Published in the DAILY RECORD of Morris County
on Sunday, August 2, 2015
DIANA D’ACHILLE OF DENVILLE WAS READY FOR THE VERIZON RACE
When Diana D’Achille of Denville toed the line at the Verizon Corporate Classic earlier this month, she was quite literally on the line. With over 4,000 runners in the crowd on Speedwell Avenue in Morristown it is a little unusual for even fast women runners to put themselves up front with the fast men. But D’Achille admits to being a jack rabbit starter.
“I always go out fast,” she said. Every coach I have ever had tried to change my style, but it never worked for me. Coaches would tell me to stay with the 2nd fastest teammate for the first mile and then try to run negative splits from there.”
“Every race I ran this way ended up as a disappointment,” said D’Achille. “I like to think, ‘If it is not broken, don't fix it’”.
When the horn sounded at the Verizon race D’Achille rocketed off the line and did her best to stay with the lead pack of men for as long as she could. She never saw or passed any other women. For awhile she was aware of a woman behind her in the early stages but that woman fell off the pace. D’Achille, who actually prefers morning races, was feeling good and running hard.
“After the second mile I knew I was in a good position and wanted to keep it,” she said. “I really wanted to do well for my team [Verizon]. It is mind over matter that pushed me to keep the pace through the toughest part of the course.”
D’Achille finished in 18:17. Only Elena Rozhko of Morristown, Rachel Sorna, and Ashley Higginson, who now runs professionally have won the race with a faster time.
Although only 23, D’Achille is a seasoned runner. Her first race was the Rockaway Rotary’s Summer Blast in 2002 when she was just ten. She placed in her age division and the seeds had been sown.
D’Achille ran cross country at Morris Knolls and lettered all four years. She was named All County and All Conference. In her junior year D’Achille ran in the Meet of Champions as an individual.
Cross country was not her only sport. She headed to the Lacrosse field in the spring missing outdoor track although she had a taste of indoor track in the winter when she competed in her sophomore and senior years.
Lacrosse and cross country were her selected sports at Marywood University, a small Division III school in Scranton PA. D’Achille was chosen the Most Athletic Woman of the Year at Marywood for her achievements in Lacrosse and cross country. She still holds two school records; the fastest 5K - 18:03 and the fastest 6K – 21:41. She is perhaps most proud of helping her team to qualify for the Nationals, a first for a Marywood cross country team.
Post collegiate D’Achille is still hard in training. On weekends she runs on the roads, always varying her route. During the work week she rises at 4:30 in the morning and heads to the gym to run six to eight miles on a treadmill. A lifting routine follows.
“What I believe has made me faster is that I am devoting more time for lifting and ab workouts,” said D’Achille.
Although 5K’s are her favorite distance to race, she has not limited herself to just 5K’s. Excluding high school and college, she has competed in over 100 races since her start in 2002. They include 10K’s, a half marathon, triathlons, a duathlon, and several of the challenge races, like the Spartan Beast and other obstacle races.
“Never a full marathon,” she said. “So a future marathon may be a possibility. For the next few months a 5K race once a month is ideal for me.”
DOVER RENAISSANCE THIS SATURDAY
The Dover Renaissance 5K is being held this Saturday August 8th at 9:00 a.m. Directions on how to arrive and park due to the closed Prospect Street Bridge are on the application.
Awards are unique to this race. Each age division is based on the previous year’s participation. A large number of runners in a division might cause the awards to go five deep, and a smaller number dictates fewer prizes, like only two places in the 80 to 84.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at firstname.lastname@example.org.