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Serious Team Endure fosters skills, community

During the summer, many young athletes lose what they gained during the school year. Not so for the distance runners who work out regularly with Team Endure.

"All of these kids train hard all year long, and then they get to the summer and there's nothing. We're trying to provide a resource for serious runners," said Chad Boyle, track coach at Dulaney High School.

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Founded in 1998 by Murray Davis, who is now UMBC track coach, Team Endure is a training program that offers experienced coaching and a community of like-minded athletes.

Alongside Boyle on the staff are Brad Jaeger, Loyola College cross country and track coach, and Donnie Mickey, who won three consecutive Class 4A state championships as coach at C. Milton Wright High.

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"The coaches are the best around, and they really know what they're doing," said former Tenke Zoltani, a Dulaney standout and two-time All-Metro Runner of the Year who has participated in Team Endure for several summers.

"This gets you really prepared for the fall and just gives you a good base for the whole year," said Zoltani, who will be a sophomore at Columbia University, where she was last season's No. 5 runner in women's cross country.

Billy Duffy, also a former Dulaney runner, is entering his sophomore year at Bucknell University where he is one of the top seven on the cross country squad. Duffy said the presence of other serious runners makes everyone go harder.

"This is the best group of runners and coaches to train with," said Duffy, who credits Team Endure with helping him win a Baltimore County championship as a senior. "The coaches might be a little hard on us, but it's for our own good."

Team Endure meets six times a week at various locations around Baltimore and Harford counties. Practice starts at 6:30 p.m. with a warm-up run followed by water breaks and extensive stretching designed to improve strength and flexibility. After that, the runners break up into groups for drills focusing on speed, form, and endurance.

By the end of practice, they've run anywhere between four and six miles. And that's considered a light day, because every Sunday, Team Endure meets at the Northern Central Railroad trail at Monkton Station for a run of eight to 14 miles.

"A lot of the credit goes to these kids. They're the ones who have to make that step out the door," Mickey said.

One who has made the step this summer is Ian Rowe, 13, who will enter Towson High as a freshman. . "I came here because I'd heard the coaches were good. Since I started, my form's better, I've gotten a lot stronger, and I just feel a lot better," he said.

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"There really is a science behind it," said Jaeger of the approach used by Team Endure. "We're trying to get them to run at a perfect pace. We're training their lungs, their form, their strength, even their ability to acclimate to certain conditions."

To help runners maximize their ability, Team Endure enlists the services of Dr. Jamie Roeder, a chiropractor based in Perry Hall. Roeder uses various technology, including X-rays of runners in mid-stride, to help runners correct their form and increase their efficiency.

Amy Morlock, 15, is entering her sophomore year at Perry Hall. A year-round swimmer as well, she has used this summer with Team Endure to improve the mechanics of her arms while she runs. She's been trying to keep them straighter instead of swinging them side to side, which was affecting her performance.

"This practicing really helps with the technical stuff, because we do a lot of variety in our training," she said. "Also, I know this is good for me, because these college kids wouldn't be sticking with this if they didn't think it was good."

Ryan Cartwright, an Eastern Tech grad who will be a sophomore at UMBC in the fall, is back for his fourth summer with Team Endure. Cartwright, who set a meet record at the Mid-Atlantic Classic his senior season, has improved his cross country times every year since joining what he calls a "very well-structured" program. Like Duffy, he appreciates the number of serious runners involved.

"We know all the kids here will see each other during the season, so we have to stay prepared," he said.

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Membership costs $150 for the summer and is open to runners from seventh grade through college. Team Endure has about 35 registered members, a few of whom come six days a week , although the minimum requirement is two sessions a week. The program started June 10 and will close Aug. 14. (Information: www.teamendure.org)

"We do this because we love it," said Jaeger, who is also president of Triathlantic Association, a multi-sport event management organization on the East Coast with a membership of more than 25,000 people. "We're trying to build a camaraderie around Baltimore County, because this is one of the only sports you can do all your life."


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