Why should my child join the Granite State Flash?

The Granite State Flash offers a healthy balance between advanced youth training and competition while recognizing that a child's development must be gradual over time so that he or she does not become injured or "peak" too early and lose his/her desire to run when in high school and beyond. We are conservative in our training approach, limit our practices to 2-3 times per week and encourage our runners to have interests and activities outside of running, even during their USATF season.


Our balanced approach to youth running works. Flash runners have won the last three (2005-2006-2007) Class L Boys High School Cross Country Championships as well as the last three Meet of Champions races.  In 2006 the #1 and #2 boys’ finishers were Flash alumni who both broke the State Meet of Champions High School record (Matt Paulson & Anthony Merra) which was then won by former Flash runner Alex McGrath in 2007. Since 2004 Flash boys have won numerous New Hampshire indoor and outdoor track titles from 600 meters (indoor) up through 3200 meters (outdoor) as well as three New England titles. On the girls side Jenna Marschhausen won the girls Class L title in 2004 with Flash runner Holly Bananian finishing 2nd and Kristin Johnson 3rd.   From 2005 through 2007 ten Flash girls have finished in the top 10 of the Class L Cross Country Championships, nine have placed in the top ten at the Meet of Champions and eleven have won State track and field state titles.


Last but not least, our runners make enduring friendships with runners from other area towns and cities that last long after they have finished running for the Flash. While we are proud of the athletic accomplishments of our team members, our greatest reward is when we see our (present and former) Flash runners supporting their Flash teammates despite competing for different schools.

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than yourself."


Who founded the Flash?

The Granite State Flash was founded by Don and Holly McCarty of Nashua, N.H. and Mike and Cathy Merra of Amherst, N.H. to provide more post-school season opportunities within the USATF program for local youth distance runners. In our first year in 2001 we had just three coaches (Mike Sarro, Cathy Merra and Don McCarty) and 20 runners. Our Youth Girls team, which had only five runners from Manchester and Bedford, advanced to the national championships in Lincoln, Nebraska finishing eighth in the country. In 2002, we had 45 runners participate in the program and our Youth Boys team finished eighth in the United States, the top finish of any Youth Boys team east of the Mississippi.  In 2003 we had grown to more than 70 runners from 16 different towns and cities. We had six teams compete at the New England Championships with three teams qualifying for the Regional Championships in New York City and the Youth Boys and Girls teams advancing in December 2003 to the National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We also had our first Bantam boy qualify for the National Championships, finishing 33rd in the United States. In 2004 we qualified six it became obvious it was necessary to make some changes to accommodate our growth. Several of our coaches obtained their Level I USATF Track & Field coaching certifications by attending three-day schools in Rhode Island and New Jersey. We formally incorporated as a non-profit corporation with the New Hampshire Secretary of State's Office and also became a member of the Road Runners Club of America which formally grants us a number of benefits including federal tax exempt 501 (C)(3) status. Also in 2004 all six Flash teams qualified and competed at the Nationals held just outside of Chicago, Illinois.  Three of those teams finished in the top 10 in the U.S.  In 2005, seven Flash teams qualified for the National Championships held in Providence Rhode Island, with six of those teams earning top 10 finishes including two teams winning National Championships and another capturing a bronze. Nine runners in 2005 earned All-American honors (top 25 individually in U.S.).  In 2006 all six teams advanced to the Nationals in Spokane, Washington with the Midget Boys defending their National title and in 2007 six Flash teams returned to the Nationals in Lawrence, Kansas with the Youth Boys team capturing the National Bronze medal.    

How do you raise funds to support the Granite State Flash?

This is our greatest challenge. Our annual dues cover only a portion of our total annual operating expenses. All of our coaches are unpaid volunteers who also pay their own travel expenses. This includes such things as hotel, air travel as well as most off-season training seminars and expenses related to their coaching certifications. Our biggest expense involves our insurance coverage, membership in RRCA, annual filing fees, printing costs, website development and equipment costs to name a few. Each year many of our runners raise all of the necessary funds on their own for their trip to the Nationals.  Over the years the Flash has been most grateful for generous donations from organizations such as Lonzo Biologic, Wiggin & Nourie, Rochester Runners Club, Merra & Kanakis, P.C., Sunny Delight, as well as many individual supporters and Flash families who contribute above and beyond the annual dues (about $60).   Some of our coaches also donate their annual school coaching salaries to support the Flash.   No child is ever denied the opportunity to participate in  the Flash because of finances. 


What if my child has to miss a practice, is that allowed?

Since the season is so short and we practice only 2-3 days per week we hope that your child can make every practice. Nevertheless, we understand doctors appointments, school conflicts and other emergencies do arise. These need to be discussed directly with the coach.

Are all of your workouts held in Manchester?

All of our workouts are held in Manchester.