Athlete of the Month

The Team Sheeper Athlete of the Month award is handed out to a member of the team on a monthly basis, 7 or 8 times a year. The AOM is someone who made a notable contribution to the team or did something remarkable. Selection is made by nomination and voting by the membership.

You can nominate anyone and the nomination period is usually during the first week or two of the month. Look for notification that nominations are being sought.  When nomination close, the voting starts and once all the votes are tallied, the new AOM is crowned.

Besides bragging rights for a month, our AOM gets some goodies from our gracious sponsors, such as free shoes from TRH, a massage from SMI, gift certificates from GoRide.

The Runner's High is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. We are about more than just improving athletic skills and performances.

Chad Keck

September 2001 Athlete of the Month

Team Sheeper is happy to announce Chad Keck as the September Athlete of the Month. Described as consistent, competitive, relentless and a real "gear lover" by coach Tim Sheeper, Chad has had a great year in the men's 55-59 age group. Highlighting the year were a win at the Donner Lake Triathlon, a third place finish at Pacific Grove, sixth at Wildflower, seventh at the Sentinel and eleventh at San Jose.

Chad works as an investment banker at Needham & Company, Inc., a specialty investment banking firm, headquartered in New York, with an office on Sand Hill Road. Career aspirations include retiring and spending more time in training -- a second career, whatever, but that was when the NASDAQ was at 5000, not 1500. Chad keeps a hand in golf and fishing so that he will be able to transition to them when he gets "old enough." Gardening is another hobby he would spend more time with -- if he had more time!

Chad found Team Sheeper when Menlo Masters moved to Sacred Heart Prep and claims credit for being there first! Coincidentally, one of Chad's West Point classmates invited (challenged) him to join him in the London Triathlon. Chad had turned to swimming, having been diagnosed with arthritis in his hips (he is really not that old, girls). The new pool at SHP seemed a great place to start. With a little coaching from Tim, he did the London Triathlon in 1999, although his buddy backed out. After doing London, Chad realized how much he needed Team Sheeper, and has been coming steadily since. What Chad says he likes most about triathlon is the people. "Our sport attracts motivated, energetic, self-confident people -- people with a zeal for sports and for life. Triathlon attracts people who commit themselves to their training and their racing and are not out to impress others with their importance and their prowess. We get to measure ourselves at every workout, at every race, against the course, against ourselves and against the field. We share the common bond of the sport and are quick to embrace all who wish to join our numbers. I have never found a more positive group."

Not new to athletics, Chad's claim to fame in life is that he captained the rugby team at West Point and at Harvard Business School. His West Point team won the "most important" national tournament in 1967 at Notre Dame when he was captain, and he was interviewed by the South Bend television station (not NBC, but a big deal just the same!) Chad then played rugby for club teams in New York, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Harrisburg, PA. In total he played for more than 15 years after college (maybe that is why he has arthritis?!). Chad took to running later in life and ran five marathons, including the 100th Boston Marathon. "This was the 'Woodstock' of running," Chad says, "and since I was in Vietnam during the original Woodstock, it was a thrill for me."

Sports participation runs strong in the Keck household. Chad's son, Martin, is a runner at Amherst College, an outdoorsman, and a rock climber. His other son Matt is a rugby player at Boston College. Martin and Chad have run together in many road races, and Martin did his first marathon when Chad did his last in January of 1999. Martin did his first triathlon back East this fall and Chad thinks he may be hooked. Matt was selected for the USA Under-19 National Rugby Team, the Junior Eagles, although an injury kept him from touring with the team. He is the currently president of the Boston College Rugby Club. When Matt was a developing schoolboy rugby player, Chad was able to play in a couple of games (schoolboy versus old boy) with him and describes it as "an enormous thrill." "The ability to participate in athletics with my sons is more than compensation for all the hours and pains I endure to stay fit," Chad says. "Take note, you younger parents and parent wannabes." Chad's wife, Barbara, is an entrepreneur and a storyteller and tolerates Chad's triathlon habit. "Barbara jokes about Team Sheeper being a cult, and that helps her deal with our sporting passion," Chad says.

The Epic Ride 2001 is Chad's most memorable Team Sheeper event. This was his third try at the Epic, having to sag in his first two tries. This year Chad bought a new bike, trained harder and rode with a very supportive group: Susie, Terrie and Julian. "If you listen carefully, you can still hear the echo of my most boisterous exclamation when I returned to the Sacred Heart pool after finishing the ride -- MADE IT!" he tells. Chad's goals are to continue bringing down his times as he develops his skills and techniques. "Can my skill development and fitness development run ahead of Father Time?" he asks. So far, so good -- he was faster at San Jose, Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz (8 minutes), but slower at Wildflower. Chad likes to do about five Olympic distance races per year. If he had more time (maybe when he retires), he would like to do some more exotic venues. "London was really fun because my sister lives there and it was a well-run event," he recalls. "I am probably restricted to Olympic distance races unless they come up with that shot of ersatz cartilage to repair my hips. But, hey, that's cool, I leave the longer distance to the younger guys. I am just happy I found the sport in time to do what I have done."

"I really appreciate people who are dedicated and reach for excellence in what they do. My greatest compliment for an individual is that he/she is the best at what they do. Tim Sheeper is the best at what he does and I thank him for doing it!" says Chad. Team Sheeper returns the compliment and thanks Chad for being a fantastic team member.