFMAN

Theresa Kauffman started out 2008 with a Bang! The start of a warm and humid Walt Disney World Half Marathon started with fireworks which she ran in 1:36. Just a year later on December 31st Theresa was in Saratoga Springs, NY for the New Year’s Eve 5K with fireworks. The air temp was a frigid 6 and the wind chill was well below 0. The results of both races were the same for Theresa. Age-class victories.

In the twelve months in between both fireworks shows Theresa put on a show of her own. More than thirty-three races in 11 states that covered over 236 miles! In 2008 Theresa showed her road-running versatility by competing in events from 5K to the Marathon. She ran off road (DE XC Championships), she ran up mountains (run to the Top of Vermont). She ran Half Marathons (6 in 6 states including New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and place in each event). She ran small races (First woman overall in Brockville, Ontario’s Harvest 5K in 20:57). She ran big races (Utica Boilermaker & the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in D.C.). She ran and placed in many local races. (Buffalo Stampede 10K, Mary Husty 5K, Lewes Firecracker 4th, Lance Armstrong 5K, and an age class course record time of 43:07 for the MS 10K on Thanksgiving Day.) She also ran her 8th Boston Marathon in 3:35.

What made this year so successful? Successful because of several simple principals that she follows:
1. Have fun
2. Add variety to your training and racing and most importantly
3. Stay Healthy
4. Enjoy training with friends, as much as possible
5. Have some goals throughout the year to keep motivated.

Besides running Theresa includes cross training into her weekly regime. Theresa has maintained a healthy balance that has allowed her to perform at a top level for the last several years while over age 40. Yoga, aerobic, weight-training, stretching, and spin-classes are all included in her regular visits to the Hockessin Athletic Club. She believes “cross training is the key to staying healthy and strong year round”. She even reached on of her personal goals, riding the “Bike to the Bay” both ways in 2008. Who can argue with the results?

Even with all of her varied running accomplishments none meant as much to Theresa as the efforts she made toward the Mid-Atlantic USA Track & Field Grand Prix Series. This year Theresa placed 4th Overall Female. She ran and scored in 9 of the series events and helped the PCVRC earn 2nd place in the club competition. It means a lot to her to be part of a team as she got her start many years ago as a member of the University of Maryland Cross Country Team. She credits this experience with the close attachment she feels as part of PCVRC team and trying to give my best each race. She also enjoys the car rides with fellow teammates that help her stay positive with many daily struggles we all face as moms, wives, and athletic women.

She is proud to run for Pike Creek. There are so many other outstanding athletes who run for the club like David James, Bob Taggart, Dean Coffin and Debbie Compton. Yes, for Theresa 2008 was a very special year indeed.