Every year the Gate City Striders accepts nominations and performs calculations to recognize a few outstanding Striders.
In addition, the following racers are recognized:
The Gate City Striders Annual Awards Dinner culminates the previous year of hard work, running, and racing by honoring the accomplishments of select Striders. However, it also kicks off the new year with fresh motivation to pound the pavement, set goals, and contribute to the team. Though 2020 was an abnormal year with little in person racing and club competition, GCS still felt the need to recognize and honor Striders for their dedication to the sport, as well as contributions to the club and the community over the past year. While the awards being presented are less competition based than normal (due to lack of club racing), some new awards have been added to reflect the nature of 2020.
Check out the awesome Awards Video that we had this year!
Most Improved Runner/Leaps and Bounds goes to the Strider who has improved immensely over the year.
Winner: Thomas Cantara
Thomas continued to put in the hard work required to improve his running over the course of 2020, all while not knowing if the goal races he planned would happen. He PR’d in multiple distances including: the 5k, the Half Marathon, and the Marathon. His marathon PR improved by about 6 minutes and set a new state record for 30 year old males. Congrats Thomas!
Most Active Award goes to the Strider who participated in and ran the most GCS hosted races.
Winners: Phil Petschek and Johanna Lisle Newbold
Phil participated in two of the four Freeze Your Buns races, the entire Mine Falls Summer Trail Series, every Mine Falls Autumn Trail Series race, and several races in each Social Distance Race Series. Congrats Phil!
Johanna participated in all four Freeze Your Buns races, the entire Mine Falls Summer Trail Series, every Mine Falls Autumn Trail Series race, and every Social Distance Race Series race. Congrats Johanna!
Best Team Spirit/ Heart and Soul goes to the Strider who exhibited the best Team spirit throughout the year.
Winners: Rob Fiero and Amanda McCann
As stated in the words of fellow Striders:
Rob has “been so supportive of me since I've joined the Striders (just before the Pandemic) and I don’t think I would have made it through virtual Boston Marathon without him. Rob always has encouraging words of support.” He is “always checking in with so many of us and organizing runs, even if only 2 people, and supporting everyone in their goals.” Congrats Rob!
“You can't help but feel just a little bit happier when Amanda's around!” With all the virtual races amidst the pandemic, she “would just know if someone was running a virtual race and show up to cheer and offer encouragement. Her positivity and energy gave many Striders the boost they needed in 2020.” Congrats Amanda!
Determination in the Face of Adversity goes to a Strider who overcame Covid related obstacles to still complete their running goals.
Winners: Phil Petschek and Lea Reilly
Lea had an ambitious goal in 2020 of racing a half marathon each month, little did she know that her plans would be derailed early on, allowing for only 2 in person races. However, COVID did not stop her from completing her goal! Lea completed the virtual race option if offered or found a new race and completed her goal. Her positivity and can-do attitude inspired many of her friends to also keep going after their goals throughout the pandemic. Congrats Lea!
Phil was dedicated to moving in 2020, whether walking, running or hiking, despite the pandemic. He also spent countless hours helping others meet their goals, finish their long runs or races, and simply motivated them to get out. You almost can't go in Mine Falls (or anywhere) without running into him. Congrats Phil!
Frontline Hero goes to a Strider who is also a First Responder or Healthcare Worker and overcame Covid related obstacles while still working towards their running goals.
Winners: Edwin Emata and Melissa Wu
Edwin managed to push through the difficulties of the pandemic and still run 2,100 miles in 2020 while working as a full time Nurse at Southern NH Medical Center. He also completed several virtual and in person races in 2020 including the Manchester City Marathon. Congrats Edwin!
Melissa has continued a run/walk streak throughout the pandemic including daily inspirational and motivational Facebook posts while working as a Physician at Southern NH Medical Center. She has encouraged people to maintain their health and mental state through physical activity during this difficult time and many people have commented that they look forward to her post every day. Melissa also participated in virtual and in person races throughout 2020. Congrats Melissa!
Most Inspirational goes to a Strider who has the most inspirational running story.
Winner: Randy Pierce
Randy managed to work hard amidst many challenges in 2020 including the pandemic and losing his beloved guide dog Autumn. He surpassed his goal of running 2,020 miles, completed several virtual races including the Boston Marathon and a 54k. His word Wednesday posts continue to be inspiring to both runners and non runners alike. Congrats Randy!
Give Back to the Community goes to the Strider who organized efforts that benefited the local community outside of GCS.
Winner: Scott Rogers
Scott organized and directed the GCS Social Distance Race Series which allowed for donations to be presented to the Nashua Soup Kitchen, the United Way Emergency Relief Fund for Greater Nashua, and Marguerite’s Place. Many local non-profits were in great need in 2020 and Scott’s efforts allowed GCS and fellow runners to aid the community it loves and runs in. Congrats Scott!
Club Contribution/Connection Creator goes to the Strider who helped to create and continue a sense of connection and togetherness within the club
Winner: Brandyn Naro and Johanna Lisle Newbold
Brandyn organized virtual events to unite and challenge club members early on in the pandemic when everyone was coming to terms with race postponements and cancellations. The Virtual Marathon Mile Relay and Virtual 200 Mile “RTB” Relay provided lots of positive interaction and camaraderie within the club. Congrats Brandyn!
Johanna’s GCS Runs Nashua Challenge is bringing Striders together in a safe way, allowing team members to contribute to an overall goal through their individual runs. She has also contributed many positive and inspirational posts on social media while sharing her goals and training processes, even when she faced hardships throughout 2020. Congrats Johanna!
Volunteer of the Year/Outstanding Contributor goes to the Strider who goes above and beyond with volunteering for the club.
Winners: Ken Forrence and Carolina Tumminelli
Ken could be found at every Freeze Your Buns race in 2020 helping outside with the course setup and breakdown. He was also a volunteer on the Mine Falls Trail Series committee that put on both the regular Summer Series as well as a new Fall Series in 2020. Thank you and congrats Ken!
Carolina also volunteered at every Freeze Your Buns race in 2020 but helped indoors at the registration table. She has been the director of Fitness University for the past two years and (with the help of a small team) was able to still put on a fun virtual fitness offering for children full of activity ideas and challenges to participate in during the pandemic. Carolina also serves as a GCS board member. Thank you and congrats Carolina!
2019 GCS Racing Team Awards
Male: Brian Arsenault
Brian Arsenault made a strong impression in his first year as a Strider. During the 2019 racing season Brian ran in 3 out of the 4 club series for a total of 18 races. He was the only new Strider to complete not only one of the club racing series this year, but instead two, taking on the title of both Granite Runner and Mountain Goat.
Female: Debbra Uttero
In her first year as a strider, Deb Uttero ran in 5 NHGP races. She was our highest female 60’s age group scorer with a total of 18 points, falling just shy of the top three in her age group for the series. You also never see Deb without a smile, her positive energy is infectious and her love for running and the club has encouraged others to join the club.
Bounce Back Award
Male: Steven Hammar
In the fall of 2017 Steve suffered a stress fracture that took him out for all of the winter and was not able to return to running until summer of 2018. Pretty soon after his return, Steve suffered another major setback that kept him out of running until December 2018. The marathon he had run in 2017 to BQ would ultimately get him to the start line of Boston in 2019 but unable to fully recover in time, his Boston goals would wait another year. He did eventually get back to representing GCS on the XC circuit in 2019, taking third overall in the series this past fall, and is looking to continue that comeback into the NEGP circuit in 2020.
Female: Gina Joubert
Throughout the season there were many obstacles thrown Gina’s way including a bought of pneumonia and rough fall on a training run that resulted in stitches. These obstacles would’ve sidelined any runner for some length of time, but not Gina. Gina battled through these challenges and took 3rd in her age group for NHGP and completed 11 series races between NHGP and NEGP.
Leaps and Bounds Award
Male: Andrew Bragg
Andy has worked so hard and made incredible consistent progress this year. He challenges himself and takes risks by running with faster people yet he is always welcoming and open to running with whoever needs a buddy, despite pace. Andy has become much, much faster at every race distance including the marathon where he has dropped nearly 20 minutes on his marathon time in the last year. Andy has also been a consistent force across the racing circuit, having run 15 series races this year including taking on the title of Mountain Goat.
Female: Tara Towle
Tara stepped out of her comfort zone this year and represented GCS in all sorts of races from the mountains to the trails to the track. She raced in 13 series races across the NEGP, NHGP, Mountain, and XC series. Tara also took on the USATF All Terrain series this year. As she varied her races across the season her race pace continuously improved which resulted in a PR in the 10k this season.
A Tie! Male: Raymond Boutotte and Jacob Wormald
This season Ray ran all of the NHGP and Mountain series races, earning the title of Granite Runner and Mountain Goat. He also ran 2 XC series races and 1 NEGP race, taking his total club races to 19 for the year, the most team races ran by a strider this year. Ray also took first place in the men’s 70+ age group for the NHGP and completed the USATF All Terrain series.
Jacob Wormald also completed 19 club series races during the 2019 racing season! Not only has Jacob completed 19 races, but he was also often the fastest Strider at the races he competed in. He was the top runner in his age group for the NHGP, second overall in the age-graded results, and sixth overall in the cross country series. Jacob is a strong competitor and a great teammate.
Female: Beth Whipple
Beth competed across all four race series this year. She ran 3 NEGP, NHGP, and XC series races, and also ran 5 mountain races, for a total of 14 series races, the most of any female Strider this season.
Heart and Soul Award
Male: Mark Crane
Mark was dealt with both adversity and uncertainty this past year. Despite the challenge he encountered outside of running, he never let that slow him down and made enormous strides across the racing season including scoring 49 NHGP points, earning first in his age group at the CHaD ½ marathon, strong runs across the XC races, and a BQ in his first marathon. On top of all the success he had racing this season, his team spirit never went unnoticed. You could always count on Mark to bring a smile and laughter to any run. He brings out the best in those around him and keeps you pushing through a hard run. He is extremely supportive of all his teammates and has been invaluable in his role as club webmaster.
Female: Emily Cunha
Emily is, and I quote, “so goddamn cheerful to everyone everywhere”. She is responsible for many of the social events that GCS hosts as the social director, bringing Striders together outside of just running, which we are very thankful for. When it comes to running, Emily’s determination is infectious. She is a hard worker who inspires all those around her.
Male: Brandyn Naro
Brandyn completed in a total of 18 series races this season. As a Granite Runner, Brandyn earned 2nd in his age group with a total of 59 points in the NHGP. He earned the title of Mountain Goat and a third place overall finisher for the mountain series. He also put up a strong showing in the XC series.
Female: Amanda Naro
Taking first place in her age group with 54 points for the NHGP, Amanda earned the title of Granite Runner, having completed the entire series. This season Amanda also ran two NEGP races and three XC series races.
Outstanding Contributor Award
Male: Emmet Clifford
If you are at any Gate City event, odds are good that you will see Emmet there too. He volunteers at most of our club’s signature events, including the Freeze Your Buns and Summer Trail Series races. Emmet is willing to help out whenever and wherever needed. He is at most social events, has raced many NHGP races this season, and is always wearing GCS gear!
Female: Jennifer Jordan
The majority of Jen’s year is spent volunteering her time to the club. She has served as race director for the Summer Trail Series and also plays an important role in our youth running programs. Jen is a coach for both the GCS PAL spring track and fall cross country programs, bringing her XC team to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country meet in Madison, WI last month.
Boston Marathon Bib recipients: (Those runners whose participation and volunteering with the club earned them one of the Boston Marathon Bypass Bibs)
Johanna Lisle Newbold
2018 GCS Racing Team Awards
Male: Colin Smith
Colin joined the Striders in May 2018 and his impact was felt immediately as Colin helped secure our NHGP title with 20 points in the men's open division. He was also an active GCS member in the XC circuit helping complete the men's roster and consistently finishing as our second place GCS member behind only Jacob Wormald. He was the overall winner at the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day 5K and also ran on the Co-ed Open team at the Mill City Relay and helped bring his team to a first place finish!
Female: Kate Estep
Kate Estep has had a huge impact as a new GCS member helping the team out 18 points and podium finishes in two of the NHGP races. In addition to racing in the NHGP circuit she won the overall individual title for the Women's XC circuit this year and played a key role in leading the women to a team 3rd place finish in the series. Kate ran on the Women’s Open Team -Scrambled Legs and helped bring her team to a second place finish in that division!
Bounce Back Award
Male: Hein van den Heuvel
In October of 2017 Hein was having a triple bypass heart surgery that took him off the roads for a while. Most people would likely go through such a surgery and just hang up the shoes afterwards but Hein worked his way back into race shape and came out to race the CHaD 1/2 marathon in the NHGP series, finishing the race in under 2 hrs! He also ran with the team at the Mill Cities Relay.
Adrianna had been injured and came back in 2018 to PR in 8 different distances (5/10/15K, 4/5/10 miler, half marathon and marathon! She finished the Baystate Marathon, her second marathon, one hour faster than her first qualifying her for the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She ran all the NHGP and NEGP races earning both Granite Runner and Iron Runner!
Leaps and Bounds Award
Male: Paul Donovan
Paul set PRs in every distance he ran this year! He ran all the NEGP races and earned Iron Runner status. He ran 6 of the 8 NHGP races and earned 40 pts helping the team to NHGP win! He ran 3 hrs 18 mins at the Baystate Marathon qualifying him for the 2020 Boston Marathon. Paul also ran a Co-ed Seniors team at the Mill Cities Relay that earned 6 points towards the GCS victory.
Female: Suzanne Barker
Suzanne is a strong runner who became even stronger this year! She raised the bar on herself and set whole bunch of new PRs including a 9 minute marathon PR at the Baystate Marathon – qualifying her for the 2020 Boston Marathon! She also ran all the NEGP, earning Iron Runner status once again. She earned 38 points in the NEGP race series, scoring in all but 1 race and finishing in 2nd place in the Women’s 45-49 division. In the NHGP race series, she earned 11 points to help the team to victory!
Male: Brandyn Naro
Brandyn ran a total of 25 club races including all of the NHGP & NEGP races earning both Granite Runner and Iron Runner status. He ran 6 of the 8 Mountain Races, earning Mountain Goat status. He also ran 4 of the 5 XC Grand Prix races.
Female: Amanda Naro
Amanda ran a total of 16 races including all the NHGP races earning Granite Runner status. She also ran 5 of the NEGP races, 2 of the XC races and 1 Mountain series race!
Heart and Soul Award
Male: Phil Petschek
When you can’t run, you can walk and when you can’t walk, you can use a wheelchair! Phil ran, walked and even propelled himself in a borrowed wheelchair at the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day 5K to complete the entire NHGP race series. He never stopped cheering and encouraging everyone else on the team throughout the year. His spirit is infectious! He also earned Mountain Goat status by completing 6 of the Mountain Series races.
Female: Yuki Chorney
What CAN’T you say about Yuki?! She's an amazing & talented runner and an even more amazing supporter of the team! Her positive spirit and vibes are contagious! She is the head GCS Unicorn and spreads happiness and sunshine to all those around her.
Male: Brandyn Naro
Brandyn ran all 7 NEGP races to earn Iron Runner status. He also ran all 8 NHGP races scoring 73 points for the team and getting him to a 1st place age group finish in the 30-39 division. He also ran 6 of the 8 Mountain Series to earn Mountain Goat status and he ran 4 of the Grand Prix XC races! In the Mountain series, he placed 6th overall in the men’s division! And he was on the 4th place open men’s XC team! Brandyn had some additional responsibilities too as the NEGP & Mountain Series coordinator as well as the GCS Marathon & Half Marathon committee.
Female: Karen Long
Karen ran all 8 NEGP races to earn Granite Runner status and earned 69 points & was key in GCS winning the NHGP title! She was first in her division, female 50-59. She ran 1 NEGP race, the Lone Gull 10k and placed 3rd in her division earning 8 points for GCS. Karen ran the long leg on the Mill Cities Relay on the first place women’s senior team, the Quick Quintastics.
2017 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Emily Cunha and John Singlais
Leaps and Bounds Award: Lin Zhang and Mark Furler
Heart and Soul Award: Jen Jordan and Brandyn Naro
Ubiquitous Award: Suzanne Barker and Brian Ruhm
Breadwinner Award: Suzanne Barker and Trevor Ward
Rookie of the Year: Christine Houde and Steven Hammar
2016 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Lisa Klasman and Ken Snow
Leaps and Bounds Award: Amanda Naro and Nick Forrence
Heart and Soul Award: Emily Cunha and Rob Fiero
Ubiquitous Award: Lu Ann Laquerre and Tom Kolb
Breadwinner Award: Suzanne Barker and Brandyn Naro
Rookie of the Year: Lindsay Close and Mark Furler
2015 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Kristen Ewing and Mike Wright
Leaps and Bounds Award: Amanda McCann and Rob Night
Heart and Soul Award: Amy Doyle and Stephen Rouleau
Ubiquitous Award: Lauren Laquerre and Emmet Clifford
Breadwinner Award: Beth Whipple and Brandyn Naro
Rookie of the Year: Tara Towle and Rob Chisholm
2014 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Melissa Wu and Brian Ruhm
Leaps and Bounds Award: Amanda Naro and Bruce Conti
Heart and Soul Award: Amanda McCann and Phil Gaffey
Ubiquitous Award: Jessica Greenwood and Tom Kolb
Breadwinner Award: Aline /Emily/Leanne and Jim Long
Rookie of the Year: Larisa Dannis and Emmet Clifford
2013 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Leslie Why and Tyler Brannen
Leaps and Bounds Award: Beth Whipple and Mike Raymond
Heart and Soul Award: Emily Strong and Brian Kane
Ubiquitous Award: Aline Kenney and Brandyn Naro
Breadwinner Award: Lisa Klasman and Justin Soucy
Rookie of the Year: Shannen Ardenault and Moiz Jafferji
2012 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Wendy Newman and Terry Kenney
Leaps and Bounds Award: Melissa Wu and Stephen Rouleau
Heart and Soul Award: Leeann Ward and Richie Blake
Ubiquitous Award: Beth Whipple and Rich Stockdale
Breadwinner Award: Karen Pattelena and Todd Callaghan
Rookie of the Year: Kelly Aschbrenner and Tom Cassetty
2011 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Yuki Chorney and BJ Bottomley
Leaps and Bounds Award: Emily Soucy and Rick Roy
Heart and Soul Award: Theresa Berna and Dave Salvas
Ubiquitous Award: Jane Levesque and Trevor Ward
Breadwinner Award: Cathy Merra and Randy Macneill
Rookie of the Year: Meredith Dutton and Brian Ruhm
2010 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Tammy Gaffey and Dan Dugan
Leaps and Bounds Award: Lisa Klasman and Chris Poulos
Heart and Soul Award: Suzanne Barker and Oliver McMahon
Ubiquitous Award: Jennifer Vincent and Tom Kolb
Breadwinner Award: Karen Long and Ken Snow
Rookie of the Year: Nicole Rogers and Justin Soucy
2009 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Julie Hanover and Steve Piper
Leaps and Bounds Award: Sue Donovan and Miller Merra
Heart and Soul Award: Jennifer Mack and Jim Velino
Ubiquitous Award: Karen Pattelena and John Lewicke
Breadwinner Award: Cathy Merra and Rich Smith
Rookie of the Year: Kristen King and Alex Brown
2008 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Aline Kenney and Steve Wolfe
Leaps and Bounds Award: Amber Cullen and Dan Ferriera
Heart and Soul Award: Laura Rallis and Mark Sage
Ubiquitous Award: Janice Platt and Len Hall
Breadwinner Award: Karen Pattelena and Reno Stirrat
Rookie of the Year: Cassie Wright and Steve Tomasi
2007 Award Winners
Bounce Back Award: Lori Lambert and Brian Coates
Leaps and Bounds Award: Robin Carlson and Ken Snow
Heart and Soul Award: Janice Platt and Tom Kolb
Ubiquitous Award: Heidi Havron and Rich Stockdale
Breadwinner Award: Cathy Merra and Mike Wright
Rookie of the Year: Kerry Litka and Ethan Crane