Fifty-nine members and friends took part in Harry’s Handicap on New Year’s Day. Runners and volunteers alike enjoyed friendly skies over Prospect Park before retiring to the Knights of Columbus in Windsor Terrace for a potluck celebration. It was the first “chilly” Handicap in recent memory, although at 35 degrees, the climate hardly felt like an icebox.
After a briefing at the Knights of Columbus, the crew crossed Prospect Park
Southwest to the start line. Ruth Gursky kicked off the festivities exactly at 10:00:00 a.m.; she would go on to take third, completing the loop at 10:45:05. The first two to cross the finish line were the family team of Lukas and Matthew Griffin at 10:44:15 and 10:44:24, respectively. (Each started at 10:15:00, meaning their actual times were sub-30:00.)
Race directors Steve Lastoe, Tom Meany, and Matt Strawn introduced a twist to the normal routine: instead of runners knowing their starting times in advance, they would receive 30- to 60-second notice to get on the line. This kept the start area filled with spectators, and it was fun to watch the crowd dwindle as the directors set successive waves on the loop.
The after-party provided a great opportunity for members old and new to mingle. Pasta, pastries, and pies refueled the runners, and there were reported sightings of a few Budweisers for alternative carbo-loading.
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of Harry Murphy, founder of PPTC and namesake of the event. Since early last year, a special committee has been organizing a tribute to his life and legacy. Their first fruits were on display at the reception: a slideshow played on the wall, and finishers had the opportunity to select one of Harry’s old medals, some dating from 1939! Special thanks to Regina Cahill for leading this effort.
The slideshow will be on view at the annual celebration on February 21.
As a special treat, here is a newspaper article listing results from the “Harry Murphy Run” exactly 30 years ago!