Category Archives: Annual Celebration

2017 Awards Celebration essays

The following four essays were submitted for the annual essay competition. All were judged to be winners!

Alison Donnelly:

I met Michael Ring right after I underwent emergency back surgery for an injury that left me with nerve damage in my legs and feet.   Very new to PPTC prior to surgery, I felt awkward being in a running club when I couldn’t actually run. “Join Achilles!”, he said. “Nobody cares if you can run or not.” And with that, Achilles Brooklyn became my second family, with Michael in the role of the gruff but lovable big brother that doesn’t enable self-pity.

Michael helped me stop dwelling on what I lost, and focus on what I still had. His progress is a constant reminder that my only limitations are the ones that I create for myself. He’s taught me to believe in myself and inspired me to help others. I am proud to call Michael my friend and I look forward to the day that our defunct feet RUN across the finish line!


Allan Co:

Beyond racing and training, we are inspired by people who represent the values aspire to: friendship, family, kindness, open-heartedness. Many teammates motivate us with their hard work and swift times, some by their hearts and minds, warmth and compassion. These are all embodied by a group affectionately known as the Wolfpack. Aditi, Aisha, Colleen, Selina and Trish show us the power of the relationships we build when we run. They support each other’s goals, successes, fears; they rally together; they celebrate each other’s PRs, careers, loves, new apartments; they console, advise, listen when needed; they’re unfailingly kind, supportive, welcoming. The Wolfpack is a diverse group that supports one another as training partners and in their lives off-road. They show us how trivial running is, by demonstrating the power of the friendships we make; they inspire us to be great runners and better people; they inspire me to be my best.


Ruth Gursky:

Why does a gal from Queens join PPTC? For several years, Anne Perzetzky was in my Galloway training group. I began running late in life, and often wondered if I would have to give up my sport at some point. By racing half marathons, Anne answered that question with a resounding NO!

Through PPTC, I met Michael Ring. A few years ago, I registered for a 5K in Prospect Park, but come race day, I wasn’t in the mood to get outta bed…but I did…and I was rewarded when I saw Michael run across the finish line for the first time since he developed GBS!

I also got to know Nice Guerrero. It was upsetting to hear about his near-death injury, so when he announced he was running the Suffolk Marathon, I joined PPTC’s cheer squad and witnessed his triumphant comeback!

All three runners continue to inspire and motivate me!


Chaya Wolf:

It’s been three years of competitions and a couple of gift cards, so I feel compelled to keep the tradition going. But in all seriousness, PPTC continues to be a constant in my running.

Running has its highs and lows. It’s usually enjoyable, but sometimes miserable. Running has been entertaining, educational and completely exhausting. I’ve recognized the incredible pay off dedication, consistency and persistency have. But more importantly I’ve recognized that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my team.

Running a route solo becomes colorful and exciting with company. Encouraging words and sage advice are rarely, if ever, forgotten. And when you listen, push and motivate it’s noticed. Finishing anything would never be possible without a multitude of people and army of support.

So Emily, Jennie, Shan, Juan, Tifenn and many more of you – I am eternally grateful for everything you’ve all been to me these last few years. It takes a village to raise a runner. Thank you for being in mine!

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
Ô! PPTC!

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!”

2013 PPTC Awards Celebration and Shindig – Recap and Award Winners

The PPTC Awards Celebration and Shindig at Monte’s on February 19, 2014 was a night to remember.  Nearly 100 PPTC members and guests enjoyed food, fun and fellowship, and the dance floor was packed as we grooved to the sounds of our very own DJs, Jerry Luna and Tye Comer.

This annual event is a time for our club to celebrate our achievements, as individual runners and as a team.  Each year, some of our many deserving teammates are recognized for their talents and contributions through a process that includes nominations and voting by the club and an Awards Committee.

Congratulations to all of our 2013 Award nominees and winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted nominations and participated in voting.

Read on for the award-winners >>

“Why I Run” entries

Thank you to the eight members who submitted entries to our “Why I Run” essay contest. Our judges enjoyed reading all of these and wish to convey their appreciation for the honesty each showed.

Here are the entries for which I’ve received permission to post:


Linda Ewing, first prize

I run because someone I once had a crush on did. I run because I can’t jump or kick or hit or catch a ball, but I can put one foot in front of the other and stay upright (most of the time). I run because the struggle uphill makes my heart beat faster, and so does the view from on high, and so does the wild flight down.

I run because, when my first running partner was dying of cancer, each slap of foot against pavement at sunrise sounded like “life.”

I run because the tribe of runners recognizes and welcomes me whether I’m in Detroit or Brooklyn or Brussels or Barcelona. I run because doing metric-to-English conversions and base 60 math is good mental exercise. I run because it’s humbling and because it gives me something to brag about. I run because strangers rarely shout words of encouragement when I’m driving.

I run because doing hard repeats on the track prepared me for the hard repeats of my own chemo summer.
I run because I can still strip down to my sports bra and run lopsided and feel like an Amazon. I run because Gerry and Laura and Julie and Randie and Dana and Elizabeth and Allison and Pamela (and why does this goddamn list keep growing?) can’t.

I also run because finding the perfect recovery meal calls for extensive research, and after testing tamales with watermelon agua fresca, bowls of pho with avocado milkshakes, grilled sturgeon with kvass, doubles with sorrel, not to mention dozens of bagels, bunches of bananas, and way too many gallons of Gatorade, I owe it to science to keep experimenting. I run because here in Brooklyn, ten miles on a Saturday morning can take me from fecund brownstone streets, to the sidelines of a soccer match, past Bengali auto mechanics working and old Russian couples sitting on benches in the sun – so many stories in the sweaty city! – before ending at the Atlantic Ocean.

I run because the world is too big, and our time here too short, not to pick up the pace. And because, if I listen closely, each slap of foot against pavement still sounds like “life.”


Chaya Wolf, second prize

Every morning when the sun rises, it brings with it a day full of things we need to do, places we need to go, and people we need to meet. We must catch the next train, make the next light, close the next deal and call our best friend. We run, all day, every day. We run from the beauty of life and the freedom of time. We’re always trying to get ahead and move forward. We run from life and forget to enjoy the gift of today.

And then one day about 2 years ago I learned that it’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to stop, look and enjoy. I also realized that in order to love life we need to stop running from it and run in it.

When I started running (not from life), it was for a local charity. I raised money for a global organization that helps children with special needs experience love, life and friendship. I realized that I have what they don’t; the freedom to live, carefree, healthy and relaxed. That’s when I decided that it is important to relish in the gift of life and be grateful for the opportunities that come our way. We should stop and look at what the world has to offer.

So these days when I run, I don’t run away from life, I run in it. I run for sanity, for health, for pleasure, for air, for fun. I run because I can. I run to see beauty and enjoy freedom.


Thomas Meany

There are actually three reasons why I run.

  1. I worked in a mental health clinic in Canarsie. We used to play basketball or paddle ball at lunchtime. Regina Cahill also worked there and was known for running to Kings Plaza on her lunch hour. One day I found myself without basketball or paddle ball partners and asked if I could go on a short run with her. I was grateful she allowed me to. After a few runs I was hooked, I was shocked to find I was running 8 minute miles! Several months later I ran my first race a 5 mile race in the Park, The Gloria Vanderbilt Valentines Day Race. Regina introduced me to Harry Murphy and Kurt Steiner. I was running the Summer Speed Series; one week in Prospect Park and the next in Clove Lake. By the end of the Summer I found myself training with PPTC for my first marathon. I loved seeing how much I could improve my running.
  2. Second, I found myself loving the competition and the camaraderie of fellow runners: male, female, young & old. Running had changed my life; I found a whole new set of friends, who became more like family over time.
  3. Third, I found myself being very punctual and for the most part early for races. I began working registration and discovered the joy of giving back to the sport that had given me so much, a lifestyle of health, fitness, good friends, who all spoke the same language. After I turned 40 I knew my best race times were behind me. I had ran a 17:39 5K, 29:29 5 miler and a 3:04 marathon, and I was grateful for these accomplishments. I remain competitive to this day. I can only race walk due to bone spurs in my knees, but as soon as I place that racing bib on I pick out my competition in a race early on and go after them with measured abandon. Running has always been a gift and a blessing in my and remains so.

Karen Monroe

I run because I can.

I run because I actually like to run. I run because it is who I am. Running is and has always been a huge part of my life. To know me is to know I run.

I started running when I was 12 years old. I’d run with my Dad on family vacations and at my hometown 4th of July 10k race. Running is entertainment. It’s what I do to stay fit, to release stress, to think, to socialize. Through running I have met my best and longest-lasting friends.

Running bonds and unites people. As a running partner, you really get to know someone at a deep level. Pounding out the miles over months to train for a marathon, you talk a lot and share a lot with that partner.

I’ve run with my partners through their breakups, hookups, cancer diagnosis, new job and job loss, moves and more. In rain or shine, fog or humidity, you persevere because any day is a good day when you run.

I’m a morning runner. I am never sorry I got myself up and out for a run, once I’m done. 50 marathons later and countless other races along the way, I still love to run. I feel my most beautiful after completing a marathon. Running is in my DNA.

I run because I can.


Hilary North

I run because my body can, even though my mind sometimes thinks it can’t. Each time I finish a run, I bask in the triumphant glow over that internal struggle that I have once again overcome. The only comparable experience in my life was the birth of my son, nearly six years ago. Laboring at home in my Brooklyn apartment, unmedicated, was a marathon I didn’t think I would ever finish. The pain seemed bottomless and interminable. But I literally and figuratively pushed through, proving to myself that I had the inner strength and capacity to accomplish goals I had previously considered unattainable–like running a half marathon. Now, when I’m out, pounding the pavement in the park, I have a deep store of resilience and endurance to readily tap into. Running keeps me close to my potential and my inner strength. Running makes me feel good about myself. Running gives me something that nobody can ever take away from me. That’s why I run.


Evan Oakley

Evan Oakley why I run imageWhy indeed. No one else in my family is or was a runner; it was never a popular activity among most of my friends (“I’ll only run if someone scary is chasing me”). So when the opportunity to actually run the NYC Marathon presented itself, seven and a half years ago, (barely) preparing for it began as a very solitary pursuit. But why did I think I could run a marathon and why was it so important to try? Why run at all?

In the Myth of Sisyphus, Camus suggests that we should see this symbolic embodiment of endless, futile struggle a different way: as present, engaged and even happy in the midst of his effort. Maybe Camus’ perspective says something about how running – for some a painful drudgery – can provide others such relief — a joyful escape, in the midst of trudging along to nowhere in particular. We often hear how much running is a psychological challenge. Starting another difficult race (or even a simple run) is a little like returning to the bottom of that steep hill and putting one’s shoulder to that bolder, yet again. There is a fleeting exultation when we reach the top, but the secret – what compels us to the starting line – is largely in our acceptance of the act itself. And in how we experience the world while engaged in that effort.

Asking why we do something implies agency – or some choice in how we decide to approach the unavoidable. By choosing to run and race, we create and enact a distilled version of the condition of life itself. And we experience it with a certain joy because in those minutes or hours of exertion, we are more alive to and connected with the beauty that surrounds us in the present — because, or in spite of, the possible absurdity and futility of this or any effort.

There is almost nothing as simple, as literally pedestrian, as repeatedly putting one foot in front of the other. And yet in that effort, and sometimes suffering, there is the peace of stillness in motion. And, simultaneously, a joy in the animal outlet of acting, rather than waiting and wondering, suspended between possible choices and outcomes. The myriad decisions and distractions of life collapse down to the freedom of movement and the grace that comes with simple effort. (Or maybe it is all neurochemistry?)

Highlights of the 2013 Annual Celebration

Nearly one hundred PPTC members and friends convened at Monte’s in Gowanus on February 22 for the annual “celebration dinner”. Delicious buffet food and generous pours were in abundance, as were good cheer and camaraderie.

After dinner, President Tom Meany and the Celebration Committee (Jason Horowitz, Lynda Mules, Tom Tobin) bestowed honors on many of the club’s members. There were a few surprises along the way, as well.

The board presented the members of the Technology Committee (Yvetta Barner, Meaghan Horner, Krishna Kumbhar, Jerry Luna, David Simandl) with gift certificates to JackRabbit. These code-literate members volunteered many hours to revamp the PPTC website.

The members of the women’s masters team from the previous weekend’s Millrose Games presented Coach Tony Watson with a signed baton in thanks for his training efforts and advice.

The club announced a $250 donation to Coney Recovers. Charlene Kohler-Britton added $100 to this total, the amount she won in the “Run Brooklyn” drawing.

To conclude the presentation, Regina Cahill introduced a slideshow of Harry Murphy’s era of PPTC leadership, marking 20 years since his passing. Several of Harry’s contemporaries gave moving speeches honoring his legacy.

Over at his site (which might have the longest name in the blogosphere), PPTC Vice President and course-measurer extraordinaire Michael Ring reflects on receiving the “Ultra Runner of the Year” award:

As a sprinter I embarrassed myself, but no matter how long the race I finished. So, I was a distance runner. In 4 years of track I never scored in a race. However, I gained the respect and friendship of my teammates, because I ran as fast and as far as I could.

Now fast forward 36 years from my freshman year at Sheepshead Bay High School.

Read the rest here.

Now, for the full list of award winners:

Continue reading Highlights of the 2013 Annual Celebration