Cleveland Elite Development

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CED (in pink) most recently lined up at the USATF Club XC National Championships where they placed a strong 11th out of 43! Photo by Aubrey Alexander.

When you think of elite running organizations, you probably think of Boulder, Colorado or Mammoth Lakes, California. You might be surprised to learn that a group of extremely ambitious women is training to reach the upper echelons of our sport in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 2012 the Cleveland Elite Development team was founded by a group of athletes training in the Cleveland area with one thing in common:  their coach, Glenn Andrews. Prior to the founding of CED, Andrews coached a select handful of runners who found him by word of mouth. One of those runners was me. I began training under Andrews’ guidance in March, 2011 and set almost all of my personal records with his help. Back then, Glenn also coached the ageless Barb Broad to several age group victories in Boston and more, Elizabeth Miceli (Pepper) from a 3:20 marathon PR down to a 2:49 marathon, and Nicole Camp to her first OTQ and then a 2:39:10 at the 2012 Olympic trials.

Nicole Camp competing in the 2012 US Olympic Marathon trials where she finished in 2:39:10.
Former CED athlete Nicole Camp competing in the 2012 US Olympic Marathon trials where she finished in 2:39:10.

Since the founding of the group, Miceli has taken a break from serious run training after several injuries, Camp trained with CED through last spring, logging a 2:37:27 marathon PR and a 1:14:41 half marathon PR. She has since moved to Boulder to train full-time with Brad Hudson’s group. I had my third child and struggled with injuries, but now I’m back! And Barb, a force of nature, is continuing her age-group dominance as a member of CED.

While Cleveland Elite Development is open to both male and female athletes, the team is currently comprised of 12 women runners (including Barb and me, the only remaining original members) and their coach, Glenn Andrews. While the runners of CED are certainly very talented, none is a professional runner. Each runner maintains her high level of training on top of leading an otherwise normal busy life. As recent college graduate Morgan Meade put it, “CED is a group of women who aim high at everything they do.” The current roster consists of a mother of four, three mothers of three, a mother of infant twins, a mother of one, a geology professor, a nursing professor, a lawyer, a future lawyer, a special educator and that’s just to name a few! CED ladies are ambitious through and through!

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Coach Glenn Andrews delivers the week’s track workout. Photo by Jinger Moore.

While some elite running groups are collectives of runners who train independently and race in the same shirt, Cleveland Elite Development runners train together under the watchful eye of our shared coach. Perhaps more important than possessing the potential for greatness in the sport, Andrews is concerned with finding athletes who fit with the rest of the team. He often says it’s an attitude that makes someone right for the team.

With that principle in mind, Andrews carefully crafted the CED mission statement:

Cleveland Elite Development is a training group with the mission of providing an opportunity for talented middle and long distance runners to train in an environment that will prepare them to compete on a level with the best in the nation and the highest levels of the sport.

If you see the group in action, you’ll instantly recognize that his instincts are spot on. One thing that any outsider would notice about the group, they really like and respect each other; it’s not just Andrews’ training plans or the dozens of miles the women run each week that make them successful. The support the runners give each other and the friendships they share give their team a little extra something special. As member and two-time Olympic Trials Qualifier Becki Spellman explains, “having a coach and a group of women who care about one another so much is inspiring and it makes me want to get out the door each day and work harder to help give back to my team.”

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Getting it done on the track! Photo by Jinger Moore.

While the group clearly has fun together, they still run hard. Most Tuesdays out of the year, the members of the team meet Andrews for a track workout. Even many outsiders know these workouts to be hard, sometimes to the point of grueling, yet CED runners look forward to Tuesdays!  Seven-time All American Ellie Hess sums it up: “at the track, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Everyone knows how to have a good time, which makes these hard workouts bearable! Make no mistake though, when the intervals start, these girls know how to work!”

And that work has paid off! Since CED was founded the team has achieved countless PRs, age group records, several Olympic trials qualifiers and even a world record! While those achievements are certainly noteworthy, the team also hopes to inspire other women athletes to chase their dreams. Kelsi Nutter, grad student and winner of the 2014 Akron Half Marathon says, “I hope other women are motivated by the athletes of CED who have grown through the program and realize with proper coaching, support and drive they can compete at a level that was once unimaginable.”

2015 Cleveland Elite Development Roster

Aubrey Alexander

487777_589526661057784_823325071_nA 2010 graduate of Belmont University, where she was a track and field stand-out, Aubrey is 26 years old. Since joining CED she has logged PRs in every distance she’s raced.

PRs: Mile (5:05), 3k (10:19.92), 5k (18:03), 10k (38:37), Half Marathon (1:27:02).

Barb Broad

Since working with Glenn, Barb regularly runs world-class times in distances ranging from 800 meters to the marathon and at 64 she shows no signs of slowing down! Read more about Barb in Ginger’s interview with her here! “I keep improving because I am very inspired by the talent, motivation, and drive of the other CED runners. Also, Glenn has always believed in my capabilities and sets realistic but challenging goals for me.”

PRs: 1500 (5:28), Mile (5:59), 5k (20:37), 10 mile (1:12), Half Marathon (1:33), Marathon (3:18). 

Abby Fischer

The newest member of the group, Abby is a 2014 graduate of Xavier University where she was a top athlete in both cross country and track. With Glenn’s and the team’s help she hopes to move up in distance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.

PRs: 1500 (4:40.81), 3k (9:58.83), 5k (16:54), 10k (35:40)

Elizabeth Herndon

Beth, 29, is a professor of geology at Kent State University. She ran cross country and track for Washington University in St. Louis. Since competing post-collegiately, Beth has qualified for the 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials and most recently became the World Beer Mile Champion and World Record Holder! “Marathon talent is getting deeper in the US so I know I need to step it up to remain competitive, but training with CED will help me to improve both mentally and physically as a runner. Most importantly, having such a great group to train with makes the process FUN.”

PRs: 5k (17:09), 10k (35:34), Half Marathon (1:16:17), Marathon (2:39:18), Beer Mile (6:17.71)

Ellie Hess

Ellie, 31, is the mother of 4 children between the ages of 1 and 7.  She graduated from John Carroll University in 2005 where she was a seven-time All American in cross country and track. Since joining CED this summer, she’s logged significant PRs from 5k to the Half Marathon. “While I would be incredibly excited to run an Olympic qualifying time, I know that with such a kick-ass team and coach, the process itself will be just as rewarding.”

PRs: 1500 (4:38), 3k Steeplechase (10:23), 5k (17:07), 10k (35:07), Half Marathon (1:17:50)

Lizzie Jesko

A recently married financial services manager, Lizzie became a competitive runner a few years after graduating from college. Since training with CED Lizzie has run PRs at every distance, most notably breaking 3 hours at the 2012 Akron Marathon. “Having not run at a competitive level since high school, finding CED and Glenn has been instrumental to my running career. The support from the team and Glenn’s guidance drives my motivation to be competitive. I’m proud to see our accomplishments!

PRs: 5k (18:10), 5 Mile (31:23), 10 Mile (1:03:55), Half Marathon (1:27:48), Marathon (2:59:23)

Katie Kay

Katie is a 32 year old professor of nursing and mother of three. After taking a long break from competition after running briefly for Mount Union College, Katie returned to running after the birth of her youngest child. Her most notable achievement since joining CED last winter is winning the Glass City Marathon. “There will always be people that challenge you, say you can’t run that fast or that you’ll never beat this or that person. Don’t believe them and find the people that say you can do it. You will do it. That is what I have with CED and for that I am always willing to give my absolute best.”

PRs: 5k (18:10), 5 mile (29:57), 10k (37:48), Half Marathon (1:21:52), Marathon (2:56:27)

Morgan Meade

Morgan, 22, is a 2014 graduate of Ohio University and a marketing professional. She competed in collegiate track and cross country. “There is no shame in expecting great things from yourself, taking the time out to work towards those things, and pushing yourself to achieve them in a healthy way. Everyone is better off when we all live up to our full potential.”

PRs: 1500 (4:48), Mile (5:10), 3k (10:12), 5k (17:35), 10k (37:20)

Kelsi Nutter

Graduate student Kelsi, 25, joined CED in the fall of 2013 after running for Wright State University where she graduated in 2011. Since training with CED, Kelsi has logged huge PRs in all distances and most notably won the 2014 Akron Half Marathon. “As a member of CED, I am surrounded by such positive, influential and driven women who motivate me to be the best I can be.  Not only am I the fittest I have ever been, but also CED has provided an environment to grow mentally.”

PRs: 5k (17:28), 5 Mile (28:22), 10k (34:33), Half Marathon (1:17:05), Marathon (2:59:04)

Jessica Odorcic

A 34 year old mother of a three year-old son, Jessica’s biggest accomplishment since joining CED was qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials at the 2013 Akron Half Marathon, running a PR 1:14:22. “I never thought that I would be able to run faster after college or compete at such a high level, but with Glenn’s coaching that became a reality.

PRs: 5k (16:20), 5 Mile (26:19), 10k (33:36), Half Marathon (1:14:22), Marathon (2:51:52)

Laura Pizmoht

That’s me! I’m a 39 year old attorney taking some time off from my career to stay home with my three children (ages 2, 4.5 and 6). Since training with Glenn, I have run PRs in every distance I’ve raced except the marathon. Although I’m certainly a work in progress, Glenn has taught me how to push myself out of my comfort zone and my teammates inspire me to work hard and dream big every day! I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this amazing group!

PRs: 5k (18:15), 5 Mile (30:59), 10 Mile (1:04:47), Half Marathon (1:25:59), Marathon (3:10:15)

Meredith Shaul

Meredith is a 24 year old graduate student. She ran track and cross country for the College of Wooster. A 2013 addition to CED, Meredith continues to train and race well on both the track and the roads, most notably running her first half marathon in 1:25:41.

PRs: Mile (5:10), 3k (10:29), 5k (17:58), 10k (37:49), Half Marathon (1:25:41)

Becki Spellman

Becki is the mother of 5 month old twins and manages a large local running store. She is a two-time olympic trials qualifier in the marathon and has won many local and regional races including the 2011 Akron Marathon. Since joining CED in 2013, Becki has improved on several PRs. “Follow the plan and smile at the result, then get back to work on the next goal!” 

PRs: Mile (4:51), 2 Miles (10:14), 5k (16:46), 5 Miles (27:41), 10k (34:41), 15k (52:48), Half Marathon (1:16:05), Marathon (2:40:16)

 

For more information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities you can contact Cleveland Elite Development here.  You can also follow Cleveland Elite Development on Facebook and Twitter!

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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4 comments

  1. It is women and teams like this who set a good example, set the bar high and encourage relativity average runners like me to work for big dreams. We may never never be as fast as them, but these are women inspire me to work really hard to try.

  2. It’s great to see this. Whenever I am in NE Ohio visiting my folks, I am always amazed at how few runners I see out there compared to here in Md. So I’m happy to know there is a thriving running community–and a fast one at that–in the area.

    1. Cleveland has a huge and vibrant running community, but perhaps unlike other places it is spread out across a large area. Next time you’re in town let me know and I can take you to the hotspots :)