Team Rogue Elite fills post-collegiate training gap
Although it has what is considered one of the more vibrant running scenes in the country, Austin has not had a well-organized training system for highly talented post-collegiate runners.
Team Rogue Elite may change that.
The fledgling team, running events this year for the first time, has eight national-caliber runners: Darren Brown, Kyle Miller, Erik Stanley and Joe Thorne — all former University of Texas runners; Adam and Dacia Perkins out of the University of Arkansas; Shauneen Garrahan from Amherst College; and Allison Macsas from the University of Tampa.
"We're a non-profit that's basically designed to provide opportunities for post-collegiate track athletes," says Steven Sisson, who was a three-time All-America track and cross country runner at UT and now is an assistant coach for the UT women's track team.
"When they finish their track eligibility (in college), we want to give them the opportunity to train," Sisson says.
"Twenty years ago, when I got done with my track at the University of Texas, I had to work on a shoe floor for 50 hours a week, and do the things that were necessary to make a living. So we're trying to offer an alternative, in the same way as Zap Fitness in North Carolina, or the Hansons-Brooks Team in Michigan has."
The ZAP Foundation is a non-profit group that depends on donations and sponsorships for about half of its revenue and on teams and running camps run by the group for the other half. The money is used to help runners cover expenses while they are training.
"The goal is to provide health care, travel and housing and of course equipment, as well as a bonus structure depending on how they do. And we'll help them find part-time employment," says Ruth England, a Team Rogue Elite manager and co-founder and curriculum director of Rogue Training Systems.
Advanced Rehabilitation, podiatrist Steven Walters, Texas Sports and Family Medicine, and Trigger Point Technologies are all chipping in services to help keep Team Rogue Elite on the road, says England.
If Sisson succeeds, he would add a dimension to the Austin running scene, which has a large population of runners and an extensive menu of races each year, but does not have a structured training environment for elite, post-college runners.
"We're trying to get these athletes to perform on a national and international stage. And I think (the team) will benefit the Austin running scene as well, because younger runners will see what's happening and can hope and dream to be future athletes.
"Our main push is to put every athlete we have on our team in an Olympic trials final. And we'd love to get a few to make an Olympic team.
"But even if we don't succeed in that, we will have made a statement that will echo through the collegiate and professional ranks of running here."
"It means so much to me," says Garrahan, a 10:03 steeplechaser. "When I decided to come to law school at UT, the hardest part of the decision was not knowing whether I'd be able to keep training at a high level. So having this opportunity to keep training with this team is incredible."
" We're in it for everything, and we're all committed to do whatever it takes to reach the highest level in our sport. We're doing this because we all believe in it."
Notes: Correcting the finish of the Run for the Water 10 Miler, Karen Saenz finished fifth and Catherine Barrera placed sixth.
At the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on Sunday, 45-year old Albina Gallymova topped Austin runners, finishing fifth in the women's field (2:40:38). David Vance was next at 2:49:51. Allison Macsas was the top Austin runner in the half-marathon, taking third place overall (1:18:58). Alan Crane was the second Austinite (1:20:00) and Desiree Ficker was the third Austinite and fifth overall (1:22:27).