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Dirty German Endurance Fest Race Report from Captain Adam

Sara, Jana, Shan, & Adam

by Adam Devine

Race: Dirty German Endurance Fest

When: May 13, 2017

Where: Pennypack Park, Philadelphia, PA

So this may be a long recap, but it was also a long race, so bear with me.

I did the North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain last year, but wanted something not quite so challenging course-wise this year, so at the suggestion of Jana and Shan, I signed up for the Dirty German Endurance Fest 50 mile race. It is in Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, and has a lot fewer climbs and rocky bits, so I thought it would be a slightly saner endeavor. I was wrong.

In the 10 days or so before the race, the forecast went from mostly sunny with highs in the mid 60’s to downpour and low 50’s. Sara and I went down to Wilmington, DE and were graciously hosted by Shan and his parents. We went shopping the day before to stock up on supplies and then relaxed and watched the Avengers with Shan’s dad (a definite highlight of the trip).

We got up at 4:15 am, packed up the car, and headed out after only one small freak out where I couldn’t find my wallet. The rain had started in earnest, but I kept hoping that I was perceiving it letting up a little, even as Shan kept changing the wipers to higher and higher settings. We drove up to Philadelphia with minimal fuss and used the flush toilets at a Wawa near the park as a luxury, where we ran into our first fellow participants.

Once we got to the start area we ran into Jana and Anh-Tuan, but only had a little time to get our bibs, set our drop bags, and take a second to appreciate how miserable the conditions were. I was running in my normal shorts and singlet with a handheld water bottle, and as I scanned my fellow runners with their Camelbaks, ponchos, packs and hats and gloves and compression socks, I commented that I felt underdressed. “That’s because you are!” chuckled a gentleman with 15 lbs of extra gear. I usually feel very intimidated at the start of a race, like everyone else is going to fly by me, but for the first time ever I had a sense that I belonged among those other runners, that I had trained as well as possible and fit in, even if I wasn’t wearing as much as they were.

“That’s because you are!” chuckled a gentleman with 15 lbs of extra gear. I usually feel very intimidated at the start of a race, like everyone else is going to fly by me, but for the first time ever I had a sense that I belonged among those other runners — that I had trained as well as possible and fit in, even if I wasn’t wearing as much as they were.

Before I knew it, they were shuffling Shan and me into the herd, and we were off for the first of three 16.5 mile loops in the park. We fell in toward the back of the pack, and just sort of settled into a rhythm. The conditions weren’t too terrible, some puddles and mud, but nothing too bad. I was happy to have serious trail shoes with what amounted to cleat treads on the bottom. Shan was obviously struggling to keep his footing in his AB2s, but we slowly moved up through the pack.

We almost went off course at one point, but were hollered at by two women and realized our mistake. I think Shan and I decided it was best to stick with them for a little longer and let them lead the way, content to be safe in a pack. We stayed there for most of the first loop until speeding up a bit towards the end. The course was really well marked, the aid stations were evenly spaced and well stocked, and the volunteers were all super cheerful and helpful. I can’t say enough about how well this event was organized and executed in really terrible conditions.

At the start of the second loop I quickly noticed two things:  1) we were probably a little quick on our first loop and 2) an extra 2.5 hours of rain and a couple hundred runners worth of footfalls hadn’t done the course any favors. What used to be small puddles were now like the world’s worst kiddie pools, and they rerouted us across a condemned bridge instead of one of the stream crossings because it was safer.

The extra mud was playing havoc with my footing, and I was really feeling for Shan, but was also approaching what I consider to be the hardest part of a 50-mile race — miles 20-30. That is where my survival instinct kicks in and my brain starts telling me it is better to stop. Along a particularly muddy section, Shan dropped back and I had to make the conscious decision to stay on pace because if I slowed I didn’t know if I would be able to finish.

I figured I was in the top 20 or so, and was just focused on keeping moving as fast as I could. The lead woman passed me, and we chatted a bit, mainly my letting her regale me with tales of her 100-mile races as I panted and tried to keep up. I was happy for the company, but she soon left me behind.

At this point, I was running by myself, but I was not alone. I had read that positive self-talk helps other runners, so I started talking to myself, telling myself that I could do this, that I had trained hard, that I had been through worse. I also started thinking of all the people that I had the opportunity to train with over the last few months, even if we only shared a few miles, and I began to thank them out loud for helping me along this journey. Knowing that I had a whole team with me helped immensely.

My second lap was about 20 minutes slower than the first, but I still had a slight hope of averaging a 10 min mile by doing the last loop in three hours flat. This turned out to be a false hope. I have never run a Tough Mudder, but that is the only thing that came to mind while traversing the last 16 miles. It was nothing but puddles, mud, and slogging, accompanied by the squelching of my shoes and my increasingly labored breathing.

Fatigue had set in, but I knew I was doing well overall. I had seen the lead woman drop out after taking a tumble, and was passed by Chris Scarpetti, a very accomplished ultra runner, with about 12 miles to go. I was feeling alternately bone weary and giddy, finding myself laughing at the absurdity of what we were doing. The last few miles ticked away, and my goals kept getting pushed back, but I had no doubts about finishing now; it was merely a question of how much more suffering was in store. I consciously didn’t press the pace too much, knowing I wanted to cross the finish line strong and not sobbing. I also made sure to thank all of the volunteers on the last lap, knowing that they were the real rock stars on that day, standing in the cold for hours on end just so a bunch of crazy runners could gallivant through the woods.

As I headed out of the woods for the last time I started going at a pace that could be considered “running” and saw Shan scrambling out of his car to join me. He was shoeless and chasing me like a crazed animal, shouting what I thought was an encouragement. Sara and Jana were there at the finish cheering too, and I ran through the finish arch just relieved it was over.

At that point, I saw a volunteer approach me and say, “Third overall!” while attempting to hand me a jug, a hat, and a box. I was slightly confused, as I had no idea I was in third, and had never even considered the possibility of a podium finish. The box contained a little cuckoo clock that says “3rd Place Dirty German,” a really cool and unique award. I wanted to hug and high five everyone and tell them I loved them, so I did. We took a bunch of pictures and ate some AMAZING bratwurst and sauerkraut.

Within minutes of finishing my body started to revolt: shivering, cramping, and pain, oh so much pain. Hips, feet, and ankles were especially bad, but it was just general pain. We piled into Shan’s mom’s car, trying our best not to destroy its interior too thoroughly, and headed to a post race feast of Five Guys and frozen yogurt, which tasted amazing after months of low carb training. More hugs and high fives were exchanged, and Shan and Jana dropped us off at the train station to head home.

Forty hours or so later I feel moderately human again. I managed four miles at a decent pace this morning, and I don’t seem to have done any lasting damage. I continue to be amazed at what I am capable of, but also know that I am only capable of doing this with the love and support of those around me. If you are reading this, I am truly grateful to have you as a teammate and in my life. You all continually inspire me to become the best possible version of myself. Special thanks to Jana and Sara for sticking around in the cold rain at the finish after kicking butt in their own races and to Shan for joining me on this crazy journey and providing accommodations, chauffeuring, coaching, and inspiration. Finally, thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Haq for allowing us to stay in their home and for letting us trash their car. I hope the smell comes out soon.

Meet Your Team Captains

by Jana Trenk

Did you know that PPTC has four team captains? Captains work to bring team unity, as well as plan, organize and lead programs and group activities. Our current team captains are Michael Koplin, Linda Ewing, Adam Devine and Missy Burgin.  Read their bios to learn a little more about them! If you need to reach them, you can contact the captains by email at

Michael Koplin

Michael Koplin

I started running in May 2010 when I was 63 years old.  After losing weight, my routine exercise of walking morphed into running.  I quickly fell in love.  I ran the Baltimore Marathon in October 2011 with my cousin and then joined PPTC.  Since my first race in 2011 I’ve completed over 160 races, including 7 marathons.  I have always enjoyed the competition and fellowship of the running community.

Over the past 6 years I’ve witnessed and participated in the development of many PPTC runners and consider our team competitive and able to run against all other teams.

One of my goals has been to encourage our Masters runners to participate in NYRR team points races and other races.  We have an amazing group of Masters runners that bring honor to the PPTC colors.  Of course, our younger runners are quite extraordinary and I always look forward to seeing them compete against the best of the other running clubs.

I am a USA Track & Field (USATF) Level-1 Coach, National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Certified Interscholastic Level-2 Coach, and have a US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Track & Field Technical Coaching Certification.   I’m also a Track & Cross Country Coach at St. Edmund Preparatory High School.

Being a co-captain of the PPTC Men’s Team is an honor and I am thrilled to work on behalf of our club and its great group of runners.

Linda Ewing

Linda Ewing

I was a latecomer to running, nagged into it by a couple of friends who watched me walking on the treadmill and tried to persuade me to run instead. I thought that if I ran a few times to demonstrate that I hated and was bad at it, I’d shut them up. (It seemed a safe bet, since at age 35, my only prior running experience was a mandatory, torturous mile back in high school phys ed.)

To my surprise, I liked it.

Over the next 20+ years (gulp), my motivations for running changed – from weight loss to fun to friendship to (modest) competitiveness as a member of Motor City Striders and the Front Line Racing Team – until, finally, running was simply part of my identity. When I moved to Brooklyn from Detroit, I was thrilled to discover in PPTC the running club of my dreams, a combination training group, racing team, roving gastronomic society and all-around great community.

My PR days (19:21 5K, 1:29:21 Half Marathon, 3:15:32 Marathon) are behind me, but I love running as much as ever (if not more so). While I feel a special bond with my fellow masters runners, I especially love watching members who are new to running fall in love with the sport and run faster than they ever imagined they could. I see our role as captains as being to support and encourage *all* our members, whatever their pace, as they chase their racing goals.

Adam Devine

Adam Devine

I have been a club member since May of 2015, and at this point, it is hard to imagine how I survived so long without y’all. I had a bit of running experience back in my early 20’s, but was hit by a car while cycling back in 2008, and that put a damper on my running for a bit. Sara signed us up for the Brooklyn Half back in 2015, and we both had terrible races. But we both saw how much fun PPTC members seemed to be having, and decided we wanted some of whatever Kool-aid you all were drinking.

Since then I have gotten more serious about running, completing a few marathons and a handful of ultra-marathons. I’m also trying to get a bit faster, and am inching towards my goal of breaking 20 minutes in the 5k. I owe almost all of my improvements to the support and motivation I get from the club.

My favorite part about being a captain is getting to be a cheerleader for my teammates. I have gotten to know so many more members, and can’t get enough of screaming for them and banging away on my cowbell to cheer them to success. I am a better runner and a better person due to my membership in the club, and I can’t wait to share many more miles with everyone in the future.

Missy Burgin

Missy Burgin

With my Midwest sensibilities in tow, I joined PPTC in 2013 after moving to Brooklyn.  I was looking for new training buddies (friends) and found so much more. I’m a long time runner and natural motivator, and since my middle school days, friends and teammates have looked to me for advice and encouragement.  I’ve been a driving force in the creation and continuance of the Marathon Training Group (MTG), and beyond my Team Captain duties, I enjoy giving back to the club by helping put on PPTC races and serving on the Board of Directors.

When not running, you can find me frolicking around Prospect Heights eating ice cream (year round), making small batch pickles & jams, and laughing my way through life.

I’m always looking for new training partners, so don’t forget to invite me out for a run!

Training Goals:  3:07 marathon & being as good of a cowbeller as Adam Devine.

Al Goldstein Summer Series #7 Race Review

Photo Credit: Murray Rosenblith

Race: Al Goldstein Summer Series #7

Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

When: August 16, 2017

The last 5K of the Al Goldstein Summer Series took place on Aug 16th. Over 500 runners came to participate in PPTC’s final 5K for 2017. We look forward to seeing everyone again in November for our Turkey Trot!

Once again, PPTC had a great showing and came away with a few awards and PRs too.


The top three women for PPTC were Jana Trenk (18:46), Leiba Rimler (20:24), and Shania Smith (20:47).

Congratulations to Jana for coming in 2nd overall female for AGSS #7.

Kudos to Kathleen Lewis (29:12) for her 3rd place in her age group (55-59).

Once again, Leiba is on the podium with 1st place in her age group (30-34).

Shania‘s performance garnered her 1st place in her age group (15-19).

Marvelous Maggie Deschamps (22:35) takes 1st place in her age group (50-54).

Jennie Matz came away with 2nd place in her age group (40-44).

Congrats to Judith Diers (25:50) who received 3rd place in her age group (50-54).

Other top ten performance in age groups

Colleen Lynch (23:09) (30-34)

Lindsay Turley (21:39) (35-39)

Holly Chase (22:07) (30-34)

Hannah Southworth (23:02) (25-29)

Wallis Finger (23:10) (35-39)

Lisa Smith (27:56) (45-49)

Ulla Griffiths (28:43) (45-49)

Janice Fuld (28:50) (50-54)

Congratulations to these women for setting new PRs!

Jana Trenk (18:46)

Leiba Rimler (20:24)

Maddie Coultrip (24:23) – A big welcome to Maddie! She’s new to PPTC and this was her first 5K. Many more to come we hope!

Katie Dadarria (26:50) – After dealing with plantar fasciitis for five months, Katie’s back faster than ever!


The top three men for PPTC were Sean Quealy (17:12), Matt Siefker (17:42) and Dean Gebhardt (18:23).

It should be noted that Sean’s performance was good enough for a 10th overall finish.

Congratulations to Dean for his 1st place AG award (50-54).

Melvyn Stafford‘s (18:41) performance earned him 2nd place in his age group (50-54).

Kudos to Anthony Watson (20:52) for his 2nd place showing in his age group (55-59).

Kudos to our own Larry Sillen (45:43) whose photographing did not get in the way of his taking 1st place for his age group (70+).

Other top ten performance in age groups

Alexis Davidson (31:54) (60-64)

Matt Siefker (17:42) (30-34)

Robert Dimock (19:44) (40-44)

Oren Efrati (20:50) (45-49)

Howard Abrams (21:41) (50-54)

Tom Sheridan (22:03) (50-54)

Sam Smullen (23:03) (55-59)

Tom Tobin (24:50) (60-64)

Frank Deleo (25:54) (60-64)

Lawrence Balick (27:20) (60-64)

Richard Cahn (57:55) (65-69)

Tim Peck getting his PR! Photo Credit: Missy Burgin

Congratulations to these men for setting new PRs!

Ahn-Tuan Tran (22:37), who broke his old time of 24:10 set earlier this summer at AGSS #1.

Sam Smullen (23:03)

Tim Peck (29:06), which is an 1:40 improvement over his previous PR.

Of course, PPTC would not be able to put on its events without our incredible volunteers. We would like to acknowledge and thank our members who volunteered for AGSS #7.

Veronica Antoine
Michael Ring
Liz Grammer
Priscilla Upshaw
Paul Lowe
Charlene Kohler-Britton
Eliza Varner
Sara Devine
Sam Smullen
Missy Burgin
Tricia McNaughton
Murray Rosenblith
Mervlyn Baptiste
Chaya Wolf
Rich Nolan
Janet Gottlieb
Eric Levenstein
Junior Passee
Natacha Ferrari
Nicholas Cohen
Stuart Kaplan

Race Report: Michael Ring’s Club Team Championship

I always used to find a way to run this race. I never tried to run my fastest because my fastest cannot ever help the team. Sometimes I ran the men’s race and then the women’s race just to get in the extra miles. A few times I ran all the way to the start because recently it began coinciding with the first day of the Summer Streets program.  Whenever possible, I scheduled my family vacations around this race.

But in May of 2014, I lost control of the ability to schedule vacations and races. I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome; my immune system malfunctioned and started treating the myelin sheets of my motor nerves as enemies. I went from marathon-ready to paralyzed in a few days. (Eventually, I was re-diagnosed with a rare variant of this rare disease. I have acute motor axonal neuropathy. That means my immune system attacked the motor axons themselves.) It was a no-brainer to ask for a medical deferral in the marathon I was going to run the end of that month. But it never occurred to me that I wasn’t going to be able to show up for a 5-mile race in August.

Between May and July I moved from one hospital to another five or six times. Most of them happened with a strange sense of bureaucratic emergency. Doctors and social workers worked together to find me a bed and then with hardly any notice at all, I was transported to a different hospital. But my wife and I had some say in where I was going for the last hospital. At that point I needed to be transferred to a long-term subacute medical facility, known to most people as a nursing home. My wife visited these places and let me know that they would all suck and that there was a facility that had the best physical therapy, and the worst food, but was in Chinatown. The place they came in second on her list was on Fifth Avenue around E 100 Street. Looking back, it was probably selfish of me but I really wanted to be uptown, near Central Park. I had this fantasy that I could get a day pass from rehab and get to Central Park to see the Club Team Championship Race. I wanted to see the race and I wanted to be seen.

On August 2, 2014 I put on my happy face when a few of my teammates ran south on Summer Streets to visit me in Chinatown after the race. After they left I went to my happy place; I reviewed all the times I ran to the start of this race. Running over the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was rising, running up Lafayette and Park Avenues. I remembered what it was like to run from Brooklyn to the northern end of Central Park arriving just 90 seconds before the race was to start. I also remembered what it was like to run through the Park Avenue Tunnel at 34th St. because the police weren’t looking. Although this disease was able to temporarily take away my bodily functions, it couldn’t touch my memories. But the memory I replayed countless times was what it was like to run that last mile in a race that ends at the 102nd St Transverse – with the hill behind me and that long straightaway past Engineers Gate, then a slight left turn and the sounds of cheering teammates.

In 2015 I got a ride to the race. I had just graduated from using a walker to a forearm crutch to get around. I don’t think anyone knew how challenging (frightening) it was for me that day. My balance was terrible. Well, it wasn’t really a balance issue, I was still suffering from a lack of proprioception in my legs. That meant that while I had the nerve function hold up my body weight and walk, I couldn’t always tell where my legs were. It was weird. I don’t think anyone noticed my tears of joy when I got up to the top of that big rock so I could see everyone run by. I remember looking back at Mount Sinai Hospital to the east of Central Park thinking that symbolically that’s where I was last year and looking forward to Park Drive and knowing that was where I would be next year.

And yes, in 2016 I ran the race. Running isn’t really the word I should use. The New York Road Runners Club allowed me to start behind the women in their race so I could finish among the slowest men. I walked. My body wasn’t ready to run yet.

But this past Sunday, I was able to live the dream that I had three years ago. And Holy Moly, I was incredibly happy with myself because this was a race. I just went to the New York Road Runners Club race results website to see if I met my goal of sub-20 minute miles. Not only did I do that, but I beat someone. I did not come in last!

Okay, back to talking about race strategy. My plan for this race was to alternate running and walking every minute. I actually installed a boxing match timer on my phone for one minute rounds and one minute rest periods. (The Galloway apps that make audible alerts cost money. WTF).  The race started with a little problem. I couldn’t get the app to work and I didn’t want to stand at the starting line fiddling with it. So I decided to just count my steps – 50 walking steps and then 60 running steps. I did that for the first couple of miles but I was beginning to lose my mind. Luckily, I noticed how evenly the cones were put out by the New York Road Runners. So I’d run for three cones and walk for two cones.

Credit: Linda Chen

But then there was the last quarter-mile. That quarter-mile that I ran so many times in my head. I started to think about how glorious it was to be living that this dream. This quarter-mile was better than I remembered it. It wasn’t just the Prospect Park Track Club cheering for me. It started with the cheers zone from North Brooklyn. I saw someone I didn’t even know pointed me and screamed, “Look it’s Michael Ring and he’s running!”  So, I had to clear my head because I had to do two things; I had to run the rest of the way and more importantly I had to not fall down. The not falling down part became a big challenge when one of my favorite teammates slammed into me tapped me on the shoulder.

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m just about to send this off to the Communications Committee. There is something I need to add. At last night’s membership meeting I had intended to stand up and tell my story when Tom asked about recent races. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t do that. I started to choke up as I raised my hand. I’m saving the water works for November’s meeting.

Meet the #PickMePPTC Winners

by Jana Trenk

PPTC was offered three guaranteed entry spots for the 2017 NYC Marathon. Using the hashtag #PickMePPTC, interested members were asked to submit a selfie and write up via social media explaining why they wanted to run this year’s marathon.

Congratulations to our contest winners: Noah, Jennifer, and Carlos! Wishing them the best of luck for an amazing training cycle and marathon.

I asked each of them to tell us a little more about themselves.  You can read about them below:

Noah Devereaux

Noah Devereaux

I’ve been a runner for a little over a year but really started getting serious after I impulsively joined Oren and Leiba on a 15 mile run to the Rockaways last July. Somehow it seemed like a good idea even though I’d never run more than 10 miles in one go before. After surviving that I started to get ideas that maybe I could actually do a marathon myself. A year later running has become such an important part of my life that it’s been easy to get motivated even before I got chosen to run New York. But now that I do have the marathon to train for I have a better excuse to run so much with all my friends in the club.

The part of the marathon I’m most looking forward to is passing Peter Pan Doughnuts in Greenpoint. Back when I lived in the neighborhood I would sit outside the shop and watch the marathon with my friends and wonder why all these people were choosing to suffer so much. Funny how things change. It’ll be hard to resist the urge to stop and get a doughnut in the middle of the race.

Jennifer Bolstad

Jennifer Bolstad

I started running when I was in 6th grade… so… over 30 years ago. I competed in cross country, indoor and outdoor track from junior high through college and between college and grad school. Then I took a 10-year hiatus from all athletic activity because I didn’t have the time or the will to train hard enough to stay in competitive shape, and — hubris alert! — I felt that “recreational” running was beneath me. I started running again in 2008 when a friend dared me to sign up for the Brooklyn Half with her. Soon after I got back into running, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the tender age of 32. I kept running all through treatment and it was my way of making friends with my body again; of showing myself it could do good things, too, when it wasn’t trying to kill me. That experience really got me over any feelings of being ashamed that I’m not as fast as I used to be (it’s pretty humbling to come in close to DFL in a giant NYRR race!) and helped me to just accept that running is its own reward, independent of the time on your watch or your place in the pack. Now I run to maintain my healthy relationship with my body and my healthy relationship with running itself.

I’m most looking forward to training with my fellow PPTCers. There’s really nothing I enjoy more than long runs, exploring the five boroughs with my teammates. I recently read an article about how difficult it is to make true friends, as opposed to just mere acquaintances, as an adult. Most people don’t find the time to just hang out for long stretches with no agenda other than talking to each other. As I was reading, I kept thinking… none of this is true! I definitely have many deep friendships that have developed in just this way: through the luxury of lots and lots of agenda-free conversations. Then I realized that almost all of those conversations were with my PPTC teammates on our runs.

Carlos Vazquez

Carlos Vazquez

I started running in 2005. My girlfriend at the time (who is now my wife), told me about a local 5k in Orlando and how much fun they were. I looked up a training plan, similar to Couch to 5k, and trained for a couple of months.  Not knowing my pace, I ran it conservatively in 35 minutes, with tons of energy to spare.  After that, I never ran slower than 25 minutes and I was hooked.

I realize when I stop running, or do nothing physical, I feel restless. Running keeps me both mentally and physically fit. Signing up for races also motivates my training. Plus, being part of a running group, like PPTC, keeps me socially active.

Besides running over the Verrazano and the cheering crowds, there is that brief period in Queens, where we will run where I grew up as a kid. I went to school a few blocks away from the Queensboro bridge and it will add to the memories growing up there.

Race Report: NYRR Team Championships 2017

Mary receives high fives from her male teammates, who stayed to cheer for the women. Photo credit: Noah Deveraux

For a period of time, it looked uncertain as to whether the NYRR Team Championships would go on with the rain and lightning in the area, but in the end, lightning decided to stay away, leaving only humidity behind. A team of 74 PPTC runners (43 men and 31 women) ran 5 miles for glory on August 5th. The men’s race started at 8:00 am and the women’s race started at 8:45 am. Here are few PPTC highlights.


Congratulations to Ben Collier for being the fastest PPTC man in the NYRR Team Champs (30:15).

Dean Gebhardt and Matt Siefker came in 2nd and 3rd for PPTC men (30:26 and 31:02, respectively). Dean came in 4th for his age group, which is also the highest age group placement for men in PPTC.

Congratulations to Tyrone Sklaren (43:57) and Dan Dougherty (35:29)  whose performances garnered them top ten finishes in their age groups (5th and 10th, respectively).

Big birthday PR for Jimmy Leung (38:52)! Congratulations, Cronut Prince!

A PR for Ben Allison (32:18)! Congrats!

Congratulations to Sam Smullen (40:48) for his PR!

Noah Deveraux (31:37) raced his first 5-miler and therefore gets an automatic PR!


Congratulations to Jana Trenk for being the fastest PPTC woman in the NYRR Team Champs (31:39).

Mary Johnston and Missy Burgin came in 2nd and 3rd for PPTC women (33:40 and 35:31, respectively).

Congratulations to Charlene Kohler-Britton whose 7th place in her age group is the highest PPTC women finish we have for the age group divisions (53:36).

It should be noted that Mary Johnston and Claire Dougherty (46:21) finished in the top ten for their age group (9th for both).

Carla Benton (38:30) and Hilary Pauli (43:31) both got new 5-mile PRs in this brutal weather. Great job, ladies!

Congratulations to Rachel G. (41:40) for her PR as well!

Big thanks to Linda Ewing, Crystal Cun, Tom Meany, and Eric Levenstein, our “picnic” organizers, for hauling all the goodies to Starbucks because the weather forced them to pre-emptively cancel the picnic. Post-race fun was had with at Ryan’s Daughter.

Race Report: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon

Henrik runs the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon

by Henrik Hartmann

Race: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon


Where: Toronto, ON, Canada

When: May 7, 2017

The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon is a fast and PR-friendly course that makes for a beautiful weekend trip across the border. I signed up on a whim two weeks before the race because my spring training had been good. I had initially planned some trail races in spring and to do a road marathon only this fall – but I felt ready, so why not give it a try?

Unfortunately, the conditions were less than ideal. Days of rain had flooded parts of tToronto and strong winds of 20-30 mph were forecast for race day. But there was no backing out now and in the end, it turned out to be a great race for me after all.

The first half of the course is downhill and with the wind in my back, I felt like flying. I passed the half marathon mark well under my target time and still felt fresh. The route continued through the scenic downtown area and along Lake Ontario for the second half. The wind now blew straight into our faces and I was lucky to find a group of runners who pulled together to share the lead work and draft off each other.

A few miles before the finish, our group started to disintegrate and I could feel my quads shut down from the impact of the earlier downhill sections. My splits began to drop but I forced myself to not let up and finished utterly exhausted but thrilled. With a time of 3:01:23 I had beaten my old PR by more than eight minutes and achieved the Boston qualifying standard for the first time.

The Goodlife Marathon is a well-organized race with a friendly vibe. For being in one of the largest North American cities, the race was relatively small (only about 1,200 Marathon participants). It didn’t feel like in New York or Berlin, where the whole city is taken over by the event. I guess this has its upsides and downsides. Sightseeing and great food options made the trip worth it despite the weather and I was rewarded with a superb race experience.

Pre-race meal: Phở Hưng Restaurant – extra-large special beef rice noodle soup
Post-race meal: Antler Kitchen and Bar – wild boar, bison and deer burger

Ask A Runner” How do you handle Hot Summer Running?

By Stuart Kaplan

Disclaimer: The Advice given in this blog is from the experiences of the runners who completed a survey. This information has not been endorsed by PPTC

I will never forget that humid day in June when I ran the Queens 10K. Humidity got me. I fell victim to summer running when I began to black out 100 ft before the finish line. Even though I finished that race (not remembering crossing the finish line), the pictures are proof that heat and humidity got the best of me that day.

Even the most experienced runners have to modify their running to handle the hot weather. According to Kristen Dold of Runner’s World, “science says training in the heat is worth the trouble: Hot-weather workouts teach your body to sweat more, increase your blood-plasma volume, and lower your core body temperature- all adaptations that help you perform better in any weather.” Although this can all lead to improvements in running, from my own experience, it can also be a pain when summer running is also training for that big race in the fall.

Summer running can truly challenge us.  In my own experience changes in pace and dehydration have both been challenges that I have had to deal with. In order to overcome these challenges, I try to get up earlier to run. The later it gets, the hotter it gets. On those hot days I know my pace won’t be the same, I spend more time concentrating on my form, my breathing, and pay closer attention to my hydration. I read an article in Runner’s World “Six Ways to Run Long and Strong in the Heat” by Jenny Hadfield. She  makes the point, “In the heat concentrate on effort not pace.” I am learning to listen to my body. If I need I slow down especially if I’m running in the direction of the sun.

On hot days I also like to rehydrate with a Nuun after my run.  Hydration should be a constant even on those off days. A friend of mine gave me great advice. She said that during a race on a hot day she took some cold water and poured it on the back of her neck and her wrists. By doing this she said her body temperature began to decrease, and her pace then increased.  I have found in my own experience that doing this helps.

We recently sent out a survey asking runners in PPTC about their experiences with running in high temperature and humidity.  Out of the 30 responses, 18 runners (60%) said their biggest challenge was the change in pace. Seventeen people (56%) said that dehydration created challenges for them. These two issues can truly affect training. Read more to learn about their challenges with summer running, the ways in which they have overcome these challenges, and some advice and takeaways on ways we can better prepare ourselves for running in hot weather.

Roshan –Member of PPTC for two months: Challenges- The Heat, Motivation, and Preparing for a Race

 It’s hard to get up early enough to beat the heat! But I know I need to get out there for marathon training. Group runs help with motivation but it can be hard going to bed early on a weekend to get up early the next day. I’ve started to try and plan more interesting routes and explore parts of the city that I don’t usually get to anymore. I had a 12 mile run recently and decided to map it out that I did a nice route in Manhattan ended at Pier 11. I live in Brooklyn Heights and took the ferry back after the run. It was the greatest feeling to sit on top and feel the breeze. It was fun! Helps with my motivation when I feel like I have a good run regardless of heat or motivation.

Noah – Member of PPTC for one year. Challenges:  Dehydration, Changes in Pace

 I had to slow down when it first got hot.  It took about a month to get workout paces back up to the level they were in the spring. Had to remember to drink water regularly but not too much at one time. Nuun tablets and coconut water are lifesavers. Electrolytes are real.


Jana- Member of PPTC for two years –Challenges: Dehydration, Changes in Pace, Preparing for a race

Last year I was well trained for the 2015 Boston Marathon. The weather was very hot and humid on race day. I went out at my originally planned pace and ended up dehydrated and in the medical tent at Mile 8. I was devastated and that night I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon a few weeks later. On the day, it was 88 degrees and sunny. I was able to finish that marathon, but the heat really got to me and my time was an hour slower than my goal! Often times, I have felt sluggish and thirsty during hot weather days.” I began to do most of my summer runs very early in the morning before the sun was out. I accept that my pace may be slower on a hot day. If it is extremely hot on one day, I might move my long run to the next day. Overall, being flexible, being kind to myself and adjusting my expectations for time when needed.


  • Adjust your time expectations–set a slower goal time.
  • Run by effort, not by pace because the heat WILL affect your pace.
  • Be kind to yourself. If the weather is not ideal for a race, it’s ok if you so not perform at your full potential.
  • Hydrate well before, during and after a run on a hot day.
  • Bring water with you so you can drink while running on a hot day. Whether it is a hydration pack or handheld bottle–just make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Run very early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the sun beating down on you.
  • Wear light and breathable clothing.


  • For a goal race, exactly how much should you adjust your time goal based on the temperature?
  • Does the heat have a greater effect on race result when the distance is longer? I noticed that I’m better able to run a fast 5k on a hot day than a fast marathon.

Rachel Member of PPTC for four months.  Challenges: The Heat, Motivation

In the hot weather, I never want to go outside let alone run, the heat kills my motivation and makes me feel exhausted all the time. Run very early, run shorter distances more often rather than one long run (too draining), and HYDRATE so much. I also like to use Emergen-C tab before runs and organic Gatorade (it’s really tasty!) after runs. Recovery after runs is really important for me in the heat, getting the right nutrition afterward. I also let myself nap after weekend runs to re-energize. it’s made me more methodical in how I plan my weekly runs and how I recover from runs. It also made me less afraid to just get out there even if I think I may not be able to finish my distance or get the pace I want. 

Advice: Give yourself extra time to prepare, get out earlier, and take a longer recovery.

Questions: Is there ever a temperature/humidity index/air quality alert that you really shouldn’t run in? What are the warning signs that you should look for in case you’ve pushed yourself too hard in the heat?

Sam: Member of PPTC for 1yr 4months-Challenges: The Heat, and Motivation

I found that getting out to run is the hardest thing about running during hot and humid summer days. Once laced up and outside, it’s one foot front of another. Then heat and humidity hit you and I’m drenched in my own sweat. It’s more of mental challenge from there on than physical since once my mind says it’s too hot, my body tends to break down and doesn’t want to move. However, when I’m mentally strong as sometimes I am, it becomes much better run than a winter day. I carry a bottle water during the run and I wet my head with cold water. If I’m running in the park, I stop by the Center Drive and wet my head. I’m not sure if I’m improving as a runner but having committed to running at least two miles a day no matter the weather condition has got me out and do the daily run. I’m able to run much better in the heat and humidity that before so I guess I have improved running in the hot and humid days.

Advice:  Wet your head down with cold water to cool down. But most of all, slow down. It’s much easier to run your distance by slowing your pace than trying to run fast so you can get out of the heat. Also, you are still getting your workout by going the distance.

Adam Member of PPTC 6 months-Challenges: The Heat, Dehydration

Counterintuitively I am a more consistent runner in the summer. My biggest obstacle is running before sunrise, so with the long summer days, I don’t find it difficult to get in the miles. I started running in Atlanta, GA where hot, humid days are the norm. However you have to stay hydrated if you want to train and heat-adapt successfully.

It is so important to stay hydrated. Don’t just hydrate before you go out. You should be hydrating consistently on your off-days, when you go to bed, and when you wake up in the morning. I have an insulated water bottle that I load up with ice and keep with me all day. I think the key is to have consistent fluid intake rather than a quick spike in fluids right before a run. If you overload your system all at once, you’ll just pee the water right back out. Staying hydrated has kept my pace consistent during summer training. I find that I don’t need to slow down much unless I’m running at 1 or 2 in the afternoon (and why on Earth would you do that)?

Advice: Stay hydrated every day, even when you are not running. Try to find routes with shade, and either bring water or plan a route that has water fountains available.

Lillian- Member of PPTC 2 Yrs Challenges: The Heat

I’m very much a fair weather runner. I know heat and humidity affect everyone, but I’m disproportionately affected, in particular with humidity. I slow waaaay down.

 I spent more time doing heat adaptation – more slow running in the heat. It’s not about the miles or the pace, but just time spent under the sun, so when I need to run fast, I’m more used to warm temperatures. Also, I freeze water in a Simple Hydration bottle (for which I’m a brand ambassador because I love this product so much). The ice melts during the run so I have icy cold water to drink and to sprinkle over my head. It helps to cool me.

I ran my fastest AGSS last week on one of the hottest days of the year. I didn’t wilt under the heat the way I did all summer long last year. I’m running faster under warmer temperatures, which bodes well for fall racing.

Advice: Oh, the usual advice of try to run during cooler times of the day, drink lots of water, remember your electrolytes, and back off the pace. Now is not the time to summon your inner Eliud Kipchoge.

Anonymous: Challenge: The Heat, Motivation

It’s frustrating to have to slow down so much and have a higher RPE. I don’t like to run really early in the morning, but it gets tough later in the day, especially with long runs.

I do end up trying to run earlier on long runs. I try to be forgiving of myself when it comes to hitting all of my pace goals and expect easy days to be a lot slower. Running with other people helps in terms of motivation.

I started marathon training last summer when there were a lot of really hot days. I doubted my ability to meet my marathon goals a lot, but having gone through that tough summer helped me cultivate patience and some necessary grit.

Advice: I think you should still work to have quality workouts, but I think some things might have to give in the heat. For example, even if you have a handheld water bottle, you will probably have to stop during your long run to fill it up. Adjusting your expectations can be helpful. You can expect to go slower than what you’d like and still expect to do well in the fall.

Anonymous: Challenges: The Heat, Dehydration

I find myself really nauseous after long runs. Also–I try to run early in the morning (6 am) so it’s sometimes a struggle to get out of bed

I am more responsible about hydration and electrolytes. I drink a lot of water (and Nuun) the day before an the morning of. I swear by the Endurolytes Extreme salt pills, one before my run, and one for every hour I’m running to ensure I don’t suffer from electrolyte balance. I also make sure I have a simple snack (like a PB sandwich, some leftover pasta, or a piece of fruit) waiting for me at the end.

Advice: Listen to your body, don’t feel bad about slowing down, and drink water well before you’re thirsty!

Questions: Any suggestions for quick-ready to eat snacks for before/after runs? Also–summer running clothes are tiny–how do you carry your nutrition?

Isaac Member of PPTC 1.5.yrs- Challenges: Heat, Changes in pace

Long weekend runs start at 6:00 am

Articles to read:

Tips for Training in Hot Weather” By Kristen Dold

 “Six ways to Run Long and Strong in the Heat” by Jenny Hadfield

PPTCWoW: McMillan Hilly Broken Tempo Workout

by Adam Devine
WorkoutMcMillan Hilly Broken Tempo Workout
Description of workout:
15-20 min warm up, 3 mile tempo, 3 min recovery jog, 4×30 sec steep hills, 3 min recovery jog, 3 mile tempo, 15-20 min cool down
What distance is this geared towards:
10k/Half Marathon
Goals or Intentions of this workout:
This is great for a 10k or half marathon. The first tempo run should feel relatively steady and the second tempo run should be very tough. The short, steep, hard hills in the middle flood your legs with lactic acid so that you enter the last portion of the workout feeling like you are deep into a hard race. The aim is to run the second tempo run at the same pace as the first one. It teaches you to learn to dig very deep when you are tired and want to stop. This is a valuable thing to learn because we usually face the toughest miles in the end of our races.
Results you have experienced with this workout:
At best, you’ll feel stronger and faster in your last miles of a race. At worst, this workout helps strengthen your mental fortitude.
So give this workout a shot if you’re up for it, and talk to your teammates afterwards about how it felt. Happy Running, and thanks, Efren!!
The Workout of the Week is a way for members to share what has worked for them in their training. The workouts are meant to be suggestive only. Anyone with health concerns should consult a healthcare professional before starting any rigorous training program. Workouts are often most effective as part of a formal training plan, and you may want to consult a certified coach or trainer. Happy running!

Member Spotlight: Interview with Janet Gottlieb

Interview by: Jana Trenk

Jana Trenk joined long time PPTC member, Janet Gottlieb for a mid day loop of Prospect Park, starting at Grand Army Plaza.  Janet gets in 15-20 miles per week, and has been a regular at New York City area races since 1984!

How long have you lived in Brooklyn? Where are you from originally?
I have lived in Brooklyn (first Bay Ridge, now Park Slope) for 31 years. I grew up in The Bronx, and lived in Queens as a young adult.

How did you start running? What got you interested in running?
When I was a teen, before I knew anything about training or specialized running shoes, running seemed a great way to get cardio exercise, and living near the Jerome Park Reservoir, a popular running loop, made it very convenient. In my late twenties, now properly shod, I began entering local races in Queens and also NYRR races.

How has running changed your life?
Running has helped keep me fit, and the people I’ve run with have become some of my closest friends. Some people become so totally consumed with work that they forget health and fitness, but registering for goal races required me to take time for running throughout my working life.

For many years, I considered marathons to be things other people did, and then, when I was 45 and going through some personal adversity, I went to the NYCM Expo and decided to sign up for the Prague Marathon the following May. The demands of marathon training are a great distraction, and I recommend a first marathon to anyone having a hard time who already has enough of a base to contemplate it.

What are your goals for the future?
Unless a brand new, odd distance race is offered, I know my PRs are behind me, but I expect to stay active even if my finishes are DFLs.

Janet with her dog, Cathy. Photo credit: Paul Schickler

What do you do outside of running? Can you tell us a little about your work, hobbies, life other than training?
After more than 33 years working as an attorney for the Administration for Children’s Services, I retired in the Fall of 2015, allowing me more time with my husband Paul, a retired teacher, and our dog Cathy. With New York’s museums, theatres and varied neighborhoods, there’s always plenty to do.

What was it like running in New York in the 80s? How was running culture similar or different to running in 2017?
 It’s my sense that people who ran in the 80’s, obviously a smaller group than we have now, made it their #1 priority, more important than civic action and sometimes even relationships. When there was a plan to make big changes, good for business but bad for park users, in Flushing Meadow Park, I expected my running friends would want to join in opposing the politicians advocating for them, but they didn’t seem to care. Today’s runners—and it may be because this is Brooklyn, and not changing times—recognize how civic action can work in their favor: When I came to Park Slope twenty-five years ago there were cars in the Park almost all the time on weekdays. Political pressure changed that.
Women were certainly in the minority of runners in the eighties, and I got used to being told by the ignorant that jarring one’s reproductive organs was unhealthy. Many got tired of being “welcomed” by runners and then mansplained, which is why women-only events were established. Now there are many New York races in which we predominate!
Those who were involved with PPTC in the old days report that it, too, used to be male-dominated and much more speed-driven and less welcoming of non-champions than it is now.