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A push for a permanent track stadium

The Boston 2024 Partnership is fielding questions these days from all corners: legislators, business leaders, community activists.

Now we can add the president of USA Track & Field New England to the list.

Tom Derderian (above) seeks a relatively modest proposal from the pro-Olympics group: He’d like to get a permanent outdoor track stadium out of this venture.

Boston 2024 has proposed a 60,000-seat stadium for ceremonies and track events, but it would be temporary, to be disassembled after the Games are over.

“All this activity comes here, then it goes away, the stadium is torn down, and we’re back where we started,” Derderian said. “There will be no net gain for track and field in New England after the biggest track meet in the world comes here.”


The area, he said, needs a stadium with 5,000 seats, and enough room for all field events to be visible from the stands. Derderian might not be a household name like Bill Rodgers, but he’s still one of the most well-known figures in the local running community. He coaches with the Greater Boston Track Club — Rodgers’s team when he first won Boston 40 years ago — and he wrote the definitive book on the Boston Marathon.

Derderian says such a stadium could be self-sustaining, with concerts, soccer matches, and track meets all paying to use the space. The facility, he said, could be a good proving ground for Boston 2024 before the big circus rolls in. But financing the construction, well, that would require some deep pockets, and Derderian doesn’t have a specific proposal for how to pull it off.

Boston 2024 spokesman Kyle Sullivan was noncommittal when asked about Derderian’s idea: It’s still premature to get into specifics about venues, he said, but “there’s no doubt that we will be drawing on all of this as we develop our innovative and sustainable concept for the 2024 bid.”


You might think someone like Boston College track coach Randy Thomas would sprint over steeplechase barriers to support Derderian’s cause. After all, BC doesn’t even have its own track.

Thomas said he is intrigued by the idea, but he concedes he has some reservations: He wonders what would happen if too many colleges vie to use the lanes at the same time, or if the track isn’t popular enough beyond the core running community. “Track and field is like a lost child in terms of Boston sports,” he said.


Saucony, Mechanica back on same team

Another local running shoe company is competing with Adidas for the hearts of Boston Marathon runners and spectators.

Adidas, you may know, is the official running shoe sponsor of the Marathon. And New Balance regularly posts its own Marathon-themed outdoor ads around Boston at this time of the year.

Now, Saucony wants in on the act.

If you’re in the Back Bay this weekend, you’ll probably see one of Saucony’s Marathon signs. They’re part of a bigger marketing push by the Lexington-based shoe brand, the most expensive campaign in its history.

The campaign represents a reunion of sorts for Saucony and Mechanica, the Newburyport-based ad agency that had success in 2011 developing the “Find your strong” slogan. Mechanica was later ditched, after Saucony was acquired by Wolverine Worldwide, which wanted its own agency.

But Saucony president Richie Woolworth missed the personal touch that Mechanica provided. So over dinner with Mechanica co-owners Ted Nelson and Libby Delana at Brine in Newburyport last July, Woolworth started hashing out a plan that would bring Mechanica back on board.


The result: a message that focuses on what people are looking for when they run. “What are you seeking?” one ad asks. “The scream tunnel in Wellesley. The crowds in Kenmore. The victory beer on Boylston.”

Aside from the traditional print ads and outdoor posters, Saucony has also commissioned short online videos about runners with interesting back stories — the first is about an astronomer who runs marathons.

Mary O’Brien, vice president of global marketing for Saucony, said “find your strong” has become a rallying cry for the company.

“It relates to all types of runners,” O’Brien said. “If you’re running so you can eat a doughnut at the end, or running to set your PR, it doesn’t matter. You still have to ‘find your strong’ every day.”


Bialecki signs on with real estate firm

Former state economic development chief Greg Bialecki can once again put other peoples’ money where his mouth is.

Bialecki has joined the Boston real estate firm Redgate Co., where he will manage a fund investing in multifamily housing projects. The Newton resident, who spent six years working under former governor Deval Patrick, is a high profile hire for the company founded in 2010.

The firm, which specializes in urban housing developments, has been making a name for itself lately with a string of large projects in the Boston area. It developed the 184-unit Maxwell’s Green apartment complex in Somerville as well as One North Boston, a 230-unit apartment community in Chelsea.


Redgate also struck a deal last year to help revive the stalled redevelopment of downtown Quincy with a 169-unit apartment and retail project.

Bialecki will run his fund for Redgate’s housing affiliate, Gate Residential. Prior to his work in state government, Bialecki spent 20 years as a real estate, business, and environmental attorney.


TUGG’s annual vote on city nonprofits tonight

Two Boston-area nonprofits will win $50,000 apiece on Thursday night, and the public will help pick the winners.

The voting will happen at the TUGG Wine & Tequila Party, an annual event where the local tech community gets a chance to meet up-and-coming nonprofits and decide which ones should receive funding.

TUGG, short for Technology Underwriting Greater Good, is a nonprofit itself that seeks out and supports high-risk nonprofits with innovative social missions.

Started by Atlas Venture’s Jeff Fagnan, it has about 30 nonprofits in its current “portfolio” and on Thursday will introduce the crowd — which includes venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists — to several more.

Six nonprofits will be competing. Three are returning organizations: Catie’s Closet, which provides clothing and other necessities to students living in poverty; Future Chefs, which prepares teens for restaurant industry jobs; and Resilient Coders, which makes Web technology more available to urban youth.

The other three are new to the contest: A Bed for Every Child, which buys mattresses, box springs, and linens for kids who don’t have beds of their own; PressPass TV, which trains young people in media production; and Sitters Without Borders, which provides volunteer baby-sitting services to help mothers get through school.


During the evening, the nonprofits will circulate through the crowd, making their best pitches.

Voting will be done with poker chips, and the two nonprofits that receive the most chips will each get $50,000. The other four will receive $10,000 apiece. Stay tuned to learn the winners.


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