Category Archives: Blog

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.

The Inside Loop – May 2016

The competition was tough, but congrats to the newly-elected members of the PPTC Board of Directors:

  • Aisha Qamar — one year as Secretary
  • Missy Burgin — 3-year term
  • Keith Williams — 2-year term
  • Michael Koplin — 2-year term

In addition to being elected by the membership to the club’s Board of Directors, Michael K is also to be recognized for having recently garnered his credentials as a USATF Level 1 Track and Field Coach! I can’t wait to ask him about… [insert random training questions here]

Let’s keep Peggy Casey in our thoughts and prayers as she faces some tough miles in the road ahead.

The Inside LoopLou Stern recently turned 82! Back in the day, Lou was one of PPTC’s toughest road warriors.  Now living in the Bahamas, he does come up every so often to visit his adult children. He just can’t seem to resist the lure of the inside loop roadway. Let’s keep him in our thoughts and prayers — as you may well understand, piling on the years often does bring additional health concerns.

There’s a morning runners’ group, others who meet to run in the evening, and although they don’t appear to advertise it, Jack Stetch, Dennis Sivack, and Aaron Kofler seem to get out often for a midday easy-paced run from Bartel Pritchard Square. Morning, noon, and night, PPTC is on the roads!

PPTC, as well as Achilles Brooklyn, congratulates PPTC’s Patricia McNaughton upon receiving the Achilles Brooklyn’s volunteer of the month award. Achilles Brooklyn runs strong every Thursday night, meeting and greeting at JackRabbit at 6pm before proceeding to the park pedestrian entrance at Garfield Place and PPW to the inside loop roadway for the workout. Achilles athletes and the Guides decide on the individual workouts for each session, whether it’s a full loop, a half loop through Center Drive, or perhaps just a short down-and-back from Garfield to Bartel Pritchard. Know someone you’d like to see involved with Achilles Brooklyn? Bring ’em there to get their feet on the road! There is no charge, only a simple release form, and all are welcome — athletes and Guides alike. Need more info on Achilles Brooklyn? Patricia McNaughton, Mike Ring, Nicoletta Nerangis, Andy Wong, Jackie Lee, and Tom Byrnes are among those who can fill you in.

The Kenny Dolan 5K, slated for Sunday, June 5th, is a race with lots and lots of runners and lots and lots of paces. Lou Vazquez and family coordinate the best of races and the very best post-race party BBQ with burgers and hot dogs and anything else you might want. Music, dancing, rocking and rolling — hey, what a race!

On behalf of the youth involved in his programs in Belize, Ian Grey extends his heartfelt thanks for the shoes, singlets, and running gear that PPTC members have been so kind to donate. If you have shoes (men’s, women’s, or children’s) and/or lightweight running clothing that’s gathering dust in your closets and you’d like to see it put to better use, contact me and we’ll do our best to hook up and get it to Ian for those runners in need. Ian has a sister who lives near the tennis courts and both have contacts with airline personnel who will facilitate the shipping from Brooklyn to Belize. Don’t dump it, donate it!

Were they wedding bells we heard chiming for Emma Roman recently? They came through loud and clear on Facebook, so felicidades!

Another one of our veteran runners is facing medical issues, but at this point, I’ll wait before providing further info. Shit happens, as they say. For now, please keep a beloved PPTCer in your thoughts and prayers for a healthy recovery.

Here’s some great news! Mike Ring is now the coordinator and spokeperson for the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Support Group: Brooklyn. Everyone else in our world probably knows this already but hey, as always, go Michael! You rock!

Anyone else have a friend who needs his or her watch fixed? Because after hearing the splits, you know you just could not have been running that slowly…

See you on the roads!

Got any juicy news? Email to let Tom & Friends know!

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.


Coached Speed Workouts – Spring 2016

For the spring 2016 only, Coach Tony & Charlene will conduct a weekly 2-hour boot camp of intensive speed training over 5 weeks. Each session will include warm-up, drills, core & strength work and speed work, ending with cool down and stretching.

We guarantee that each 2-hour workout will work and train your body not only to run faster, but to be stronger, better balanced and more efficient overall.

Tuesday evenings are for faster, more advanced runners (April 26th – May 24th)
Thursday evenings are for beginners and intermediate runners (April 28th – May 26th)

All sessions will meet at 7:00 p.m. at either the Bartel Pritchard Square entrance of Prospect Park (15th Street and Prospect Park West) or the Red Hook Track; the location will be announced before each session. A car will always be available for storing gear. Water will be provided.

Spots will be limited, so secure your place now! Sign up here.

PPTC 2016 Elections: The Candidates

We are proud to announce our candidates for the Board of Directors in this year’s election cycle.

The voting period ends Sunday, April 17th at 11:59 p.m. All members as of April 4th, 2016 will be receiving an email from with a special link and instructions on how to vote.

Household memberships are given two votes; only the person who actually registered received an email. If you are the head of your Household membership and you’d like for another member of your Household to vote, please email with that person’s name and email address.

If you did not receive an email, please first check your Spam folder. If there is still an issue, please email

See the Bylaws of the Club for the responsibilities of each position.

Thank you to all of our candidates!

The Elections Committee

Candidates Running For Secretary

Aisha Qamar  PPTC_Aisha

I moved to New York five years ago, and it didn’t feel like home until I joined PPTC. Now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This group has supported me in my running, as well as provided me with a group of tremendous friends and teachers.

I would like to contribute to PPTC as the Secretary. I have been an active member of the Social Committee, leading events such as the International Women’s Day group run, Pi(e) Day run, and the Washington Heights 5k post-race cool down/brunch. I was Santa at last year’s Turkey Trot and hope to reprise my role this year. I am confident that my skills, commitment, and enthusiasm make me an ideal candidate for the Secretary position and I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the club in a new capacity.

 Sheldon Sucre   PPTC_Sheldon

My name is Sheldon Sucre. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, then moved to queens where I live for approximately 12 years and now I am back in Brooklyn; living in Sheepshead Bay. I would like to run for the position of Secretary. I have been a secretary of the Physical Education Major Club at Adelphi University. I am was also a Secretary for the Aquatics Section in New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (NYSAHPERD). I graduated with a Bachelors Degree from Adelphi University in Physical Education. I graduated with a Masters Degree from Adelphi University in Sports Management with a concentration in Sports Based Youth Development. Currently, I am attending Teachers College at Columbia University to obtain my second Masters Degree and also my Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) in Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education. I am currently employed by the State of New York as a Professor at Hostos Community College, CUNY  (Bronx); I am also an Aquatics Director at the Brooklyn Sports Club (East New York), and during my free time I am an Assistant Swim Coach for Riverdale Country School (Riverdale). I believe that I  meet the qualifications for the position of Secretary for Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC). I hope to be your next secretary.


Candidates Running for the Board of Directors

Missy Burgin  PPTC_Missy1

It is with great excitement that I announce my candidacy for the 2016 PPTC Board of Directors election.

In 2013, I moved to Prospect Heights with a Booklynite network of zero. As I did my research in local running clubs, PPTC was the clear choice for me. Fast forward 2.5 years, and never have I given so much of my time and energy to a single organization, but the friendships, the team bond, the camaraderie, and the personal growth have been tenfold.

In my time with PPTC, I have already helped contribute in the following:

-2015 Cherry Tree – Volunteer Coordinator

-2015 Al Goldstein Speed Series – Junior Race Director 2015

-2015 Turkey Trot – Co-Race Director

-2016 Cherry Tree – Co-Race Director

-Team Captain, 2014-Present

-Coordinator, Inaugural Runcation – 2014 Finger Lakes

-Instrumental in creating the Marathon Training Group

-2014 & 2015 Awards Night Planning Crew

This club has so much to offer local runners. New runners, lifetime runners, young, old, and everywhere in between, pace is irrelevant. And I look forward to serving on the Board to improve member experience, continue to help create new offerings, and lead our Club to growth, prosperity, speed, and health.

I kindly ask for your vote as I look to work with other great leaders to serve this awesome common-bond community we call PPTC.


Missy Burgin

Michael Koplin  PPTC_Michael

Please consider this my statement of intent to run for one of the open Board of Director positions.  I’ve been impressed with the dedication of all the past and present officers of PPTC.  I wish to join the Board of Directors and help guide and support the club into the future.  After 21 years as an Operations Director, I’m aware of the responsibilities and nuances of management.  PPTC members see a seamless administration of activities, from club races, social events, community activity, and social media.  I’m ready to join the Board of Directors and become involved with administration of the club.

Thank you,

Michael Koplin

Colleen Lynch  PPTC_Colleen

I am very excited to run for PPTC’s Board of Directors. Over the past five years, I have seen immense growth and change for PPTC, as well as myself as a runner. From bonding during long runs, to pushing ourselves on the track, to cheering through injuries, to celebrating glorious pain at finish lines, being a member of this club has transformed me into a runner I never expected to become.

I’ve taken an active role on the Social Committee for the past three years and the Communications Committee for one. I seek to join the Board to further increase club involvement across all paces, ages & distances, and help shape the club to serve our members. Working to continually improving our races, training offerings, membership benefits and team spirit, we can ensure that every member can grow as a runner and find their place in our community.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue building our PPTC family together – and sharing a donut, of course!


Colleen Lynch

Keith Williams  PPTC_Keith

Dear PPTC teammates:

It has been a privilege to serve on the Board these past three years. Some of the initiatives I’ve helped bring to life include:

– the Grants Program, which has given PPTC a new way to invest in the greater Brooklyn running community

– an improved membership experience, including the revamped volunteer program, and technical enhancements to make processes smoother for everyone

– a more proactive communications structure, which has led to better customer service (and national television exposure!) for our races

There is still a lot of work to be done, on these projects and several others. I’m asking for your vote so that I may continue to help the club be all that it can be – not only for our members, but for Brooklyn running as a whole.

I thank you for your consideration.

Keith Williams




Notice of Election: March 2016


Have you considered serving on the club’s Board of Directors? It is a tremendous responsibility, but a rewarding one!

Four of the nine seats on the Board are up for election this April: one Officer position (a special election for Secretary) and three Director positions. Officers serve for 2 years: Directors, for either 2 or 3 years (more info below).

For descriptions of each position, please refer to the club’s by-laws. You may only run for one position; all candidates for the vacant Director spots will be placed into a single pool.

To declare your candidacy, please send a Statement of Intent to by Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. We will publish the Statements on the PPTC website on Sunday, April 3rd. Voting will open on Monday, April 4th and be will be open for 2 weeks.

To be eligible, you must have one year of service to the club (i.e., you must have been a member in March 2015).

If you have any questions about the election, please direct them to

We’re looking forward to a great turnout!
Gary Belcher & Nicole Importico
Co-Chairs, Elections Committee

Positions for Election
The Board has amended the by-laws to change the duration of Directors’ terms and the method for voting. A full explanation of the amendments can be found here.

Each year, there will be two Director positions scheduled to be open:
▪ The top vote-getter will receive a three-year term
▪ The second-highest vote getter will receive a full two-year term

In addition, there is a vacant Director position, the term of which ends in April 2018 (it had been held by Lynda Mules, who resigned in February). In this election, the third-highest vote-getter will fill the remainder of the vacated term (two years).

The Secretary Position is a special election this year for a one year term.

PPTCers have sweet thoughts after a bitter Cherry Tree

It might have been Valentine’s Day, but around 9:55 a.m. on Sunday morning in Prospect Park, there weren’t many runners in love with the prospect of racing.

The reason, of course, was the frigid weather. One of the Prospect Park Track Club’s signature events, the Cherry Tree 10-Miler & Relay, just happened to fall on one of the coldest mornings in years. The temperature at race time was in the single digits and the wind made it feel less than zero.

“I’ve never run a PPTC race before,” said recent member Nicholas Cohen before he headed to the starting line. “I guess this is trial by fire – or more like ice.”

Racers and volunteers, all warming up. (Photo: Tifenn Python)
Racers, volunteers, and cheerers, all warming up. (Tifenn Python)

Not all members were daunted by the thermometer. Bjorn Arnsten, a native of Norway who ran the relay race with his two sons, took the weather in stride. “It’s like springtime,” he said. “We get this kind of weather in Norway in May.”

Etan Levavi, another new PPTC member, was mildly apprehensive before the starting horn blared. “I’ve never run in such cold weather,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Adam Devine's post-race selfie.
Adam Devine’s post-race selfie.

Levavi did just fine, registering the fastest time of any PPTC club member, finishing the 10-miler in 1:02:40. That placed him 16th overall, good for second in the male 20-24 age group. [Click here for all results]

Shan Haq, who finished just behind Levavi in 1:03:14 (3rd in male 20-24), was among the daring few who ran in shorts. “I drove up from Delaware this morning,” he explained. “It was a lot warmer there.”

Overall, the PPTC men had six out of the first 30 finishers. Following Levavi and Haq were Spencer Gallop (21st), Arnie Flores (24th, also in shorts), Tyghe Trimble (27th) and Allan Co (29th).

PPTC rock star Mariela Quintana, the fastest woman from Brooklyn in the 2015 New York City Marathon, led the club’s women’s team. Quintana was the fourth woman finisher overall, running a 1:06:26.

Quintana acknowledged the conditions weren’t optimal and her time was a bit slower than she had hoped. “It was a tough race, but I am proud of myself and everyone who came out,” she said. “I’ll use it as incentive to train harder for the warmer and faster spring races ahead!”

Crazy men. (Photo: Andy Wong)
Crazy men. (Andy Wong)

Other notable finishes from PPTC women included Jana Trenk, who ran the course in 1:09:40, good for third in the female 25-29 age group.

Hats off to Emily Whitfield. Her 1:17:52 made her the fastest woman ages 50-54. And kudos also go to Joelle Reeves, who took home a coveted beer mug for finishing third in the female ages 30-34 group.

After the race, many runners reported that the weather conditions, while difficult, were perhaps better than they had feared. The wind was a factor on the uphills at Grand Army Plaza, but it was comparatively warm on other parts of the course.

Trenk called it a strange race, one in which her pace varied widely. “Some miles I did in the 6:30 range, others were 7:30s,” she said.

Ultimately, it was a day in which the volunteers, more than the runners themselves, deserved the medals for braving the elements and putting on a great race.

#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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