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Quigley, Lewy Boulet Capture U.S. 20K Crowns

Stephanie Rothstein is the surprise runner-up in the women’s race.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Under clear blue skies with hardly a hint of wind, Sean Quigley and Magdalena Lewy Boulet both captured their first USA 20K road running titles in New Haven on Monday at the 33rd Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race, part of the USA Road Circuit.

Lewy Boulet, 37, of Oakland, Calif., dominated the women’s race in 1:07:41 despite being fatigued from a high-mileage week, part of her build-up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 10.  She had finished a distant third here last year to masters ace, Colleen De Reuck.

“I’m still in training, about five weeks out from the big race, from Chicago,” Lewy Boulet said after the race.  “I decided not to taper for it, but train through it, use it as a training run.  I still have an hour of cool down.”  She added: “I tried to make it as comfortable as I could; the last four miles I pushed it a bit.”

Lewy Boulet, who said she ran 115 miles in the week immediately before the race, improved on her time from last year by 30 seconds.  She said that she ran too aggressively last year, and took it easier in the early miles.  Her strategy paid off.

“Last year I just went out too fast,” she said.  “Literally, the difference between the first mile this year and last year was 30 seconds.”

Stephanie Rothstein, 26, of Flagstaff, Ariz., was the surprise runner-up in 1:08:26 in her debut at the distance.  She was on crutches last year with a back injury, and also discovered she was suffering from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine.  She moved to Flagstaff this year to be coached by Greg McMillan.

“It’s been a very long road back,” said Rothstein, who choked back tears of joy before receiving a congratulatory hug from McMillan.  “I broke my sacrum a year ago, but I’ve kind of been battling injuries for the last two years, and we didn’t know why.  Then I figured out this April that I have Celiac Disease, like Amy Yoder, and that’s the reason why I’d been injured so long.  We had no idea.  Right when I figured it out in April, my life changed.”

Unheralded Nan Kennard, 29, of Broomfield, Colo., finished third in 1:08:38, also making her 20K debut.  She is a some-time training partner of Colleen De Reuck, and is coached by De Reuck’s husband, Darren.  As for the 46 year-old De Reuck, who like Lewy Boulet is running the marathon in Chicago next month, she had an off-day and finished ninth.

While Lewy Boulet was able to relax in the final meters to the line, Quigley had to push just to make sure he had clinched the race.  In the final flat mile on Whitney Avenue, Quigley remained calm while his only remaining rivals, Mo Trafeh and James Carney, both put in surges they hoped would bring them victory.  Trafeh had already tried to break the race open at the 10-mile mark and was getting tired.

“I might have looked good, but I didn’t feel good,” said Trafeh, 24, of Duarte, Calif.  “I just forced myself to it.  I thought that would be the best place to make the move.”

With the finish line adjacent to the New Haven Green on the horizon, Carney surged first and Quigley and Trafeh followed single file.  His lead was short-lived, and Carney came back.  Quigley waited just a little longer to make his bid for victory.  He wanted to make just one move and make it stick.

“My longest race up to this point was a 15K,” Quigley, 25, explained later.  “I was a little worried about adding another 5K to it.  So, I made sure I was real patient and didn’t do anything stupid during the race.  And then, if I felt like I could take it, just go for it.”

Fifty-six minutes into the race, Quigley pushed to the front, and left his two chasers behind for good.  Not only did he make a successful 20K debut with his 59:21 finish time, but the victory today was his first ever national title on any surface for the native of Braintree, Mass.

“It feels great,” said Quigley.  “Up to this point I’ve felt that my post-collegiate career has been a disappointment.  To get this win is huge.”

Trafeh, the 2010 national 15K champion, finished second–the same position as last year–in 59:29.  Carney, who won this race in 2008, finished third in 59:33.  Defending champion Brett Gotcher fell back from the lead pack around 15K, and finished seventh.

Both Lewy Boulet and Quigley earned $8,000 in prize money for their victories, part of the total prize purse of $40,000.