The American Association of Running Clubs (AARC) and the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) have announced the ROAD SCHOLAR Class of 2003. Four developing elite distance-running athletes were chosen to receive the annual grants. The four recipients, including two men and two women, are Chris Graff, Palo Alto, CA, Adam Wallace, Madison, WI, and twins Kate and Laura O’Neill, of New Haven, CT.
The AARC/RRCA Road Scholar® grants, $4,000 per year to each runner, are intended to assist top American post-collegiate runners who, while struggling financially, show great promise to develop into accomplished national and world class athletes. The RRCA had been unable to afford to fund the annual grants this year, and the joint AARC/RRCA effort was the result of Board members of both organizations looking for areas of cooperation. Key financial assistance from the Atlanta Track Club and Credit Union Cherry Blossom allowed the program to continue. “And donations have continued to come in from other clubs so we may be able to fund another scholarship in a month or two”, said AARC President Jeff Darman.
RRCA president Freddi Carlip said, “The AARC/RRCA Roads Scholar program gives the awardees the opportunity to focus on reaching their running goals. We are pleased to be working with AARC for the best interests of our sport”.
Carl Sniffen, co-chairman of the AARC/RRCA Roads Scholar Committee said,
“It’s an honor to be a part of this program and the selection committee. We were blessed with a large number of applications from talented and deserving individuals. The large number truly underscores the value of and need for this program in helping to bridge the gap for our emerging elite distance runners.”
Henley Gabeau, co-chair added, “It was quite exciting to not only have this worthy program revive, but also to have the pleasure of reviewing so many high quality applicants. It was nice that it was hard to choose among them!”
All American NCAA Kate O’Neill was 2nd in the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships, 2nd in the 5,000m in the 2003 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and ECAC 3000 Meter Champion.
NCAA All American Laura O’Neill was 13th in the NCAA Cross-Country Championships, 5th in the NCAA Indoor 5,000 meters and Heptagonal 10,000-meter champion.
Two time NCAA All American Chris Graff was first in the USATF 10 mile Championships in 47.07 and 7th in the USATF Marathon Championship in 2:18:45.
NCAA All American Adam Wallace ran a 28:41:40 10,000 at the Stanford International and 13:58:18, 5,000 at the Iowa Indoor Invitational.
Roads Scholar committee members in addition to Sniffen, include Don Kardong, former President of the RRCA and Olympic marathoner; Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the Boston and New York City Marathons; Joan Samuelson, 1984 Olympic gold medallist; Henley Gabeau, an RRCA past president and former RRCA Executive Director; and Phil Stewart, Editor and Publisher of Road Race Management and Director of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race.
Runners interested in applying for 2004 Roads Scholar grants may contact the AARC or RRCA and ask to be included on the mailing list. Applications will be ready for distribution in late 2003.
The American Association of Running Club (www.runningclubs.org) is a new organization founded in 2002 dedicated to the task of promoting running at the grass roots level as well as providing opportunities to developing athletes. The Road Runners Club of America (www.rrca.org) is an organization of over 600 clubs and 130,000 members that promote grassroots running.