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October 10, 2020
The Heartbreakers Tortorello, Bourguet named September Athletes of the Month
Codfish Bowl winners take September honors
(Boston, MA/The Heartbreakers) and
(Somerville, MA/The Heartbreakers) have been named USATF-New England’s Athletes of the Month for September 2020. Both Tortorello and Bourguet won their race at the Codfish Bowl at Franklin Park and their performances contributed to The Heartbreakers’ men’s and women’s team titles at the race. The race was the first in-person USATF-NE event since February.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy Tortorello served as an assistant coach for The Heartbreakers’ treadmill studio. While the treadmill studio has been out of use due to health precautions, she has still been active with her team as a member of the captain’s council.
Last September, Tortorello sustained a stress fracture in her sacrum that sidelined her from running for six months. She returned at the end of February and rapidly returned to form with her win at Codfish coming in her first race since the injury.
As a collegiate athlete, Stephen Bourgeut was the captain of Brown University’s D1 Cross Country team. He competed in the 8k, achieving a personal-best time of 24:53.6 as a senior. Outside of his running career, Bourgeut is a doctoral student at Harvard University, where he is studying earth and planetary sciences.
USATF-NE spoke with Amy and Stephen about their performances.
USATF-NE: Could you tell us about your role on The Heartbreakers?
AT: Dan Fitzgerald kind of pulled together a handful of leaders from different parts of the team to sort of come up with, not just running events and things like that, but giving back to the community and stuff like that. We call it the captain’s council, we do lots of different things. We’ve been meeting like once a month, especially during COVID times, trying to think of ways to keep the team together despite not being able to be together all the time.
USATF-NE: How have you been able to keep the team together?
AT: I think we’re really lucky. I think our community here is very strong, and I think there’s a ton of people all over the city who have a very strong emotional connection to The Heartbreakers. We’ve done a lot of events to support people who have done virtual races, we did some events around women’s history month, we did some events collaborating with some other running clubs around the city, namely the pioneers run crew and unnamed run crew with some runs against racism, and kind of just supporting team members virtually through virtual training runs, kind of getting out the excitement about anything and everything virtual that we can.
USATF-NE: How does it feel to be back to live racing?
AT: I thought it was great. I hadn’t personally participated in too many virtual races this year because I’m coming off a pretty big injury I had in the past calendar year, so this is the first race where I had worn a real bib in about 13 months. It was really special for me. Aside from the fact that I got to be back with my teammates, it was also really great to be out there. I’ve been out there doing some long runs and workouts by myself, but it was definitely really special to be putting in a hard effort with that team. Knowing that we have so many of us out there running together just gave me some chills. It was really good to be back out there.
USATF-NE: What event or race are you most proud of?
AT: I love any event that we run together as a team. We definitely tend to represent the Boston running scene really well, especially when we go into some races in other states, or races like Harpoon and things like that, where we can really show Heartbreaker pride. It’s a tough question for me to answer right now because I haven’t had a really good one in a while, but maybe last august when I was doing the Surftown Half Marathon in Rhode Island. I was doing it as a training run for a marathon I was training for right before I got injured. It was my first time I got to break the tape, I was the first place female so I got to actually break the tape, which I had never gotten to do before.
USATF-NE: Who would you like to thank?
AT: I would like to send a big thank you to Dan Fitzgerald and Justin Burdon for bringing us all together in the heartbreakers and my coach and really good friend Conor Cashin, who is our big GM and team manager, he’s definitely helped bring me out of the dark the last few months.
USATF-NE: Has it been difficult for you to find ways to train with your team during COVID?
SB: At first it was when we weren’t really sure what the rules were and what to be cautious about and whatnot. But over the past couple of months, it hasn’t really been too bad. We’ve been pretty consistently training together about twice a week. With people working from home, our schedules have been a little bit more flexible, so workouts have been easier to get in for that reason.
USATF-NE: How did it feel to get back to live racing?
SB: It was great, it was a lot of fun. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it until I was out there. I had only done one virtual race back in the spring, but it was really fun to be back with my team again and race with someone next to me rather than just imagining someone was there.
USATF-NE: Which race or event are you most proud of?
SB: I ran the California International Marathon last December, and ran 2:19 there, which was just short of my goal. What was really cool about that race is that it was the first time that, when I finished running, I just truly knew that I had given it everything I had. I fell over and almost fell asleep right when I finished because I was so tired in every sense of the word. I guess I take pride in the fact that I was really able to give it everything that I’ve got right now.
USATF-NE: Do you have a goal that you’re working towards right now?
SB: Things are unclear right now because we don’t know which races might happen and which races will be canceled, but I’m tentatively hoping to run a 10k next month. A couple of groups in the New England area trying to get together and doing a small track 10k, but obviously that’s very tentative. It depends on whether we can get a location, how many people can run if the location is secured, all the other precautions that are required. So right now I’m training for that, but it’s all very tentative.
USATF-NE: Who would you like to thank?
SB: In the most immediate sense, I would thank my current coach, Johnny Phillips, and my training partners. I train with Johnny, Jared Eichenelli, and Fitch Henry, and a few other guys. In the more lifetime sense, I would thank my high school coach, Steve Steiner, who was not only was a good coach in terms of my development as a runner but also developed my interest in running and giving me a lifelong passion for it.