Donna Cormier: On the Run: Looking back on 2016 and ahead to 2017

  • Published in Running


By Donna Cormier

The 48th annual Dartmouth Relays are taking place Friday through Sunday, Jan. 8, at Leverone Field House at Dartmouth College. Our White Mountain treasurer Steve Dowling has been participating and taking medals at these relays for many years and invites everyone to attend. There are track and field events for all ages from high school through masters and a special event for children under 9. Check out the schedule at

New Year's resolutions for runners are usually things like, run farther, try yoga and more stretching, eat better and try a different type of exercise event.

However, some of our local athletes take on things like Kathleen Johnson and finishing the French Camino on Oct. 1, and completing all of the summer series races with improving her times. For 2017, Kathleen is looking to do more trail running, especially locally around Tamworth. Looking at 2016, I think she'll do just fine.

For Theresa Struble, in her sixth year of running and her sixth year of setting a goal of 1,000 miles for the year, this year she will have done it.

Alex Johnson set a goal of finishing the 2016 Kismet Cliff Run in under 4 hours. His finish time was 3 hours, 55 minutes. For 2017, Alex has a new goal, finish in 3:45.

For Tony Federer, who turns 78 on Jan. 19, his New Year's resolution is to not race any more. Tony started racing in 1975 and says he ran his last race in 2016. Federer participated in races on road, orienteering (foot, ski, night and canoe), trail, cross-country ski, snowshoe, mountain and on sailboats. He wants to save his knees and continue to hike in the Whites but not like he has in the past, like completing the redline. Going out in style, Tony won two age 75-plus races at the North American Orienteering Championships this year.

Terry Ballou had a goal for 2016 to qualify for the Masters 1,500-meter exhibition race at the Olympic Trials.

"To qualify, I had to have one of the 12 fastest times in the nation for women 40 and older," Terry said. "I finished 14th, so I did not get to compete. However, since I was the second alternate, I did get to attend the Trials as a spectator, and my family came with me. That was definitely the highlight of my year.

"As to 2017, this is a big year for me as I'll turn 50 in October," she continued. "I am setting my sights on getting some track records for my new age group; I'd especially love to go after some American records in the relays. I currently hold a world record in the indoors 4X800 for women 40-44, so I'd love to add to that. Competing keeps me young, and I hope to be running when I'm 90!"

With 2016 in the rearview mirror, I had a great year with family and friends, and hope this continues through 2017. I hope to make more time for fun, running and more time outdoors.

The Top Ten Running Moments of 2016 in the Mount Washington Valley in my humble opinion were:

10. More runners and walkers from near and far and of all ages attending the White Mountain Milers Summer Series.

9. Local runners Leslie O'Dell and Jim Johnson were named New Hampshire Runners of the Year.

8. The White Mountain Milers Half Marathon was once again a great event. Everyone loves this race. I saw a man with a Half Marathon T-shirt on at Wildcat. When I said I liked his shirt, he first had to look to see which race shirt he was wearing, and then commented that he really enjoyed the race and what a great race it was. Good job to TriTek, Milers and the Valley.

7. On a sad note, we lost some longtime members of our club. We will miss Rosemary Good, Jim Soroka, John Chandler and Bob Johnson at our events but know that they are still running with us.

6. The Great Glen 7K Trail Run where we got to run with Olympian Sean Doherty (well, he was out in the front, but we were in the same race!) and try out the biathlon laser rifles. I did well and it seemed pretty easy and fun, but I had stopped running 20 minutes earlier. Imagine skiing and trying to breathe and hitting a target? No.

5. Bernie's Christmas Wish, which I'm repeating by several special requests; "wishing for Kevin Callahan to always wear a shirt at all future summer runs."

4. The successful Midnight Owl 15K Run/Walk. This race attracts such a diverse group of runners because anyone can win. You just have to guess your time and start so you hit the finish line at midnight. For Theresa Struble, this was a running highlight as she finished in the first 5 after midnight with her best friend.

3. The announcement of a new race, the Feelin' Good 5K on April 9, and the return of the Cranmore Hill Climb on July 9.

2. Steve Dowling once again organizing Bucks for Bernie 24-Hour Relay and he will be taking it on for at least one more year in 2017. Running in the rain and sitting out the thunder and lightening in the school hallway were the highlights of this years' relay.

...and the No. 1 running moment in 2016 was — we ran the valley, we ran the mountains, we ran for fun, we ran for time, we ran for health, we ran for food and now we run into another year.

There was a Shalane Flanagan sighting in the Mount Washington Valley this week. Shalane is an American long-distance runner and Olympian who holds records in the 3,000- and 5,000- meter distance and in the 15K, and is an Olympic bronze medal winner in the 10,000 meter distance. Shalane, if you're ever in the valley again, please join our Wednesday Breakfast Run or, if you are still here, we'd love to see you at our Sunday Breakfast Run.

Happy New Year, everyone.

"Summer bodies are earned on the winter roads." — anonymous.

Upcoming Races and Weekly Runs

All of these events listed are for runners and walkers.

• Every Wednesday, Breakfast Run: 6:45 a.m. walk/run and 7 a.m., with 4-mile and 3-mile loops. Meet behind the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Followed by breakfast at Stairway Cafe.

• Sunday Group Runs: Check or White Mountain Milers on Facebook for details (

• Sunday, Jan 1: White Mountain Milers First Breakfast Run of 2017(

• Saturday, Jan 14: 7th annual Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble (

Donna Cormier is an avid runner and walker, cyclist, hiker, paddleboarder, skier, and massage therapist with a new office at 50 Seavey Street, North Conway. For more running information, ideas and contributions, race reviews and results, reach Donna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. See you on the run!