Staten Island On The Run: The Challenging Olympic Path To Tokyo 2020 Begins Now For Local Runners

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Staten Island On the Run: The challenging Olympic path to Tokyo 2020 begins now for local runners

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Local running stars include (Top left clockwise) Christina Melian, Michael Cassidy, Stephanie Van Pelt, Olga Kosichenko and Robby Andrews.
Local running stars include (Top left clockwise) Christina Melian, Michael Cassidy, Stephanie Van Pelt, Olga Kosichenko and Robby Andrews.  (Staten Island Advance Sports Desk)

As 2018 comes to a close, many American elites are planning for 2019 to be a buildup towards the Olympic year of 2020.

Five locals are planning, too, whether it's to qualify for the Olympic trials or go higher and earn a coveted spot on the USA team for Tokyo.

2016 Rio Olympic 1500 runner and 2017 USATF Champion

Robby Andrews, formerly of Staten Island and now of New Jersey, has had a quiet 2018 as he is "recovering well" from injury and is gearing more towards the outdoor track season.

For the others, they are pursuing Olympic dreams and all admit it won't be easy.

Susan Wagner and Stonybrook product

Christina Melian (15:48 5K) has solid national level performances.

"I'll be starting medical school in August but will continue training under my college coach Andy Ronan," said Melian, an America East Indoor Champion at 3000 meters. "My goals for the next few years is to stay healthy and get in consistent training leading up to the Olympic trials where I hope to compete in the 10k."

Staten Island mile record holder (4:37)

Stephanie Van Pelt has competed for the world-class HOKA HOKA ONE New Jersey/New York TC for 3 years now.

"My main goal is to see progression with my times and stay healthy...it's all about training hard so I can run fast times in the summer and maintain that going into 2020," said Van Pelt, a Notre Dame Academy HS Grad.

"In 2019 I want to run races with the top U.S. women so I have experience for 2020 with the main goal being the US championship in July," said Van Pelt. "Coach (Frank) Gagliano's training can get me there but the hardest and most important part is to stay healthy in order for my training to be consistent and this means I have to stay on top of little things like listening to my body when I'm tired and not constantly pushing myself everyday, stretch, eat right and drink."

"If this year goes right, my goals for 2020 can be accomplished."

2018 marathoner

Michael Cassidy competed in the 2012 Olympic trials, and hopes to return in 2020.

"My racing plans for next year are somewhat vague, with the exception of the goal to run a Trials-qualifying marathon (and a PR)," said the former McKee/Staten Island Tech. "Likely that will mean targeting a late and fast spring marathon and/or a fast fall marathon, but if I really think I'm in good shape, I may make the decision to go to Europe for something like the Berlin or Amsterdam marathons but investing in a trip of that magnitude requires a fair degree of confidence."

Cassidy also says his training is about being ready at the right time. "This past year I was in great shape in the summer, but strained my hamstring a few weeks before Chicago, which cost me the chance at a qualifier," said Cassidy. "Basically, I got in too good of shape too early, and if I limit the buildup to 10-12 weeks, perhaps the chances of staying healthy will increase."

2017 Staten Island Advance Memorial Day Race Winner

Olga Kosichenko rose to top ranking last year as she was ranked #1 worldwide in the Indoor 500 meters (1:09.72).

"After a successful 2018 indoor season I had an injury and was not able to train for outdoors," said Kosichenko who's healthy and training well. "I am planning to run the 600m at the indoor nationals and my goal is to get more experience at bigger meets and ultimately to qualify for the Olympic trials."

Kosichenko recently joined the high quality Central Park Track Club but is still with her local coach John Padula.

"He's been with me from the start and is my biggest supporter and the Staten Island running community has also been very supportive," said Kosichenko. "It takes a team to succeed as an athlete, and I have that and I believe I can do great things in 2019."

Other Running News 

-- Fred Rigolini hosts an informal 5K trail run run in Clove Lakes at 8 a.m. in front of Stonehenge every Friday.

--Charlie Marchese with the New York Road Runners hosts a free 3-mile run every Sunday at 9:00am at Silver Lake Park. For further info contact Charlie at [email protected].

- The Special Olympics 2-Mile Run takes place on Sunday, Dec. 16. There is no entry fee but donations are welcomed. Dr. Theodore Strange, who heroically saved a woman at last month's NYC Marathon, is the honorary starter. Call 718-494-7021 for info.

The Staten Island AC free 3-Mile Fun Runs at Clove Lakes Park are held every Saturday at 9am regardless of weather.

The annual SIAC Sober Up 3-Mile Run on New Year's Day begins at 10 a.m. at Clove Lakes Park.

For further info go to http://www.statenislandac.org

Richmond Rockets

"Thanks to Tommy Hart for his Veterans Day run. At the Lou Marli 6 Rockets earned awards. Congratulations."

For further info go to

https://teamrichmondrocket.wixsite.com

Complete Race Solutions

"The WinterFest 5K/10K at Freshkills Park takes place Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. In 2019 CRS presents the 3rd Annual Trail Triple Crown with the Resolution Run 4 Miler at Bloomingdale Park on Jan. 19 followed by the Valentine's 5K at the Conference House on Feb. 16 and then the Wolfe's Run 10K At Wolfe's Pond Park on April 13. "

For more info and to become a CRS Team member go to https://completerace.ticketleap.com/join-crt-2018/

Monthly Prize Trivia

Please submit your answer to my email below. Correct answers will be put into a lot where two winners are drawn randomly. One winner will receive a free pair of ASICS running shoes, while the other winner gets a free session at CRYO Staten Island (CRYOSI.com).

Congrats to Debra Mahr and Willie Cicoria for identifying from last month. Mahr receives a pair of Asics shoes and Cicoria gets the Cryo session.

This month's question: In the group photo below is a former world record holder in the marathon. Can you name him?

JEFFJON.jpg>  

Good Luck & Keep Running!!

Questions, comments, upcoming news? Please feel free to email Jeff at [email protected]

Source : https://www.silive.com/sports/index.ssf/2018/11/staten_island_on_the_run_the_c.html

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