Category Archives: Blog

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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PPTC Grants Program: inaugural recipients

The Board of Prospect Park Track Club is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of the PPTC Grants Program.

Prospect Park Youth Running Club will receive $1,000 for travel expenses. Serving runners in elementary school, PPYRC participates in cross country and track regional and national competitions each season. In under a decade of existence, PPYRC members have claimed 25 national championships, but several members have been unable to travel to these national meets because their families could not afford the cost.

P.S. 161 – The Crown School will receive $1,000 for apparel. The large majority of the school’s students (grades 3-5) are at the poverty level, and thus are unable afford proper attire. Despite this, P.S. 161’s track team has had success at city competitions in the past few years. This money will help the team’s 20 members with the cost of shoes and uniforms.

Run4Fun, Inc. will receive $800 for apparel. Run4Fun is a non-competitive after-school running program with six Brooklyn locations. It is dedicated to promoting self-esteem, confidence and individualized coaching at each runner’s level. The organization is printing singlets and t-shirts for its members, and this money will defray much of the cost.

Urban Dove Team Charter School will receive $1,000 for apparel. UD Team is an innovative high school for struggling 9th and 10th graders where every student is part of a team. This includes the after-school “Couch to 5K” club, several members of which are unable to afford proper apparel and shoes; this grant will help offset those costs.

Thank you to all who submitted applications. We received many more proposals than we had anticipated, and we had to make some tough decisions in determining which groups would receive funding.

Our next round of funding, targeting spring running programs, will open in January. At least half of the proceeds from our upcoming Turkey Trot will be earmarked for the three funding cycles in 2016!

PPTC logo snippet header2

The Inside Loop – October 2015

PPTC was on the roads at the Fifth Ave Mile September 13th and also behind the scenes volunteering with USADA….many thanks to Doug Olney, Janice Fuld, Wayne Bailey and PPTC friends Trey Heard, Diego Ferrerya, and Sid and Asteria Howard.

The Inside LoopOn the same day, September 13th, not quite the same time, and definitely not the same part of the planet, PPTC was out in force at the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon and Half Marathon. Whether we fulled it or halved it, the hot and humid weather took its toll and gave the race clock permission to add minutes and seconds to finishing times. This race saw PPTC’s Nick Guerrero’s return to the road racing circuit after his rehab year recouping from his horrific injury on the job as a Suffolk County Police Officer. Recognizing our blessings to celebrate with Nick and the host of other PPTC that were there in support either on the roads or in the bleachers, PPTC rocked the house!!! A three car caravan drag raced out to Heckscher State Park but at the parking lot, the winning speedster was…..only kidding….

Congrats to PPTC Past President Jack Stetch and his family and friends who celebrated his 80th with him. Although definitely a new age cat for Jack, he still strives to be out there mid day with PPTC running buddies Dennis Sivak and Aaron Koffler. Work some, run some and enjoy life a whole lot is apparently the mantra which keeps him out there.

Great to have Bobby Fisher’s sister Stephanie Fall and family at the Music That Heals 5K in the park the end of September doing the Bobby Fisher Bagel Stop. For all of us who knew Bobby, there’s one thing we’ll never forget about his dietary preferences and that was his love of anything bagel. Bobby Fisher, we’ll never forget!!!

Two athletes we know trek over to NYU every day for their daily dose of radiation treatment for their two distinct types types of cancer. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, PPTC.

It’s certainly great to see the great strides Mike Ring is making in his recovery from Guillaume Barre. On the road each week motoring unassisted on Thursday nites with Achilles Brooklyn and then pictured breaking the tape at Music That Heals 5K! Yeah Michael!

”Chicago, Chicago”, the song begins, but lets hope that it’s a wonderful town with even better times for the PPTC marathoners who are venturing out there for their marathon. With PPTC inscripted singlets minted just for the occasion, PPTC will rock Chicago!

Judging just from the total volume of beer and ale consumed at the post workout get together in September coupled with the number of smiley PPTC faces in attendance both during and after the workout, PPTC’s recent Wednesday nite group run endng at the Greenwood Park Beer Garden at 7th Ave. by 20th street was a huge success. The beers and ales were cold, our athletes hot and we even got a five mile workout in. Missed it? See ya next time……

Congratulations to Selina Rutovitz, Tifenn Python, Ernie Hershey and Rory O’Flaherty, PPTC’s 2015 representatives at the Parade of Nations beffore the NYC Marathon. Thanking all who applied, PPTC had so many strong candidates that the team captains Missy, Linda, Justin, and Michael decided the fairest way to pick was at random. Names were literally put in a hat (a fedora, since this is Brooklyn, after all) and the names of two men and two women were drawn. PPTC will be ”in da’ house” at the Parade of Nations.

Chicago? New York? It’s time to start figuring out come race day what to wear in any weather and in any temp, what to eat the nite before and for breakfast the morning of, what time to hit the sack the night before and what’s the best time to rise and shine on race day. To get to the PPTC bus to the start of the NYC marathon, you have to get up in the middle of the nite, eat, get dressed, hit the bathroom, and then get to where the bus departs from . If you haven’t seen 4am on your alarm clock recently, now is the time to set the clock for that hour and rehearse your race day routines. Members of the ”been there done that” committee always remind that the race you’ve trained months for should not be marred by that new pair of shoes or those bright and shiny socks that have not been proved tried and true. Don’t slurp up the latest freebee at the expo that the product rep swears will clip hours off your finishing time or carry the latest bar to chew up at mile 18 if you haven’t chewed up lots of those exact bars during training. Getting the flu shot is smart but getting the shot just a few days before the race might not be the best of thinking.

Hey, see you on the roads PPTC !!!

The Inside Loop – September 2015

You know it’s September when you read on Facebook that Kristin Ulrich has a job teaching preschoolers art. Now we all know that somehow someway she’ll get in some interval training for her pre-K charges but we’ll have to wait and see how that looks when the paint has dried.

It must be September if PPTC Coaches Tony and Charlene have started another ten-week round of workout sessions. Not indoors at the Park Slope Armory yet but count ten weeks ahead on your calendar and you’ll see when that will kick in.

The Inside LoopThe Summer Speed 5K series ended last month so many thanks to all those who volunteered to make them happen. These races could not happen without PPTC’s spirited and talented volunteers! And let’s hope that former PPTC President Al Goldstein will grace the awards ceremonies at the Summer 5k’s for many years to come.

Early September saw Mike Ring marking his official return to running by running. Unfettered by canes or chairs with wheels, or holding a tether with a guide but actually running, running unassisted, and on the inside loop where else! Not concerned about pace yet, it’s all about the running, covering distances on the inside loop one drop of sweat at a time.

It must be September if PPTC’s Nicole Nerangis and family are back from Greece. Although not having solved that country’s financial crisis, she returned to resume her championing Achilles Brooklyn Thursday nights on the inside loop. Athletes and guides meet at JackRabbit at 6:00 p.m., store their stuff there if needed, and then make their way to the third street entrance of Prospect Park gathering at the triangle where the inside loop and the vehicle entrance intersect on the inside loop. After a brief introductory go around and then a warm-up, it’s off to run or walk at whatever pace is comfortable. If you know an athlete, male or female, whom you feel would benefit from a guided workout, don’t just tell them about Achilles Brooklyn, bring them and get them off to a great start. See you there!

You know it’s September if somehow someway you learn that someone somewhere is counting down to the start of the NYC marathon. If you’re running and not counting down the days and the number of workouts left until you’re toeing the line on the Verrazano Bridge Plaza, be assured that there are those who are.

September also sees the start of Maggie Deschamps’s youth running program. Contact Maggie for further details about when her groups meet and fees involved.

You know it’s September if a number of PPTC are venturing east for the first annual Suffolk County Half and full Marathon. It’ll be great to see Nick Guerrero back on the roads joining PPTC runners giving it his all in his 26.2 mile comeback. Fortunately Detective Nick did not have to work this September 13th which affords him the opportunity to get out on the roads and run some. PPTC will join many SCPD officers and brass out and along the course to witness Nick’s comeback despite some very “interesting” times. Amen.

September, October, November…in all the months of the years to come, lets keep the PPTC members who are fighting the good fight against a cancer in our thoughts and prayers.

This September marks the first anniversary of Bobby Fisher’s untimely passing. Thankfully the tree dedicated to his memory is alive and still doing well in the park. Don’t know exactly where it is? Ask around at a PPTC general meeting and find out just where in the vicinity of the Summer Speed 5k finish line it is. And remember, it’s not just any tree but “Bobby’s Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

See you on the roads.

2015 PPTC Turkey Trot

unnamed (1)November 26, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Presented by JackRabbit Sports


PHOTOS! Club photographer Larry Sillen took over 3,000 photos of the event, divided into four albums. Feel free to download your photos and share them with your friends!

One of Brooklyn’s most popular races, this spectacular 5-miler is the perfect way to kick off your holiday season! The early start time guarantees you’ll make it home for turkey.

Walkers are welcome, but due to liability reasons we cannot allow strollers or pets.

At least half of the proceeds from this year’s Turkey Trot will benefit the brand-new PPTC Grants Program, which provides assistance to organizations that advance Prospect Park Track Club’s mission of promoting running in Brooklyn. The first class of recipients will be announced Thursday, November 29.

They're Off at the Turkey TrotYou’ll start on Center Drive near East Drive. When you finish near the Oriental Pavilion, one of our local heroes will place a medal around your neck. (You can see the course map here.)

If you’re fast enough to place in the top three, you’ll also receive one of our famous holiday pies!

You can leave a bag, but please pack light owing to security precautions. PPTC is not responsible for lost or stolen items.


We strongly recommend you use mass transit. The Q train and the B12, B16, B41, and B43 buses work well. (Google Maps can give you precise directions.)

Like last year, we will be selling old race swag after the PPTC Turkey Trot for $5/item. Please bring  cash.


JackRabbit Union Square, 42 West 14th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues
Monday, Nov. 23, 4-7 p.m.

JackRabbit Brooklyn, 151 7th Avenue between Garfield & Carroll Streets 
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 4-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 25, noon to 6 p.m.

Audubon Center off the East Drive
Thursday, Nov. 26, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. (race day)

Find our event on Facebook.

Any questions? Email the Race Director. (Again, we apologize, but no additional spaces will open up for registration.)