Fostering The Culture Of Fitness

Boston Teams: Greater Boston Track Club

Posted by Will Allen

Apr 14, 2014 11:00:00 AM

If you talk to someone who was into running in Boston in the 1970s and 80s and mention the names Bill Rodgers, Randy Thomas or Alberto Salazar, you're sure to see that person's face light up, and hear comments about how they dominated distance running. They were also members of the elite Greater Boston Running Club, or GBTC.

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Bill Rodgers winning the 1980 Boston Marathon

GBTC was founded in 1973 when Boston College senior Jack McDonald gathered Bill Squires, Bob Sevene, Don Ricciato, Kirk Pfrangle, Dick Mahoney and Dave Elliott together to assess interest in forming a track club for the post-collegiate runner. Later adding running legends Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar, the GBTC would go down in history as one of the greatest-ever amateur distance running clubs in the world. Accolades included Boston Marathon wins in 1978 and 1979, multiple top 10 finishes in the Boston Marathon, more than 20 New England titles at various distances from 1973-1980; six consecutive U.S. 25K road racing team titles beginning in from 1974-1979, and numerous others. 

ESPN.com: 12 Days: Bill Rodgers sees race as a healer.

These guys were fueled by a passion for running and competition. On the GBTC website they tell a story of Randy Thomas and two of his teammates going to the 1977 Penn Relays with barely enough money to pay for fuel, hotels, food, and repairs on Randy's car. They didn't care though, there passion was running, and they were determined to race.

That passion has been passed down to the many runners that have followed them. I went out for a run with current GBTC member and friend Victoria Barnaby to learn about her experience training and competing with the GBTC:

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Victoria Barnaby in center, #478 (photo by GBTC ass't coach Rod Hemmingway)

One of the themes that shined through in our conversation was the sense of community within the team. They have runners of all different distances and speeds; runners competing in national competitions and locals races; runners who train twice a day and runners who train a few times a week. But whether they're training for the Boston Marathon or a local 5k, to a person they've always encouraged community and competition.

"I'm so lucky to found GBTC when I did. The group has been like family to me," Victoria tells me. "I joined when I was 19 turning 20 and have been on the team for over 5 years now. GBTC has helped me achieve so much not only in the sport of running, but especially in my career and personal life. I've benefited from the coaching staff, support of my teammates (who are more accurately dear friends) and even financially from GBTC."

When Victoria first joined the Greater Boston Track Club, she was a college student at Boston University. Due to a past injury, BU felt it was too risky to let her join their team. Undeterred and determined to run, she found the GBTC which welcomed her into their team. In her years training with the team, she has run a 5:00 1 mile, holds the GBTC record at the Steeplechase, and competes at distances as short as 3000m and as long as 20 miles. "I personally went from a very good-to-average runner to a sponsored runner for GBTC because of their club system." The club helps to subsidize out of pocket expenses related to race fees, race travel, sports gear, and high level coaching.

Through hard work, supported by a strong community, Victoria and many GBTC members past and present have found success, whether by setting personal records or winning the Boston Marathon.

Curious to learn more about the Greater Boston Track Club? Test out a practice! Tuesday nights, 7 PM at Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

 

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Topics: Local Teams, Boston Teams

Boston Social Athletes announces social partnership with E3 Triathlon Team

Posted by Will Allen

Mar 26, 2014 11:08:00 AM

Boston Social Athletes is excited to announce a new social partnership with E3 Triathlon Team (E3TT). E3TT is a multisport endurance team committed to creating a friendly and supportive environment for athletes of all levels to train, socialize, and compete in triathlon, running, and cycling events locally, across the country, and around the world.

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When head coach Jorge Martinez (in center in photo above) approached me a few weeks ago with the idea of making our monthly socials his team's monthly socials, I was intrigued with the idea. When we spoke, he mentioned that "while a Tri only social can be appealing, I personally love the idea to get different groups of active people together. That way people can share experiences across sports and help/support each other." The minute I heard those words, I knew it was the perfect partnershipThis is exactly what Boston Social Athletes is all about.

This idea of strength in the community was mirrored by team president Jeff Williams. "One of the most important things to note about E3, and one of the main reasons why we see such alignment with BSA, is based on the fundamental belief that a team can not depend on a competition alone. E3 athletes are not only dedicated to their own constant athletic improvement, but are also socially minded citizens, dedicated to providing an encouraging, positive environment to their teams. They also consider themselves ambassadors to their team, sponsors, and endurance sport community."

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From BSA's perspective, we're excited to have a dedicated, successful, and most importantly fun group of multi-sport athletes joining our diverse, active, fun group of athletes from many different sports every month. Our goal has always been to foster the culture of fitness by creating new connections and opportunities within Boston's athletic community.

The E3 Tri Team has both amateur and elite training groups. The amateur team is deeply committed to creating a friendly and supportive environment in which they welcome athletes of all athletic levels to train, socialize, and compete in triathlons, road races, and other endurance events. E3 Elite is an invite only branch of E3 Racing dedicated to a select group of aspiring and emerging amateur athletes, whom have proven to be among the premier athletes in their discipline. Athletes of this group represent E3 Racing at the highest level, consistently qualifying for and competing in renowned events such as Ironman World Championship at Kona, Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and the Boston Marathon.

E3TT's first social with BSA will be at our April Social, coming up on April 8th. If you're interested in learning more about E3TS, come to our April Social and ask for Jorge!

Boston Social Athletes is an organization focused on fostering the culture of fitness by creating a central community for athletic individuals, teams and organizations, whereby people can connect socially, share ideas, network for business, and promote a healthy, fit lifestyle. Click here to learn more about mission.

 

Join us in April!

 

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Topics: Local Teams, Community

My experience watching the Boston Red Sox win the 2013 World Series!

Posted by Will Allen

Oct 31, 2013 2:25:00 PM

When the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers to clinch the ALCS and go on to the World Series, I made the decision to not make the same mistakes I made in 2004 and 2007. In 2004 I had an opportunity to drive up from Poughkeepsie, NY where I went to college, to be in Boston for game 4 of the World Series, but instead I passed on it because I had rowing practice the next morning and a test the next day. In 2007, I was living in Cambridge and most definitely had the opportunity to be in Boston for game 4 of the World Series, but instead I stayed home because I had rowing practice this next morning. I will regret those decision for the rest of my life. As for yesterday, I was NOT going to make that same mistake again!

After work, Boston Social Athletes co-host and good friend Kim Fox and I planned to meet up to watch the game at a bar near Fenway to be part of the excitement. We ended up at Bar Louie on Brookline Ave, just a couple blocks away from the park.

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Luckily the line to get in was ONLY a block long (the line for Cask 'N' Flagon was almost to Kenmore Square...), and was moving slowly but surely. When we got in, there was not a free seat in the house. Luckily, Kim spotted two older guys at the bar and had a gut feeling they might be going to the game. Being the social person that she is, she struck up a conversation with these two guys, and found out they were indeed going to the game. When they got up to leave, they gave us their seats right at the bar, right in front of a TV! The energy in the bar was ELECTRIC! Everyone was intently watching the game, roaring at every hit, run, strike, and double play. By the top of the 9th inning, with three outs to go to win, you could feel the tension building. Then the final moment came: Koji Uehara pitched a third strike to catcher David Ross, then the tension was released:

 

 

In that moment, EVERYONE become best friends with EVERYONE! Soon after when we left the bar, we encountered the massive crowd of baseball fans and the massive amount of law enforcement. The Boston Police had created staged barricades to keep people from moving toward the park. Since we were prevented from walking to Yawkey Way or Landsdowne Street, we walked towards Landmark Center to try and loop around. The farther away we got, the larger the crowds got!

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To get back towards downtown Boston, we had to walk south into The Fens neighborhood as Boylston St was completely blocked off. As we walked toward Massachusetts Ave, the now iconic image shining over the city came into view: 

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When we got to Mass Ave, Kim and I parted ways and I headed towards Cambridge. As I rode my bike across the bridge, one last image came into view:

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As I finished my bike ride home, I thought to myself that this win was such a fitting finale for this Red Sox team that rallied around the city after the Boston Marathon bombing. I think David Ortiz said it best, "THIS IS OUR F*CKING CITY!" 

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Topics: Local Teams

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Writing about the culture of fitness in Boston, events, training ideas, nutrition, local athletic clubs, and more! Interested in becoming a contributor to the blog? Send us a message and let us know!

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