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2014 HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon Runner Profiles

Tracy Sipprelle
Tracy Sipprelle

Name: Tracy Sipprelle

Town: Princeton, NJ

Age: 52

Profession: Health Coach at Bee Fit with Tracy and President of Sipprelle Charitable Corp

Years Running: About 36

What made you start running? Soccer was about the only sport I could go out for as a high schooler and I wasn’t very good so, along with the help of my twin sister and a friend, I started the first girls’ cross country team in the high school we attended. We went on to win State Sectionals by the time I was a senior. I continue to run after all these years because it is my feel good medicine. I believe that exercise, especially running, is good for the mind, body, and soul. In my health coaching practice, I stress that food ( NOT just what’s on a plate) determines how we feel and heal.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I run a dozen or so races a year, and I have always wanted to run a race in my hometown with my kids. This race seems to be the perfect opportunity to do that, and it’s for a good cause.

Running Philosophy and strategy? I always believe in being prepared and putting my best foot forward in anything I do. Sometimes my efforts produce a personal record and sometimes they do not. But I am okay either way as long as I gave 100 per cent!

Other thoughts on the race Sunday: Running, like life has its many ups and downs. Running has made me stronger ( and healthier) to deal with many of life’s challenges.

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Zoe Brooks
Circus Director Zoe Brooks

Name: Zoe Brookes
Town: Princeton
Age: 47
Profession: Circus Director and Nonprofit Consultant
Years Running: 5

What made you start running? I started running when I joined the Carnegie Lake Rowing Club to learn to row.  They said I should try to get fit at the same time! I signed up for the half marathon this year so that it would make me do endurance training.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I row competitively now and running is my cross-training. One of my boat mates suggested the race to me.  I’ve done a few half marathons before, but never this one.  I watched the race last year as it went by close to my house and felt envious.

My running philosophy?  I like to use running to observe how my body is doing, to test fitness and build endurance. I love being able to pick up and run a few miles any time I want.

Race strategy: Go steady and finish strong. In previous half marathons I’ve had  a hard time in the last couple of miles. I’m hoping to be less miserable at the end by staying hydrated.

Other thoughts on the race Sunday: I’m glad to be running for HiTops. It’s a great organization to have in town

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Bill Schofield
Bill Schofield

Name:  Bill Schofield

Town: Princeton

Age: 48

Profession: Nonprofit

Years Running:  Off and on since college

What made you start running? I rowed in college, so it was very much a part of training.  I’ve been off of running in favor of other activities  for some time now.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year?  I volunteer for HiTops and spent a good part of last year’s race handing out medals to the finishers.  It was quite inspirational, and so I decided I’d like to give it a shot.  Plus, I’m also fundraising for HiTops with my run, so I’m basically leveraging my pain for worthy cause.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy:  I will survive!

Other thoughts on Sunday’s race:  If anyone would like to support my team, go to https://runsignup.com/touchofgrey.

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Philly Half
Courtney Peters-Manning  and her husband with kids, Seamus (now 6) and Conor (now 4) after the finish in Philly last year.

Name: Courtney Peters-Manning

Town: Pennington

Age: 37

Profession: Assistant Director of Finance/Counsel at Cambridge School in Pennington

Years Running: 14, sometimes more regularly than others.  I’ve been running more seriously (post-kids) for about a year and a half.

What made you start running? Running has made a huge difference in my life.  It clears my head, makes me happy, and keeps me healthy.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? We lost my mother-in-law to cancer in June of 2012.  Since we met, my husband and I have always run together, but we started running to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) in 2013.  It’s been very healing for us to be doing something small, at least, in the fight against cancer, and ACS has a very inspirational program for its runners.   We raised about $3,000 for the Philadelphia Half Marathon last year, so we decided to amp it up and run two half marathons this year.  We’re running Princeton, and then Philadelphia again on the 23rd.  So far we’ve raised almost $2,000 (http://tinyurl.com/teammanning),  but we still have a few weeks to go.  Look for us on race day sporting our ACS DetermiNation gear.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: I’m not going to lie, I’m a little intimidated by the hills on the Princeton course.  My strategy is to try to stay at zen as possible.  I’ve been training hard since August, so I know I’m prepared.  Now I just have to do it!

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Edith Juarez
Edith Juarez

Name: Edith Juarez

Town: Princeton

Age: 35

Profession: Legal assistant & activity coordinator

Years Running: 17 years but has been consistent within the past 2 years (​ since high school​)​

What made you start running? Mainly to escape a toxic environment at home.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? A personal goal and a level of motivation and commitment coming from and to a dear friend.

​​Running Philosophy and race strategy:​​ Do my best, “try harder, never give up.” And if my body can run 13.1 miles, I should be grateful. ​

​Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: Very excited, nervous! It will be a great fun day and a great sense of achievement!

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Marlee
Marlee Schmucker

 Name: Marlee Schmucker (formerly Marlee Sayen)

Town: Princeton

Age: 30

Profession: Development Associate at Morven Museum & Garden

Years Running: For fun? 12.

What made you start running? Extra energy.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I signed up later than most (early October) because I realized I would be back from my honeymoon in time for the race.

Running Philosophy and race strategy: Enjoy the experience.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s race: Morven (55 Stockton Street) is open on Sunday from 12-4!

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Thomas Gutowski
Thomas Gutowski (r) celebrates after finishing the Marine Corps Marathon.

Name: Tom Gutowski, MD

Town: Princeton

Age: 60

Profession: Orthopaedic Surgeon

Years Running: 40+

What made you start running? Desire to stay fit and be outdoors

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? What could be better than doing a half marathon in your home town!

Running Philosophy and race strategy: Every day/every race is a new start

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: A lot slower than I was but so grateful to still be out there.

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Mary Sheppard
Mary Sheppard

Name: Mary (Mollie) Sheppard

Town: Princeton

Age: 41

Profession: Assistant Professor at Rowan University

Years Running: 25

What made you start running? I played lacrosse in college and running in the off -season was always required. After college, running races was a great motivator to stay in shape.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I love the idea of a local run to support a good cause. I had signed up to do the inaugural one that was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I missed last year because of scheduling. I was not going to miss this year.

Running Philosophy and race strategy: I am running with my husband Robert. Our strategy is to have fun and to finish.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s race: I am really looking forward to it!

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Meg Caddeau relaxes with her dog after the 2013 Princeton Half Marathon.
Meg Caddeau relaxes with her dog after the 2013 Princeton Half Marathon.

Name: Meg Caddeau

Town: Princeton

Age: 50

Profession: college counselor

Years Running: My first official race was the Bolder Boulder (a 10K), which I ran in when I was in high school. I don’t consider myself a serious runner and had never contemplated running a distance longer than 10K until 2011, when a friend convinced me to train with her for the Philadelphia Half Marathon.

What made you start running? I suppose it was a desperate attempt to try to slow the aging process. I like running with friends and I love the feeling of having finished a run.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I enjoyed running the Princeton Half last year. It’s a lot of fun to run around town and see friends along the route. It’s not fun to run up Washington Road.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: Registering for a race motivates me to stick with a training plan. I try to train hard enough that I can complete the distance without worrying about my ability to finish but not so hard that I end up injured (that happened one year when I ramped up my mileage too quickly).

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I am very excited about this year’s race! One of my sisters is coming from Wyoming to run with me. We had planned to run the Princeton Half together in 2012, but the race was cancelled that year thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

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Charlie Roth with his three children after they all ran the Princeton 5K in May.
Charlie Roth with his three children after they all ran the Princeton 5K in May.

Name: Charlie Roth

Town: Princeton

Age: 47

Profession: Professor (Rutgers, Chemical & Biochemical Engineering)

Years Running: I ran in high school, stopped for many years, and have been running again for the last 5 years.

What made you start running? In high school soccer, the part I was best at was being able to run the whole game. So at some point, I decided to stop chasing a ball and just run. There were also a couple of years during graduate school when I was running fairly seriously. I started back again 5 years ago for fitness and recreation.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I thought that trying to do a half marathon for the first time in 20 years would be a good challenge, and the opportunity to do it in my home town with lots of friends and family around made it more enticing.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: My level of training is probably on the lower end for this distance. As a consequence, I need to stay relaxed and not worry about going too fast. I think the key will be to recover after the first major hill (Washington Road) to be strong going into the second hill section (Herrontown Road). After Herrontown, there is a great downhill on Mount Lucas and then we’re almost at the finish!

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: Getting back into running seems to have had some good influence on my kids. I have two running cross country (one at Princeton High School, one at Princeton Charter School), and a third is in the Girls on the Run program.

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Nicole Antounof Hopewell  after her 8-mile taper run this week.
Nicole Antoun of Hopewell after her 8-mile taper run this week.

Name:  Nicole Coelho Antoun

Town: Hopewell Township

Age: 41

Profession: Studying to be personal trainer

Years Running: 10 on and off, 2 seriously.

What made you start running? Wanted to get in shape fast; love the “runner’s high.”

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? Wanted a new fitness challenge; a few friends are also racing.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: For my age, recovery and strength training are especially important; aim for the middle of the pack for pacing; since this is my first half, more concerned with finishing safe and strong than going for fast time

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: Running is a great way to get fit and build communities. I feel incredibly accomplished for having trained for my first half marathon.

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Patrick Beers
Patrick Beers

Name: Patrick Beers

Town: Princeton

Age: 46

Profession: Marketing professional

Years Running: 2+ years

What made you start running? Healthy outlet

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? Great cause, perfect distance (not too far, not too short), and awesome course.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: Controlled Pace in the beginning, Shot Blocks at mid-point, and Pick-up pace until the end

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: Hoping to have good weather and have fun!

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.jpg
Princeton University graduate student Allison Simi (l), with her sister, who is also participating in the race.

Name: Allison Simi

Town: Princeton

Age: 24

Profession: Graduate Student at Princeton University

Years Running: 10

What made you start running? I rowed competitively in high school and college, and started running to stay in shape over the summer and to supplement my rowing workouts. After I graduated from college it became my preferred form of exercise.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I love a challenge! I couldn’t race last year because I was injured, but my sister ran it and I promised myself I would run it with her this year. Our brother-in-law will be joining us as well. It is the most beautiful time of year in Princeton, and I’ve been able to enjoy it while training and will do so again for the race.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: I run because I like it, so I always try to make sure I’m enjoying it. Often that means I’m pushing to go as fast as I can. For the race, I plan to attack the hills. Otherwise, just enjoy the scenery, and remember to wave to my friends and family cheering for me.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I can’t wait!

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Laura Kenny
Laura Kenny

Name:  Laura Kenny

Town:  Princeton

Age: 31

Profession: Teacher

Years Running: 22

What made you start running?  I officially started running cross country and track in 4th grade, but even before that, I would run with my older siblings at times.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year?  Training run for the Philadelphia Marathon

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy:  Stay relaxed and find a rhythm.  My race strategy is to take it easy the first 5 miles (which include downhills), pick it up slightly from miles 5-10, and make the last 5k very fast.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race?  My brother, John Kenny, is a professional triathlete and coach.

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Christopher Graham
Christopher Graham

Name: Christopher Graham

Town: Belle Mead

Age: 35

Profession: IT Project Manager

Years Running: regularly for about 10 years

What made you start running? I started running to get in shape. I’ve since dropped over 20+lbs!

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I think the course sounds really fun! I’m excited to get a tour of Princeton.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: Stay hydrated and enjoy.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race?: Can’t wait to run my first half with my wife Jess! Hi Mom!

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Sue McMahon
Sue McMahon

Name: Sue McMahon

Town: Princeton

Age: 53

Profession: Group VP Macy’s Corporate Services

Years Running: 13 years

What made you start running? Initially short runs for fitness. Over the past 4 years I’ve become a distance runner  (half & full marathons).  This is largely been a journey with my step daughter, Christie, a college athlete who decided to start running after her swimming career ended and asked me to train with her. In our first year we ran both a half and full marathon together and as a result we’ve established a special bond.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I have wanted to run this race for two years but circumstances prevented it.  I regularly run many portions of the course and enjoy exploring our gorgeous town. My daughter Sarah is a senior at Westminster Choir College and her sister Emma is a student at John Witherspoon Middle School; their presence will be great motivation when I run by at mile 7!

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy:  My philosophy is to run by how I feel.  I’ve stopped wearing a GPS watch in races this year and achieved personal records both in the NYC half marathon, and the Carnegie Center 5k, so it’s working for me!  My race strategy is always to start slower and end strong, although sometimes it’s a challenge in a race with a field of such accomplished runners as this one has.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I appreciate the opportunity to support HiTOPS, which does so much for the kids in our community and I wish the best to all the other runners.  This is a challenging course with some big hills so no matter how the run goes for me, I’m going to feel a huge sense of accomplishment at the finish!

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Jonathan Lansky (r).
Jonathan Lansky (r) runs with his son.

Name: Jonah Lansky

Town: Princeton

Age: 38
Profession: Investor

Years Running: One and a half

What made you start running? Midlife crisis.  In all seriousness, my children had gotten to the age where my wife and I could get a good night’s sleep, and where I could take some time out of the house on the weekends. It’s become a regular part of our weekends and the kids love it; they’ve even taken to asking me to go on short runs with them, which of course I’m happy to do.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year?  The course runs by my house, and as I saw all the runners go by last year I thought it looked like a fun experience.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy:  I haven’t spent too much time thinking about a strategy.  I think I’ve got to focus on running my own race and tricking myself into running a little faster than I think I can.  Oh, and surviving those hills on Washington Road and Snowden Lane!

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race:  I’m looking forward to next weekend and hoping the weather holds up.  Forecast looks chilly!

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Leticia Fraga
Leticia Fraga

Name:  Leticia Fraga

Town: Princeton

Age:  56

Profession: Community Volunteer

Years Running: 1

What made you start running? Two of my sisters have been running half and full marathons for many years.  From the beginning they tried to encourage me to join them, but I never thought I would have the endurance to run long distance.  When I heard about the Princeton Half Marathon last year, I told my sisters that if they would come run it with me, I would do it (they live in Washington State). They called my bluff and I am so happy that they did!  Not only did my sisters participate in the race with me last year, but so did my daughters, my grandson and also some of my friends. I got hooked.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year?  Remembering the thrill of participating last year made me want to do it again.  It is a beautiful course and I am hoping the weather is as perfect as it was last year.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: Run for the fun of it. Get past the first mile, then pace myself so that I can still have energy to dance after I get past the finish line.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race:  I wish that my family was joining me again this year. I know though, that they will be with me in spirit and that thought will get me to the finish line. There’s always next year!

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Ed Felten (l) runs in the  Butler/Wilson 5K on the Princeton University campus.
Ed Felten (l) runs in the Butler/Wilson 5K on the Princeton University campus.

Name: Ed Felten

Town: Princeton

Age: 51

Profession: Professor at Princeton University

Years Running: 4

What made you start running? I wanted to get back in shape. I ran to train for soccer in high school and college but took a hiatus of a few decades before starting to run again four years ago.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I ran last year and really enjoyed it. The course was beautiful, the volunteers and spectators were wonderful, and I loved sharing the run through our town with so many people.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: My primary goal is to stay healthy and have fun. I’ll finish in the middle of the pack but I have a target time I’m hoping to beat. My race strategy is pretty simple: try to keep an even pace so I have something left in the tank for the uphill sections.

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: Thanks to the volunteers who make the race possible.

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Yelena Labor
Yelena Labor with be participating in her first half marathon.

Name: Yelena Laber

Town: Monroe

Age: 36

Profession: Certified Nurse Midwife

Years Running: 13 months

What made you start running? I wanted to get healthy, lose weight and feel good about my body.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? A student midwife I was training encouraged me to join her. I didn’t think I would be ready for a half for at least another 6 months

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: My philosophy is to just enjoy the race!

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Qiang Zhang has only been running for six months.
Qiang Zhang has only been running for six months.

Name: Qiang Zhang

Town: Princeton

Age: 36

Profession: Engineer

Years Running: 6 months

What made you start running? To remember my baby, who was miscarried this spring.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? It’s local and beautiful course.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: It’s a personal record anyway, enjoy the race!

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: Beers and cheers!

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Eva McKenna Tramontana with her two children.
Eva McKenna Tramontana with her two children.

Name: Eva McKenna Tramontana

Town: Pennington

Age: 34

Profession: Stay at home mom

Years Running: I was an athlete in high school. I  ran throughout the years but in the past year I really added running back into my life.

What made you start running? My original goal was to get into shape after having my second child. I quickly realized how enjoyable running is and how many beautiful trails fill Mercer County.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? My husband convinced me to run it with him.

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: Throughout my training experience I have realized how inspiring I have become for myself. When I started training I could barely run a mile without tiring out. Now I feel energized and stress reduced after a long run.

Thoughts on Sunday’s Race/anything else you would want to add: The journey the training has taken me on has introduced me to so many new and inspiring friends. My children Mason and Madeline will be on my mind and my motivation to finish strong. They have been my running buddies for most of my training. My husband and I are looking forward to accomplishing our first half marathon. We wish all of the runners a great run and strong finish.

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Princeton University student Aida Haddad.
Princeton Seminary student Aida Haddad.

Name: Aida Haddad

Town: from Bloomington, Indiana; student in Princeton, New Jersey
Age: 23

Profession: full time student at Princeton Theological Seminary

Years Running: 11 years on and off

What made you start running? I started running for my middle school’s cross country team and then for stress management in high school and college. Once I got to seminary I started running to feel good.

What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? My friend, Tasha, and I want to do this as training for the Philadelphia Gore-tex Half Marathon in a couple of weeks. Although, we’ve been talking about the Princeton Half Marathon since I started school here, last fall — this has been a small dream of ours and we’re really excited to run this race together!

Running Philosophy and Race Strategy: I run to feel happy. It helps energize me for other important parts of the day. When Tasha and I run together we end up talking about some pretty mind-blowing concepts! I guess that’s what happens when you put a couple of seminarians in the Institute Woods or along the Canal for miles at a time. Ha!

Other thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I have to be ready for work by 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning… this willl be interesting!

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • This is a nice, thoughtful way to make the race “come alive,” by introducing some of the runners. I really appreciate the intelligent coverage, thank you!

  • Guest

    Just a note: This is not the Second Annual Princeton Half Marathon. There were many before it. The Princeton Half Marathon was a popular and well-known road race from the late 1970s into the 1990s with well over a thousand runners. Many of us ran it back then and remember the challenging hilly course well.

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