All posts by Keith Williams

About Keith Williams

Member of the PPTC Board of Directors.

PPTC announces Grants Program recipients

Prospect Park Track Club is pleased to announce its Grants Program recipients, targeting spring programs:

Prospect Park Youth Running Club will receive money for the cost of equipment, registration fees, and travel for members who have demonstrated need. In nine years, PPYRC members (ages 6-14) have won dozens of individual national titles, and the group’s black-and-white uniform has become a staple of Prospect Park.

Run4Fun will receive funds to help their organization’s costs for programming. The group promotes wellness in youth through running across Brooklyn communities.  Over the last three years, the program grew from working with just 7 students to over 400 and are continuing to grow.

Student Athlete Running Academy (SARA) will receive funds for the cost of sneakers for students in their program. The organization provides training in distance running for children and youth ranging in age from 8-17. SARA is committed to improving the lives of children through guidance, support, and resources necessary to effectively enhance athletic and academic performance, develop leadership skills, and form positive social relationships.

Shore Road Striders Track and Field Club will receive money to help local athletes without a track team at their school to participate in races and supplement the cost of uniforms.  These students train and perform at an elite level across the country.

I.S. 233 Young Runners will receive race bibs to compete in PPTC summer races.  Even while school is not in session, the program continues to promote training and camaraderie through their programs.

In the past year, PPTC’s Grants Program has given away nearly $14,000 to deserving organizations that promote running in Brooklyn. At least half of the proceeds from our Turkey Trot are earmarked for funding these great programs.

For more details on what we do, please visit our main page.

Thank you to all who applied for a grant in this cycle. The next round of applications will open in late summer for Fall programs.

—the PPTC Board & Grants Committee

Despite the heat, a record Summer Speed Series turnout

On a gorgeous Wednesday evening in Prospect Park, a record 378 runners finished the first installment of the 2016 Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series. Here are the full results.

And, courtesy of Larry Sillen, here are photos! Feel free to download and share as you wish.

The second of seven races is June 8; to register, please visit our main page.

2016 Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series
Recaps: Register:
May 25 June 8 June 22 July 6 July 20 Aug 3 Aug 17

Participants often find the Summer Speed Series, with its midweek schedule and relatively short distance, hard to resist. “I like that it’s quick – just the nuts and bolts,” said longtime PPTC member Jim Israel, who claimed second in the men’s 70+ division. “It’s unadorned.”

“For me it’s special because everyone knows who I am and it’s a familiar crowd,” said Michael Ring, PPTC vice president and one of the race directors of the series. “I love the excitement at the starting line. Plus, the crowd gets my jokes.”

The series has grown rapidly over the past few years; in 2011, for example, the average turnout was around 125, and everyone was scored by hand. Working behind the scenes, a large contingent of PPTC members kept things smooth at bib pick-up, along the course, and at the after-party.

“We had more help than we expected,” said Club President Tom Meany. “It’s always gratifying to have such an outpouring of volunteers.”

Getting ready for the first Al Goldstein 5k. @prospectparktc #gopptc #runbrooklyn #pptc5k

A photo posted by Keith Williams (@wmskeith) on

DWRT’s Olivier Wijtenburg was the first to cross the finish line, winning the men’s division in 16:12. He has used the Summer Speed Series as a benchmark for improvement.”Two years ago I ran my first 5K ever here in 18:50. Last year, it was 16:48,” Wijtenburg said. “You see the same group of people each week, so you know how to pace yourself.”

The temperature, which hovered around 80 degrees at the start, was a common talking point, but some runners found solace along the course. “It was a little hot, but there was a good breeze,” said Tom Anderson, who took third among men in 17:10. “The toughest part is staying strong after the big hill – pushing the pace is really difficult.”

PPTC’s Joelle Reeves started running in October, but finished third on the women’s side tonight. Her previous race experience included this February’s Cherry Tree 10-Miler, which featured single-digit temperatures. “It was good in the cold,” she said. “I thought so much about the weather that I wasn’t thinking about the running.”

As for dealing with the heat, Wijtenburg had the best solution: “I’m going to buy a beer,” he said.

Safety Tips

In response to the recent attacks in and around Prospect Park, here are a few safety tips to help you avoid dangerous situations. These are merely suggestions; whether to follow them is at your discretion.

Thanks to Janet Gottlieb and Tom Meany for their help compiling these.

  • Consider finding a partner. If you would like a running companion for a given day and time, you can post in the PPTC Open Forum.
  • It’s safer during the day. Darkness makes it more difficult to identify potential threats; there are also fewer people around. Particularly before sunrise or after sunset, it’s best to run in populated and well-lighted areas with clear lines of sight.
  • Trust your instincts. If your first impression is that someone might pose a threat, avoid that person and keep moving. Better safe than sorry.
  • Be loud, if necessary. Don’t be embarrassed to yell to call attention to the situation. Some runners carry a whistle or an inexpensive personal alarm that will let out a loud shriek at the pull of a ripcord.
  • Know your route. Many places can serve as refuge: subway stations, businesses, police precincts, etc. Consider plotting your run in advance (such as by using MapMyRun) to see where these are, and to avoid routes that run through isolated areas.
  • Keep your valuables at home. Most attacks in the park are muggings, in which the criminal is seeking your property. If you must carry your phone, it’s best to keep it out of sight; leave flashy jewelry on your nightstand.
  • Headphones are problematic in multiple ways. Not only do headphones significantly restrict your awareness, they also indicate you are carrying something valuable. It’s better to save them for the busier times of day, and when you do wear them, keep the volume low enough so that you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • Carry a few essentials. Having your ID (either a card or a wristband, like RoadID) can be invaluable. Write your blood type on the inside of your shoe. You might also consider bringing a MetroCard and a small amount of cash, just in case.


#CherryTree2016 results!


Nearly 650 runners braved single-digit temperatures this morning to run the 2016 PPTC Cherry Tree 10-Miler & Relay! Thanks to everyone who came out.

Be sure to check out the official PPTC race report!

Note to prize winners: if you finished in the top three in your age group and did not collect your prize, please join us at the next PPTC General Membership Meeting:

Monday, March 7, 7:00 p.m.
Da Nonna Rosa, 7th Avenue between Carroll and Garfield

“It was a lot more fun than I expected,” said PPTC member Megan Dee, who ran the full ten miles. “It was neat to be out there alone, without any cyclists or other people in the park.”

“I was pleased that I was able to survive this challenge,” wrote Lisa Swan. Check out her full recap here.

If you’d like to share your experience about the race, we’d love to hear it! Email us at

You can also use the hashtag #CherryTree2016 on Twitter and Instagram.

Congratulations to our top individual finishers in the 10-Miler:

2016 cherry tree top males2016 cherry tree top female
L: Thomas Beedell & Matthew Lacey.  R: Catherine Beck.

Top Males:

1 Thomas Beedell Woodford Green AC 54:22
2 Jerry Faulkner New York Athletic Club 55:31
3 Matthew Lacey Central Park Track Club 55:48

Top Females:

1 Catherine Beck Central Park Track Club 1:01:47
2 Paige Yellen Greater New York Racing Team 1:03:20
3 Laura Coogan North Brooklyn Runners 1:03:42

You can find all results here. Use the drop-down menu near the top right to switch between individual and relay results.

cherry tree dropdown

Congratulations to our top relay teams, as well:

Males – 56:43
Short Shorts (Ben Schippers, Jon Schippers, Ricky Reusser)

Females – 1:06:42
NBR Women (Angela Ortiz, Taeya Konishi Schogel, Tien-Tien Yu)

Coed – 1:04:27
Dashing Whippets (Alex Noble, Matthew Wong, Kim Velsey)

Masters Males – 1:03:09
NBR152 (Drew Reynolds, Quinn Batson, Alun Williams)

Masters Females – 1:23:20
Strangers in the Park (Laura Stephen, Mary Haskins, Hilary Lorenz)

Youth Runners – 1:14:15
I.S. 223 Team A (Azwad Sourav, Md Nashir Huddin, Justin Ruiz)

Thanks again to everyone who ran, volunteered, and cheered this morning!

2016 Composition Contest

“How do I love PPTC? Let me count the ways.”

On the occasion of the Annual Celebration (save the date: February 24), we hold a composition contest. In past years, we have asked for essays; in 2016, however, we shall eschew prose in favor of poetry.

Pick your favorite format – haiku, limerick, sonnet, or anything else you find inspiring – and wax poetic about what PPTC means to you.

Red singlets whiz by
My heart yearns to run with them

Swap your running stance for rhyming stanzas! Trade your 200-meter repeats for iambic pentameter!

Our esteemed panel of judges will pick their favorite paeans to the red and white. If your ode-writing ability is not at the level of Keats, fear not: all entrants will be entered into a random drawing for additional prizes!

Please submit your poem here. The deadline is Tuesday, February 16. You may enter as many works as you like!

When it comes to devotion to running, we shall see, to paraphrase Edward Bulwer-Lytton, if the pen is mightier than the shoe.

"Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!"
“Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!”

Saturday group run template

Joining us for our group run this Saturday, ***DATE***? Find your running partners here!

Let us know in the comments what pace and mileage you plan to run and we’ll add you to the table.

We meet at Grand Army Plaza, just outside of the park, at 8 a.m.


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Sunday Group Run

We meet on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza.

This Sunday, 3/21, we will also be leading a group run to cheer for the NYC Half – check the Google Group and Facebook page for details!

You can find the list of attendees here for this coming Sunday.

Saturday Group Run

To encourage more runners to get up early – and to make sure everyone who wants one has a partner! – we’d love for you to fill out this form if you plan to join our Group Run this coming Saturday.

To see who’s already coming, click here.