When I was young, I remember driving in to Ashland and watching the Boston Marathon. I would cheer on every athlete out there, because they were amazing to be out there, running Boston. Running that far seemed so incredible, and it didn’t matter to me where they finished…they were inspirational to be doing it. It inspired me to be a runner, and started the dream of someday achieving something as incredible as the marathon.
I’ve run for most of my life, and while I’ve enjoyed races of all distances and all terrains, I found my true passion with trail running and ultrarunning. Perhaps I’m a masochist, because the longer the better…the tougher the better…I crave adventure. I’ve started by running the Seven Sisters Trail Race, then bumped up to 50k, 50 mile, and ultimately 100 mile races (with two more coming this summer), most recently I tried stage racing by competing in the 6-day 120 mile stage race over the Colorado Rockies. I enjoy pushing my limits and continuing to learn about myself through distance running. I feel at home in the community that trail and ultrarunning provides.
Running has given me so much – it has given me an outlet for my energy and passion. It has given me a community of training buddies and Western Mass Distance Project teammates that inspire and motivate me. It has given me confidence in myself that I lacked for so long. Several years ago it found me my husband and gave us common ground to share. Most recently, running has given me the opportunity to represent my country and race on an international platform at the IAU World Trail Championships, fulfilling the dream of my youth to wear USA across my chest and run for my country. Even better, it is allowing me to share this opportunity with my husband, Brian Rusiecki, who has also been selected for the US Team.
The World Trail Championships, taking place in Wales, will be a 75k technical trail race in early July. The 10-person team includes three New England runners: myself, Brian, and Ben Nephew (Inov8). I think that the technical rocky terrain we play on in New England will serve us well when we race this challenging course in Wales, and played into the selection heavy on east coasters.
I think my feelings on this are summed up well by Sabrina Little, who recently competed on her first US team at the World 24 Hour Championships:
“There are some exclusive clubs that are difficult to gain access to, but once you get in, life is easier. You can relax. Take Ivy League institutions, for example. A U.S. National Team is not like that. Earning the American singlet is difficult, and once you do that, more is demanded of you because running is no longer a singular pursuit. You represent your country—your coaches, your family, and your freedoms. It was weighty, so I was feeling anxious.” - Sabrina Little, US 24 Hour Record Holder, on her first US Team selection.
Unfortunately, USATF does not support the US Trail Running Team at this time. To support our effort in Wales, click here.
Level Renner published an article here: http://www.levelrenner.com/2013/05/22/living-the-dream/
Springfield Republican also posted an article here: http://www.masslive.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/06/on_the_run_south_deerfields_br.html
DFLUltrarunning interviewed Brian and I for a podcast here: http://detroit9.podbean.com/mobile/2013/06/11/episode-12-the-rusieckisthe-wendlendtsjoe-fejes/