Throwback Thursday: Sean Nesbitt and John Supsic Boulder USA XC

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This week we say THANK YOU to our two race directors Sean Nesbitt and John Supsic. Although they have wanted to remain behind the scenes and out of the spotlight during the build up these championships, none of this would be possible without them. Their vision and hard work has made these 2014 USA Cross Country Championships a reality for Boulder.

So if you happen to see them Saturday don’t forget to give them a pat on the back or a handshake for all their hard work.


Sean Nesbitt introduces race ambassador Jenny Simpson at the Boulder USA XC Kickoff in November 2013.

What inspired you to bring back the XC Champs to Boulder?

Sean: First of all, there’s a Flotrack video called “Thanks Pete“.  It’s about 5 1/2 minutes long and it starts with the press conference, goes to pre-race activity, the racing itself, and then some post-race interviews.  The people in that video like Alan Culpepper, Weldon Johnson, and Mark Plaatjes were all so positive. I watched that video in October 2012 and thought, “Why hasn’t this race returned?” Boulder deserves a race of this magnitude.

Secondly, the sport has meant so much to my life.  Probably 50% of the places I’ve ever visited, I probably visited because I was running a race. And I guarantee that every place I’ve ever visited, I’ve gone for a run(except L.A.  I didn’t have enough time). I don’t run competitively anymore and I’m currently not coaching, but I wanted to find a way to give back to the sport that has given me so much. So putting on this race was that opportunity to give back.

John: Honestly, this was all Nesbitt’s idea. I jumped on board because we had plans of hosting a race in memory of Terrence Doherty (TJ) after he tragically passed away in 2012. Unfortunately those plans continued to fall through. When Nesbitt approached me with the idea of hosting the USA XC Champs my first thought was that he is nuts. Now, I still think he is nuts. But I also figured that there isn’t a more spectacular race that we could host in TJ’s memory (aside from World XC Champs, of course). So I guess you could say that I am doing this for TJ.

Sean: It did all start with wanting to put on something for TJ and this seemed like the best type of race to capture his personality. TJ actually ran in the race in 2007 whereas John and I were volunteers.

What did you learn from Pete Julian directing the race in 2007

Sean: We learned from Pete that this race is too much to take on for just one person.  Let’s be honest though, he really set the bar with that race in 2007.  We know what a huge undertaking it was, but at the same time, it was a major success. Working with John was really the best decision I’ve made to date.  He’s been incredible.

John: Pete is amazing at delegating work. Boulder 2007 was successful because he has a fantastic ability to surround himself with amazing people. We used this model for 2014 and ran with it. I would say the only difference is that Sean and I throw ourselves in the trenches….and we prefer it that way.


2007 Race Director Pete Julian, John Supsic and Sean Nesbitt were all coaches at Metro State.

What has been your favorite memory so far?

Sean: I’m working with an architect on a project down at Metro State and he told me last week, “My friend met his wife at that race in 2007.”  That’s awesome to me! Of all the memories I have from that race, I never would have imagined that a happily married couple actually met at Flatirons watching the US Cross Champs.

What’s inspired me the most while working on this race is the positive attitude EVERYONE has. Our sponsors, casual fans, some guy I met on a lunch run on Cherry Creek, the golf course staff, the city of Boulder…

I think the best memories are still to come on Saturday.

Special shout outs?

John: First, our sponsors. This event would not be happening if it wasn’t for their generous support. And to some amazing members of the LOC: John Bridges, Don Janicki, Dan Pierce and our Queen Bee, Karen Lechman. We could not be putting this race on without all of their efforts.  All of our friends for stepping up to help in one way or another.  And, of course, I cannot forget my wife, Kristin Carpenter. She has been super patient throughout this process and I cannot thank her enough (although I am sure she will let me try).

Sean: I echo the special thanks that John stated. Our sponsors have stepped up in a major way, but other organizations like Bolder Boulder, Eldorado Springs, the Millennium Hotel and especially the Convention and Visitors Bureau. All I’ve heard from them the past two months is “How can we help?”

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

John: I am looking forward to some exciting racing on the 15th. Jenny toeing the line in the women’s race despite her absence from the cross country scene in recent years.  Defending champ Chris Derrick taking on Luke Puskedra,  Bobby Mack, Joe Gray, Nick Arciniaga & local favorites Brent Vaughn, Sean Quigley and Tyler McCandless; Hometown favorite Elise Cranny racing in the Junior Women’s race. It will be exciting to see her and Rainsberger go head to head again. The masters races will both be exciting as well, especially since I know I can’t hang with half of the field anymore (and I am not even in that category yet).

Nesbitt and Supsic finishing the Kentucky Derby Festival half marathon in 2006

Nesbitt and Supsic finishing the Kentucky Derby Festival half marathon in 2006

To all the runners and fans from all the country. Welcome to Boulder. We hope you enjoy your stay and run fast!

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