Thanks to the resolve and leadership of longtime Ann Arbor Track Club member, Carol Poenisch, women ages forty years and up, now have the opportunity to compete as part of an Ann Arbor Track Club sponsored team in the USATF Masters Long Distance Running Club Grand Prix, a collection of championship races spread out across the country over the course of a year.
“I’m thankful other people are getting involved,” commended Doug Goodhue, the driving force in the establishment of the AATC men’s teams once USATF first introduced its Masters Grand Prix Circuit seven years ago.
“Carol is willing to do the work and help promote the teams,” Goodhue continued.
Poenisch who ran for an Amateur Athletic Union team while training for the Olympics in the early ‘60s, values the benefits of having teammates to run with and share the racing experience.
“As I’ve gotten older, it’s become harder to find other women who run around my same pace,” Poenisch commented. “Being on a team has helped me to find new training partners, increase my motivation and get stronger and faster.”
Whilst still in its infancy, Carol along with teammates, Melissa Broyles, Erin LaRusso, Nancy Schubring and Mary Aseltyne, ran strong in their first team event at the Dexter-Ann Arbor USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships June 3, 2018 owning first place in the Women’s 40+ division with a combined effort of 4:50:31.
“I was really happy we were finally able to put a masters team together for Dexter-Ann Arbor,” enthused LaRusso. “Mitch (AATC President) and I have talked about getting a team together; it’s not easy. I think women feel intimidated competing, but you would be surprised how well you run against other masters. The races are competitive, yet fun and supportive. I hope we can encourage more over forty women to run for the team and maybe get a few more wins!”
Masters women aged forty and over are encouraged to contact Poenisch, firstname.lastname@example.org / 248-207-2357, who is actively recruiting runners for the 40s, 50s and 60s teams. Carol notes that while team members must join the Ann Arbor Track Club and USATF, all paces are welcome. In addition, runners are eligible for individual awards in tandem with the team competition.
To learn more about the AATC and the Masters Long Distance Running Club Grand Prix and its remaining 2018 competitions, please visit http://aatrackclub.org and http://www.usatf.org/MGPresults.aspx respectively.