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January 10, 2022
B.A.A. Masters Women are December Athletes of the Month
Team takes M40 title at Club Nationals
Winners of the USATF Club National Masters Women's Age 40+ team title, the
Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Women's Masters
cross country team are the USATF-New England Athletes of the Month For December 2021.
The team was part of a large B.A.A. squad which raced at Club Nationals in Tallahassee, Florida on December 11, contesting the Masters (Age 40+) Women's 6K. First B.A.A. finisher in the race was
, who ran to an overall fourth place finish among all masters in a blazing 22:52.9; that performance also brought her the W50-54 individual age group gold. Performance depth led the team to the title, as
followed with a 9th overall place finish in 23:36.5, and
clocked 24:40 to take 26th to secure the title. Backing them up was
, 32nd in 24:56.5.
A few weeks after their taking the team title, we spoke with the trio and coach Mark Carroll to hear about the accomplishment and more.
For Karolyn Bowley:
You led your team to a National championship this past month, an amazing accomplishment. Where does this rank as a team title in comparison to many of your other accomplishments?
The whole experience was amazing! Given the fact that it was my first time to run in any team nationals and winning, just made it even sweeter! We have a small, but very talented team of BAA masters women! I’m excited to be part of this winning team and look forward to it growing!
How have you maintained such a high level of fitness for such a long running career?
Running is my passion and it’s a part of who I am! I can’t imagine starting my day without an early morning run or workout! Thanks to the BAA for affording me the opportunity to proudly race in yellow and blue and to my amazing coaches, Bob Rothenberg and Jon Barnes. I have learned so much about myself as a competitive runner and continue to do so…even at age 52! I try not to put too much pressure on myself, but each race motivates me for the next one!
As the indoor American record holder in the 1500m, what are your goals for the upcoming indoor track season?
For now, Indoor track has been put on hold due to the pandemic. I’ve decided to focus on the outdoor roads and train for the Boston Marathon in April! I haven’t been back since 2017 and look forward to heading back to Hopkinton!
For Erika Holroyd:
You have just recently moved to New England from the midwest. What it has been like to find a great team in the B.A.A. Has it helped make the move easier and remain in running?
My husband and I moved to the Boston area in September 2020. With the pandemic in full swing, it was challenging in many ways, especially when it came to meeting other running groups. We crossed paths with the BAA during the virtual BAA 5K in April 2021 and have been part of the team since then. Until we started running with the group, I had no idea how much I had missed the dynamic of running with teammates! It was so refreshing to have those types of relationships again and was a real turning point for me and how I felt about our move to Boston.
How does it feel to win a national title in your first year with a new team?
I think the best two words are fun and proud. We went to the meet with winning as our goal, but I really tried not to think about it because I didn’t want to leave disappointed if we did not place. I just figured I would run the best race I could and hope for the best outcome. After our coach told us we won, I think we were all actually shocked! I was incredibly proud of myself and my teammates for gutting out a tough race. We had so much fun sharing this accomplishment together!
Have you picked up any new hobbies since your move from the midwest to the east coast?
If eating gourmet donuts is a hobby, then yes! We have found so many good donut shops in the Boston area I think I've needed to increase my weekly mileage to compensate.
For Heather Cappello:
You had quite the college career as a cross country All-American and NCAA track qualifier during your years at Providence College. How has it been transitioning from running at the elite collegiate level to jumping up to the professional level.
Thank you! I never made it to the professional level though. :) After graduating from college in 2002 I initially found it hard transitioning to the time of day that I could fit in a run. Instead of the afternoon, early morning or evening are the only options for me on weekdays.
To win a team title on the national scale, teamwork and confidence in each other has to come into play. How did you all use each other to motivate and bring out the best in each other to win the national title?
Speaking for myself, I used Karolyn and Erika who were ahead of me as motivation. I wasn’t having a great race and didn’t want to be the reason to miss out on a national title. Especially since they ran so well! They brought out my best on a bad day and I tried my hardest not to let too many runners pass me.
Would you rather be named an NCAA All-American like you were, or do you prefer the team national title? With running often viewed as an “individual” sport, how does it feel to have such a successful team?
I prefer the team national title. It’s exciting to have a successful team! I think it is more fun to celebrate accomplishments with a team. Definitely gives me motivation to get out the door for a run especially during the winter so that I will be ready to race my best at races to help the team place as high as possible.
For Coach Mark Carroll:
Run us through the trip - getting to Florida during the pandemic, preparing for the race, the race itself, and seeing the team win.
Booking a trip for almost 30 people to a small airport like Tallahassee proved to be a challenge so we ended up flying to Panama City Beach and we bused in from there. Otherwise, we followed the meet Covid protocols like everyone else and just got down to the racing! Our masters ladies started the day off great for the BAA with the win, and we followed up with some strong individual and team performances. Annie Rodenfels followed her 15:08 5000m a week earlier to finish in 3rd place individually in the Open championship. We all got to relax and enjoy a few hours at Panama City Beach before our flight home (see photo)
How did you get into coaching in the sport?
I ran professionally for 13 years after college and started coaching rising Irish distance runners in the late years of my career. I found it very rewarding and allowed me to pass on much of what I learned and experienced. I took coaching courses and also started to coach for the Irish National Team and coach at Auburn University in 2009.
What is your favorite part of coaching many different individuals at different talent levels while still having the team aspect in the sport of running?
Well, a team is made up of a group of individuals who are connected by common goals or passions. I like to use an analogy of a bicycle wheel - the spokes (members) are connected to the axel (vision or goals) which links us together. If the spokes are individually strong and committed to the goals and we have a strong support network and coaching (the rim) then we have a strong team (wheel), then great things can happen!
That’s Team BAA - Go Unicorns!