Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Use Your Exercise to Contribute to Charities

My name is Chris Eckols and I am new to the area. In June 2008, I reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. At the time, I was a little overweight and not active. I sold my car and decided to make a change for myself by commuting strictly by bicycle for my entire 18-month tour. Somewhere after about 3 months of commuting by bike, I decided to run a marathon. I signed up for the Big Sur International Marathon for April 2009. I completed Big Sur in 4:05. Since then, I have run various 5k/10k races and most recently did the Big Sur 1/2 in November with a 1:40. I've logged about 500 miles running and about 2000 miles cycling since starting.

I would like to introduce the Colonial Road Runners to a website called The Plus3 network allows runners (and all athletes) the ability to have their exercise translate into charitable donations through a variety of sponsors. Sponsors include Runners Warehouse, Zappos, and others. Benefactors include The Leukemia Lymphoma Society, The Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, and others.

First, let me state that I am spreading Plus3 because it was a great motivator for me while I was in Monterey, Ca for my last tour. The story of Plus3 began in 2007 when Rick, Jon, and Steve -- three of the guys who formed a sports marketing company named GaleForce in the early 1990's -- had an idea to create a bicycling-rewards program to encourage people to ride more and get out of their cars . Rick called up a guy named Joe, who was working in the cell phone world and had worked with Rick, to share The Idea. The three sports-biz-guys plus one-tech-guy team shaped The Idea into a global vision that includes gadgets and the Internet to build a system that motivates healthy lifestyles by collecting exercise activities and, with the financial support of Sponsors, Plus 3 puts a value on it -- literally turning "sweat equity into social capital." Joe introduced himself and Plus3network to the Naval Postgraduate School bicycling club in October 2008.

Essentially, participants (like me) register, chose a sponsor and cause, and then simply log activities. For example, my sponsor is Ritchy (bicycle component manufacturer) and my cause is "Trips for Kids" which provides outreach to at risk youth through cycling. Each time I log an activity, a donation is made by Ritchy to Trips for Kids. Monday morning, I logged a 10.25 mile run around Queens Lake and $1.85 was donated on my behalf. Each activity is worth different amounts, some based on mileage and others by time. To date, I have had $135.17 donated on my behalf.

Currently, Plus3 is predominantly known in Central California where it was founded but my goal is to spread the word to Williamsburg where there is such a huge fitness community. The potential for Plus3 and groups like CRR is immense. If you would, please take a few minutes to look at Plus3. Click on the "People" tab and see who you might know. Look up my name and you will have a great idea about the program. Imagine what it can do when organized groups get involved. There is no cost to participants and to date, Plus3 members have collectively raised over $71,000 for various charities.

I appreciate your time and interest in Plus3. You can see me on the track at Walsingham with my wife Leisa beginning Wednesday afternoon. Looking forward to meeting the group and answering any questions that you might have.

Chris Eckols
Making it Count

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hall of Fame Inductees and Grand Prix

The Daily Press article for the latest group of Hall of Fame Inductees can be found at,0,7857687,full.story.
Left to right above are Ed Richards, Robert White, and Barbara Biasi.

By Rick Platt

Jennifer Quarles won her fifth Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix title in 2009, while Mark Tompkins captured his second men’s crown last year, with the 36 Grand Prix award winners announced at Sunday’s Colonial Road Runners Awards Banquet at the Windsor Forest Clubhouse in Williamsburg.

The 14-race CRR Grand Prix Series started with the Jamestown Swamp Run 5K in March, and concluded with the Governor’s Land 5K Run for the Brain in November. Points were tallied 10-deep in the overall category (with three awards each for men and women), 5-deep for the Masters (ages 40-and-over) category (one award each), and 5-deep for the six 10-year age group categories (from 19-and-under through 60-and-over, with two awards each), with an additional race-walk division. A maximum of ten races scored for each runner.

Quarles had also won each year from 2003-06, with Laura Shannon victorious in 2007-08, while Quarles battled injuries. This year Quarles dominated the women’s division with seven firsts and four seconds in her 11 races, good for 106 points (97 for her 10 best). Next was Connie Glueck with 75 points, her third consecutive runner-up spot. Mercedes Castillo D’Amico edged out Joanna McCandlish, 53-48, for the third overall plaque.

Bruton High cross country and track coach Tompkins had won by one point in 2005 (over Rob Hinkle), but had a 12-point margin this year over Pete Gibson, 67-55, based on four firsts and three seconds. Steve Chantry, 54, moved into third place in the final CRR race, his 43 points slightly more than Graham Wilson (41), Paul Smartschan (40) and Steve Menzies (38). In between Tompkins’ wins, Grand Prix men’s titles were taken by Chantry (2006), Adam Canning (’07) and Jim Bates (’08).

In the Masters category, Bates, 53, ran 12 races to accumulate more points (35) than Gibson (33), Menzies (30) and Chantry (27). For the Masters women, Linda Whittaker turned 60 halfway through the year, and accumulated 18 points for the 50-59 category (a tie for fourth) and 36 points in the 60-and-over division (third place, one point behind second, and two points behind first), so would not have won an award in either. But her combined total in the Masters category gave her that award plaque. Glueck had the most Masters points (44), followed by D’Amico (31), but they received overall awards, and there is no duplication of awards. Whittaker’s 17 Masters points were more than Carol Talley (13) and Joan Coven (10).

Tompkins’ best races were a 43:45 for the Yorktown Victory Run 8 Miler and a 15:52 for the William and Mary Homecoming 5K, age grading 82.62%. Gibson, 53, was the overall winner at the Ford’s Colony 8K (28:38) and had a 5K best of 17:04 at Vineyards, age grading 88.59%. Chantry, 54, ran his best CRR race at Governor’s Land, a 16:45, age grading a world-class 90.95%, the best performance of the year for the CRR. He was also the overall winner at Cheatham Annex. Bates, who coordinates the separate age-graded series for the CRR, had his best race at Governor’s Land, a 17:39, age grading 85.66%.

For the women, Quarles age-graded a national-class level 80.00% at William and Mary with her year’s best 18:50. Glueck’s fastest 5K was a 20:16 at Queens Lake, age grading 78.06%. D’Amico, 52, set CRR age group records in all seven of her races, with her best a 20:29 at Queens Lake, age grading 83.65%. Whittaker’s best time also came at Queens Lake, a 23:30, good for 81.10% age graded.

The sponsors for the CRR Grand Prix this year included Sentara Healthcare (award plaques), Panera Bread, Colonial Sports, Performance Chiropractic (award shirts), Old Point National Bank (savings bonds), Go-Karts Plus, Chanello’s Pizza, and Aroma’s.

The 2010 CRR Grand Prix starts up with the Jamestown Swamp Run 5K on Saturday, March 13.