Race Director of the Year

The Board of Directors, at then president Jerry Levasseur's urging, created a new award in 2009 "to acknowledge a race director who best exemplifies the ideals and main purpose of the New England 65 Plus Runners Club. It should be a race director who has included older age groups eligible for awards and has recognized the older runners over a period of years. If in a given year there is no one who meets the criteria the award will not be given. The Committee responsible for choosing a recipient consists of the Club President, Vice President, two Past Presidents and two at-large Directors. A plaque recognizing the award will be presented to the recipient at the annual luncheon.

Previous honorees include:

2022 Doug Zechel

Back in 1977, Doug Zechel started the Saunders Road Race in Rye Harbor, NH. Held on a Thursday evening in August, now in his 46th year, Doug is the third longest serving race director in New England. In a unique, old-school twist, when completing the race each runner receives a stick which they must turn in to get their race shirt. With his characteristic humor, Doug noted that, “You have to earn your shirt.” But, he added if you are over 70 you will get it regardless because, in his words, “You deserve it!” In appreciation of Doug’s years of service, Vicki Miller collected shirts from each year’s race and made them into a pair of quilts for Doug.

Doug and Nancy

2021 Tony Myatt

2019 Bob Randall

Bob Randall was the New England 65 Plus 2019 Race Director of the Year. Bob could have been awarded Race Director of the Years. Bob started running in 1979-1980. Bob also started his race director career about the same time. Bob's first Race Director position was for the Winner's Circle Running Club Hangover Classic. The 39th Annual running of this race is coming up on January 1, 2020. Bob was also served as the the Race Director for the Winner's Circle Running Club Santa's Toy Trot 2 mile, 4 mile and 6 mile Road Race (now in its 25th year). Bob also directed the Old Home Days 2 mile/5 mile race in Merrimac. Ma for the Lions Club.

After retiring (from work) to Maine, Bob, with a little encouragement from his wife Mary Ann, agreed to become the Race Director for the "Run for the Gym" race held at the former Nasson College site in Springvale Maine. The race was created to raise funds to save the Nasson College Gym and turn it into the Nasson Community Center and Little Theatre. It is dedictated to helping enhance the quality of life for the people of Central York County through diverse recreational, cultural and civic programs.

The Race is now in its 17th year and has been renamed "Randall's Run/Walk for the Gym 5K" to honor Bob and his wife Mary Ann for their years of support for this event.

2018 Joe Riccio

Joe Riccio was presented the 2018 Race Director of the Year Award by Bill Boria. This is what Bill had to say about Joe Riccio: This was a match made in heaven - Joe Riccio receiving the NE65+ Runners Club award for race director of the year. Joe wrote the book on how to treat veteran runners. Starting with the first race he directed in 1996, he used 5 year age groups from age 40 through and including 90+, and the awards go three deep. At the awards ceremony after his races, he often starts with the oldest age groups and works down to the youngsters. Camaraderie is huge with Joe. He'll stay around and chat with folks for hours after the race. You can count on his races being well organized and the food is always top shelf. And how about this - he directs a number of races every year and he does it all pro bono.

2017 Jay Diener

Jay Diener, Race Director of the Year (center) with presenters Henry Wolst (left) and Marj Radin.

Jay Diener received the Race Director (RD) award in 2017. As RD, Jay co-founded and co-directs many local races. In his 11 years of directing the Seacoast Half Marathon in November, local charities have received just under $900,000. The Great Bay 5K in October is the largest fund raiser for the Great Bay Stewards and Discovery Center. His races are reasonably priced, fun to participate in, and often sell out.

2017 Bill Pennington

Bill Pennington, Race Director of the Year (right) with presenter Charlie Farrington.

2016 - Alan Stroshine, Clarence DeMar, NH

Alan took over as Race Director for the Clarence DeMar Marathon. A Marathoner himself, Alan appreciates an extremely well organized race as well as anyone in the industry who takes it seriously. Alan assembled a team of 12-15 people (his race committee) and surrounded himself with the busiest, most productive people he could find.

What followed was an event that created a name for itself as "The friendliest, most well organized race I've ever run".

Here's a few snippets of what Alan's leadership does to pull this event off in this small community:

  • - Over 400 volunteers

  • - Launched the DeMar Half Marathon to which more than half the field are local runners, and matching the field of the full in year 2.

  • - Created a 13 in 13 training program with The Keene Sentinel, local running coaches and physical therapists to bring new runners into their first Half Marathon ever with 13 weeks of training.

  • - Earned a very hard to come by "Community Event status" with the City of Keene, meaning police support is offered at no charge.

  • -Launched a kids DeMar program reaching roughly 1700 children who train and earn a spot to run the last 1.2 miles on race day. So successful that Disney caught wind of it and provided Healthy comic books to every youth participant, and even brought "IRON MAN" to the event last year for pictures!

  • -Included a Super Seniors run on race day: where over 100 senior citizens run/walk the last 1.2 miles of the course. Orchestrated some of the best goody bags a race has ever witnessed.

  • -Took every dollar of race proceeds (Through Rotary) and provided new running shoes to over 800 2nd grade children in our region.

  • -Provided a full container of wheelchairs (115) to people in Jamaica who otherwise had no mobility.

  • -Funded countless local non profit organizations in our region to children in need.

  • -Aligned the race with the Cheshire Medical Center's "Healthy Monadnock 2020" initiative; to become the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020.

2015 - Guy Stearns, New Castle, NH

Guy Stearns is the co-founder and current director of the Great Island 5K. The race is held annually in Guy's home town -New Castle NH on the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend. Guy Stearns and his committee started the race in 1992 to fund the playground on the Great Island Common. His co-founder was a member of our organization the late Dr. Tom Quinn. Over the years the proceeds of the race went to support the town's winter skating rink, establishing the Thomas Quinn college scholarship fund among many other civic projects

The race is very friendly to senior runners. Every year Guy makes a special announcement welcoming the members of our club. He paid special tribute to Lou Peters at last year's event. Almost from the race's beginning, Guy established a 70 and above age group. Soon thereafter came both 70-79 and 80 and above age groups.

I researched and found that many of our fine runners participated in the race over the years. In the 2002 race five runners finished in the 70-79 female category with one a recently retired director Florence Dagata. In the same age group Jerry Panarese and Jay Evans along with 6 others finished the race. In the 80 plus group Louise Rossetti and Martin Losier led their gender groups. Likewise the legendary Lloyd Slocum set age adjusted records first in 2002 running the course in 19:27 and in 2013 with 23:13 (age grade 90.5). This may have been the best such performance ever in this race.

The post-race ceremonies are excellent starting with four tables of food under a tent. The age group awards are overly generous with last year featuring high quality hoodies. There are many (maybe 150) raffle gifts. On the 20th anniversary a beautiful commerative glass was awarded to each registrant. The volunteers are exceptional. Parking is well organized. The Great Island Common is beautiful right on the ocean shore. Guy reserves a prominent spot to set up our table and club flag. It's a great race and I have many happy memories. Finally the entry fee is very reasonable.

2014 - Howard Spear, Maine

2013 - none

2012 - Jerry Panarese

2011 - Dave LaBrode

2010 - Bob Tescheck

2009 - Marty Schaivone

2012 - Jerry Panarese

Jerry Panarese of Lynnfield MA was the odds on sentimental favorite to receive the award this year after ten sterling years of directing our Club's Run for All Ages. He grew the race from just 200 or so participants to more than 500 in some years, managing every aspect of the race down to the smallest details. And some major features too, such as the relations with the Town of Wakefield, with the host site, the Lord Wakefield Hotel, and perhaps most importantly, with the DMSE, the Dave McGilvary Sports Enterprises). The friendship Jerry developed with Dave was rewarded with timing services and setting out the course year after year at no cost to the Club. He found many sponsors to provide lots of tasty refreshments and many loyal volunteers to make sure everything was done well and on time. In recent years he also saw to the sponsorship of the Prostate Conditions Education Counsel, which provided funds that supported cash awards to the top ten male runners in the race based on their age graded times. The Club then matched that that gift to make comparable awards to the top ten female runners. Jerry reluctantly stepped down from his director's duties this year having reached the tender age of 84.

2011 - Dave LaBrode

Dave LaBrode from Haverhill, MA has been a true friend of senior runners for many years. He was one of the first directors to include age categories of 80 and over in the races he directed. The Bobby Bell, one of New England's road racing jewels, was founded by Dave more than 20 years ago and has garnered rave reviews year after year because of many features, but most importantly of its age grading for both men and women, allowing cross gender comparisons on an equitable basis. Dave is also a key member of the race committee for the famous Mill Cities Relay in addition to directing the Andover Country Club cross Country race. He is president of the Andover Striders. And more: He is the prime mover behind the Annual Run to the Beach 30K, a point to point course that starts at the North Andover VFW and finishes at the Winner's Circle Sports Bar in Salisbury, MA. The race has no timing, no awards, no entry fee, no numbers, no yogurt and no race director to complain to. It's a race born of the sheer joy of racing.

2010 Bob Teschek

Bob Teschek is not only a great race director and owner of Granite State Race Services, he is also a coach and runner who understands the needs of runners -- especially older runners. He has directed races in New Hampshire and Granite State Race Services serves all of New England and beyond. He has always believed in age graded awards and five-year age divisions without limit. The Bill Luti race in Concord, timed by Granite State Race Services, uses age grading for awarding prizes to master runners; at the Mount Washington Road Race money prizes for the top three masters men and women and based on age-graded times, and the Mount Washington Race has been noted for awards to runners in the oldest divisions, 80-84, 85-89. The other reward that Bob has never slighted is the asterisk. On certified courses that he times the asterisk beside a runner's time designates a performance below the USATF guidelines. These results are susbmitted to USATF headquarters and play a major role in determining National ranking. Currently, Bob's director's responsibilities are diminishing because after 29 years he has just stepped down from the huge job of seeing that the Mount Washington Race Race goes off successfully every year. He will continue timing it, and we have heard that he will return to runnng it, in a much older division (65-69) than his last race up that one hill. Bob is shown here with Barbara Robinson who took great pleasure in presenting this award to a fellow Granite State runner. Congratulations, Bob.

2009 Marty Schaivone

Marty Schaivone of MS Running Productions in Stratford CT is a most deserving recipient of the first Race-Director-of the-Year Award. He began directing races in 1991, and by the mid 90's he recognized that the number of runners beyond their sixties was increasing significantly. He began that early to introduce an over-seventy age division in the races he directed. It was not long after that an 80+ division found its way into his awards structure, and he introduced an over-70-free registration. That is really recognizing the older athletes! Last year he also introduced an over-90 division to honor the intrepid Doc Whitney, the much admired and long-time member of the NE65 Plus Runners Club. Marty has diected about 20 or so races a year for the last 10 years; for the preceding 5 years he managed 6-14 a year. He clearly has been a successful director on the side of the veteran runner. His own record as a competitive runner is something he can also boast about, but that is another story. The Club bestows this award with great appreciation.