An open letter to the Greater Boston Area from Rachel and John Schilkowsky, co-founders of the Mass Mavericks Track Club (MMTC).

maverick n. a person who thinks and acts in an independent way that is different from what is usual or expected

MMTC is a new club created to support elite and emerging elite, semi-professional runners in the Greater Boston Area as they continue to train and race post-collegiately. Specifically, the club aims to assist runners in their pursuit of personal records, victories and titles at the regional level, qualification for and high placement at national championships, and selection onto USA teams. MMTC supports runners competing over a wide range of distances – 800m up through the marathon – and across multiple venues: track, road, trail, and cross country.

Through strategic partnerships with businesses and organizations, MMTC seeks to provide runners with support in a number of critical areas including coaching assistance, discounts on gear and shoes, strength & conditioning, gait analysis, nutrition counseling, massage therapy, and recovery and rehabilitation services. In addition, MMTC will assist athletes in the procurement of individual sponsorships, entry and accommodations for major competitions, and opportunities to obtain supplementary funding for other training and racing-related expenses. Furthermore, MMTC seeks to provide its members the benefits of group training by facilitating practices and workouts that fit with each member’s individual schedule.

Since being here in Boston as a pair of post-collegiate runners, we’d tried just about everything when it came to finding our place in the running community. We competed unattached, racing when and where we wanted, wearing whatever ‘uniform’ we happened to pull out of the drawer that day. We joined a well-established club, one that had a clear system of support but a rigid set of rules and expectations. We joined a brand new club, one where the future was full of possibilities, but the path forward was very unclear.

Each situation was different, each with it’s own benefits and drawbacks. But our departure from each situation wasn’t due to the lack of any specific benefit or the presence of any particular drawback. We left not to get away from something we didn’t want, but to move towards something we wanted more.

And what we wanted more than anything, we one day finally realized while out running together, was the ability to create something that was entirely our own.

So we decided to start our own club.

But as big of a decision as it was to make our own club, an even bigger decision presented itself immediately after: what would our club be all about? We didn’t want to create a club, simply for the sake of creating a club. We didn’t want to just be another one of the seemingly infinite number of running clubs in the New England region. We wanted to create a club that had a specific and meaningful purpose, one that filled a need and could help real people achieve real goals.

Unlike the decision to start our own club, one that took us almost two years to acknowledge and ultimately make, the decision regarding the purpose of our club came almost at once: a club for semi-professional runners.

Semi-professional runners are those runners who train and compete at a high enough enough level that they may receive compensation in the form of race winnings or travel/training grants from sponsors and/or organizations, but cannot fully support themselves solely via running. Semi-professionals must therefore have a job, either part or full-time, or some other other means of income to supplement the limited income running may provide. Many semi-professional runners train and compete at a truly elite level, performing on the national and even sometimes international stages, but the way in which they go about doing so is quite different from that which is usual or expected.

They workout in the early mornings and the late evenings, often times when the sun is nowhere to be seen. Sometimes they squeeze in a second run or a lifting session during their lunch break. They schedule races around business trips and other work obligations, sometimes altering workouts on the fly when things come up last minute. They run commute to and from work to save time. When they travel to big meets, they pay for their own flights and stay with a friend or at the local three-star hotel instead of at the fancy host hotel. They may arrive late the night before a race because they couldn’t take off from work or miss class the day before. They don’t have time for mid-afternoon naps. They can’t take month-long trips to train at altitude. They don’t have nearly the same amount of time, resources, or support as the majority of our competitors, but yet, they toe the line.

It is these runners, the ones going against the grain and taking the path less traveled, the ones with big dreams and ambitions both on and off the track/road/trail, that Mass Mavericks TC hopes to support.

If you’re a runner interested in joining the team or an organization interested in partnering with the team, please feel free to contact us, and we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to check out the rest of the website to see what Mass Mavericks TC is all about!