Social media can sometimes be a waste of time with nothing good coming out of it. In other instances, it can be useful. I keep tracks of races by regularly checking the calendars of time-management companies or race producers, mostly for the Run Brooklyn program that PPTC supports. I thought I know a lot about the races in the New York City metro area, but I had never heard about the 5K Doughnut Run put on by the Montclair Bread Company in New Jersey. In a post in the PPTC Facebook group fellow runner Shana Skaletsky alerted me to a contest the Bread Company was hosting. Make something donut-inspired when you run, something right up my alley! I made the “Just donut” run and waited for the result to be announced and finally learned that I won two complimentary entries and a box of donuts! Naturally, Shana got the second entry as if not for her I wouldn’t know about the race.
The night before the race I had the fear of not being able to find parking near the start. Or being stuck in traffic somehow and not make it on time. I think it’s called deeenessphobia. It turned out my worry was groundless. I left my house really early, picked up Shana, then made the trip across state line to Montclair, New Jersey. Shana knows the area well and that helped a lot because even though I had GPS guiding me, most of the trip was on local roads. We arrived at our destination early. Even though some roads were already closed, I was able to park the car mere two blocks away from the Bread Company. Packet pickup was quick and painless, and we had enough time to wait in the car. Along with a nice long-sleeved tech shirt, we also got a sack containing a water bottle, a fanny pack, and coupons/flyers for local businesses.
About 15 minutes to 8 am, we started walking to the start line. The race had a cap of 2300+ and it seemed everyone showed up. Walnut Street was already packed with participants. Shana and I found our way to the back of the mass. The national anthem was performed by a saxophonist then off we went, slowly at first. It snowed the night before but the roads were mostly cleared. For the first half-mile, I mostly walked. There were many people and it was very difficult to actually run, not that I am a fast runner. I am not used to running with people pushing strollers and had the fear of being tripped by them. I believe at least a few were double-sized too, so they really took up a wide swath of the road. If you can get behind a fast stroller then it’s like infantry crouching behind armored vehicle, the stroller creates a path for you to follow. Otherwise you just have to try to avoid them.
Maybe it was because of the cold temperature, cheering along the course was sparse. There were a few patches of ice here and there but volunteers along the course pointed them out. There were two water stations, with munchkins (doughnut holes), but I opted to skip them both to improve my time a bit. As usual, the last mile seemed to take forever to cover. It was extra challenging that the last few yards involved an uphill.
So far the race was good, sure it was a bit crowded in the beginning but it was a fun run so I didn’t mind it too much. Things went awry right after the finish mat. Instead of a long chute for finishers to spread out, there was a sharp turn left to get medals and refreshment, plus whatever the sponsors gave out. It was so crowded I didn’t know what the “line” was for. It was not much of a line, just a mass of people standing in place, not moving. In the cold. Eventually I was able to squeeze onward to get my medal. Next, the line for donuts and small cups of hot chocolate, supposedly, was pretty long too, also barely moving. I decided to not have those donuts and instead went for my prize donuts. Inside the bakery there were boxes of donuts but only for people who pre-ordered them. I only had to find my contact person from the bakery, waited for her to finish conducting the award ceremony, then the dozen of donuts was mine. Time to find Shana, wolfed down a donut or two in the car, then made our exit from the area.
According to official posts on Facebook, half of the volunteers failed to show up. I am sure the no-shows badly impacted the event, but I think what ruined the finish experience was the short space allocated for finish chute, medal chute, and refreshment area. It was basically one city block that the finishers squeezed into. It should be at least three blocks long. Otherwise having more volunteers wouldn’t make any difference. I don’t know how it was done the previous three years, maybe there weren’t that many people. Growing pains, I guess. Fans of the 5K posted many ideas to improve the situation next time. Mine would be to have donuts along the race course. The whole point of the run is to eat donuts. If I don’t have a box of prize donuts waiting for me, I doubt I will do this race again, as I really don’t like waiting around in the cold.
For many New Yorkers, particularly Brooklynites, the PPTC Turkey Trot is an annual Thanksgiving tradition that’s right up there with the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Without fail, this “little” local race sells outs when the weather is still warm and we’re wondering when fall is going to start. For the first time this year, PPTC offer 100 bibs for $100 for the people who missed out on the early pricing. That $10,000 was donated to CHiPS, a wonderful local community organization which provides food and shelter to those in need.
Thanksgiving morning, the weather was not at all frightful. Instead, cool crisp weather ideal for running greeted the 2204 runners who came out to trot their stuff for five miles.
The Top Three PPTC Women Runners
Leiba Rimler (34:46), 9-sec PR, 2nd AG (30-34)
Holly Chase (35:22)
Chloe Free (37:04), 5-min PR
The Top Three PPTC Men Runners
Yves Nozil (25:36), defended his title in winning the PPTC Turkey Trot for the second year in a row
Etan Levavi (28:37), 2nd AG (25-29)
Alan Lawn (31:30), PR
Other notable running accomplishments
3rd AG (55-59)
1.5 min PR & 3rd AG (40-44)
Neil R Feldman
3rd AG (65-69)
1st AG (70+)
1st AG (65-59)
3rd AG (65-69)
Photos of the Turkey Trot taken by Larry Sillen can be seen here:
Thank you to the staff at NYC Runs and to Modell’s for having their store be the site for the packet pick-up. Big thank you to our club members who volunteered the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and the day of the race, from medal assembly, stickering bigs, manning the packet pick-up, schlepping goods, manning bag check, and much, much more. This race could not have happened with your enthusiasm, skill, and dedication.
On November 18, 2017, PPTC ultrarunners toed the NYRR NYC 60K Ultra-Marathon in Central Park. There were 11 registered PPTC finishers. PPTC won the team award with its top five men finishers, followed by Front Runners in second place, and the Dashing Whippets in third place. Etan Levavi came in fourth overall for his ultra debut. Other outstanding ultra debuts include Ben Collier in eight overall and Andrei Fluerasu in 20th for men overall. For women overall, PaFoua Hang came in 18th. Captain Adam Devine came in 25th overall and was able to knock off a hefty PR margin. Both Etan and Frank Deleo came in second for each of their respective age groups.
The following pages are race recaps from the runners in alphabetical order by first name. Recaps not captured: Kamen Yotov and Manuel Quintanilla.
This is by far my favorite race of the year, because it always feels like more of a team effort than any race, save for maybe the team champs. A bunch of us made it a little more of a to-do this year, and it really paid off. I started with Andrei, and he and I ran the first 18 miles or so together, then he sped up and I slowed a bit. The group run cheer squad met us for a bit and provided some much-needed support, and Rosalba was ON POINT with Sherpa duties. She ran with me right when things started getting rough and helped keep me going when I needed it (and I didn’t realize until after that she ran more than 33 miles in support of us!). I passed several teammates along the way on the course and on the sidelines, and the constant flow of “team” made the whole thing feel like more of a group effort. After finishing I rang my cowbell until my body started to shut down, and then headed home. I feel bad I didn’t stay until the whole team was finished, but I was so proud of everyone, especially the first-timers. I can’t wait to do it again next year. Go, Team!
I started running with Adam Devine (see photo) somewhere just below 8min/mi (5 min/km) with the occasional faster mile when we were pushed faster by the overall excitement. Around mile 12, we were joined by the most amazing support crew one can imagine who had run there all the way from Brooklyn – Thanks, Noah, Jana, Matteo, Sarah R, Adam I, Crystal, Anh-Tuan, Rosalba (and I hope I didn’t forget others). It was fun trying to organize a triangular-shaped pace group like in the sub-2 attempt. It definitely made us feel good and miles passed faster. Kept my pace for the first 5 loops (21 miles) but with the 6th loop, after a quick refueling stop, the unavoidable started to happen. With the low mileage a mange to put in this cycle and probably not really fully recovered after the NYC marathon, I started to feel increasingly stiff (same darn glutes) and to slow-down. My goal on the last two laps was simple: just keep running and don’t care about the pace. In the meantime, Rosalba was doing her own crazy run. She ran many loops in opposite direction and then joined many of our PPTC teammates for small sections. I was myself joined by Scott for a mile or so at some point. The last 10k was just a struggle for survival. I knew that if I keep running, I’ll finish in under 5:30, perhaps even 5:20, which was a good goal. Rosalba joined me for those last 6 mi and together we forgot a bit about the suffering. She was approaching the 50km mark herself which makes her a clear winner in the spectator-cheerleader-runners category 🙂
My final time was approximately 5:19:30.
All in all, this was a long, interesting day. The suffering was non-negligible but the overall joy shadows it and only a few hours after the race I’m thinking already that I should do what I need to do to keep the 8 min pace for the whole darn race next year 🙂 Thanks again to all the PPTC teammates, and cheering groups and, of course, a big thank you to all the volunteers.
Thoughts were that it was such a fun race. I like that it was small, there was great sense of camaraderie and there was a huge PPTC showing. I’d forgotten how hard it was to run the longer distances. My legs were dead for the last 10 miles. NYCM really took its toll. Also, could not have finished without PPTC support. Scott Edgerton ran the whole of the last lap, I think he really sensed I was fading and took it upon himself to drag me home. He’d probably run some miles himself at that point so even more grateful.
What a club!
I can’t believe I just completed my first ultra! This was not something that was even on my radar until hearing PPTC members (such as, ahem, Adam) talk about how “fun” they were. So I decided I wanted to give it a try! As far as training goes, I really want to thank the MTG group, Coach Tony/Charlene Speed Training sessions and everyone in PPTC for the support along the way!
And then on to the race: it was really amazing to see such a big group of fellow PPTC runners when I got there. To know that so many teammates were gonna be out in the course with me helped to calm my nerves! The team support was also critical to my finishing as I learned a lot in real time from PaFoua – who I got to run with for the first half. She helped me keep going even through a stomach bug, which I had gotten earlier in the week and plagued me the first couple loops, she helped me figure out my nutrition and she helped to take my mind off what was coming up by chatting about other races we have run. (Thanks!)Toward the end of the run I surprised myself by keeping at it-even when running became more of a shuffle. (Especially on the hills!) Before the 60k, I wondered what it would be like to run cat hill on that ninth loop and though it’s a blur to me now, I remember one thing: it was PAINFUL but not IMPOSSIBLE.
I have to thank all the PPTC-ers who came to cheer and, of course, my wife, Carmen who I thought was crazier than me to stand out in the cold for 6+ hours as my crew!
I never thought that I’d run this race! About a month before the NYC Marathon, after a long training run, I was speaking with a friend about how I think anyone can complete a marathon with proper training. My friend adamantly disagreed, and as an example asked me if I could ever run an Ultramarathon… “NO! I can NEVER run an Ultra!” But, a few minutes later, I thought, “Why not?” I spoke with Adam Devine the next day to get his thoughts, and he was very encouraging (is anyone surprised?) so I signed up right after our conversation.
A few days before the race, I went to an NYRR RUNtalk about Ultras where I met a guy that Adam works with (Christopher), and we chatted for a few minutes and wished each other a good race. A few days later, the race started off great! Lots of encouragement from volunteers and obviously from PPTC members, I brought tons of food which I quickly realized was pointless since it was SO well-supported by NYRR, and Sara Devine and Andy Wong were kind enough to run the 2nd loop with me, offering great conversation and encouragement. They made the 2nd loop so joyous and easy that the 3rd loop really dragged on in comparison! At the end of #3 (approximately a half marathon), I was honestly beginning to get a bit dreary at the thought of so many more repeating loops since I was getting tired, when suddenly I noticed Christopher. We spoke about our expected pace, and decided to run together a little bit.
We had a fine loop #4, getting to know each other better since we were still effectively strangers. We also ran with Melissa Lee, who was kind enough to tell me in advance that she might come out, and I was overjoyed that she made it and offered company/encouragement, which really helped loop #5 pass by effortlessly! Christopher and I then kept going together while the conversation kept flowing. We spoke about work, the PPTC, phones, politics, candy, and plenty of other random things, because we had plenty of time since we wound up finishing six loops (24 miles) together after previously having spoken for only a few minutes!!! It was so much easier to bear through with company during nearly the whole race!
There was plenty of walking, stopping to eat, and hugs from the incredible PPTC cheer sections (thank you, Heather, Katie, Robert, Joelle, Nick, Dave, and anyone else I missed). Everyone was super encouraging, the PPTC members who lapped me made sure to be congratulatory and uplifting, and the rest stops were basically delicious snack buffets. At the end of the day (I finished after the sun went down) I proved myself wrong by finishing, got to know a stranger really well, got to know some incredible PPTC members better, and found another race which I can’t imagine missing next year! If you’re like me and never thought that you’d be able to run this, then I hope to see you there next year when you prove yourself wrong.
And, seriously, thank you SO MUCH Adam, Sara, Andy, and Melissa!!!
One thing I love about running is that, in terms of performance measures, it is a simple function of time and distance. My goal going into the race was to finish in under 5 hours, which would require about an 8:00/mi average pace. But above all, I wanted to go by feel and was willing to take a chance with this race. As with distance cycling, I love ultra running for the fact that it gives the runner an excuse to run for extended durations of time and be enveloped in the cheers and support of friends and spectators.
Thanks to peer pressure and the intrigue of increasing my distance PR, I found myself registered for the 60K. I have only run for more than 3 hours duration a handful of times. Just a few weeks ago I ran 50K on a treadmill at the NYC Marathon Expo, in 5 hours. It went really well and was the confidence boost that opened me up to the idea of running the 60K at a race effort. My thought was that I have already run for 5 hours – now I just have to do it at a harder effort.
Yes, there is pain – both during the race and much in the 8-10 hours following the race. It’s subsiding rapidly, thanks to compression pants, gentle stretching, sleep, and water. But as masochistic as 9 CP loops may seem, it is not the pain that is the draw, but the elation. Throttling up CP’s hills, and the freedom of rolling down the other side, seeing friends on the course and cheering, seeing the Achilles athletes out there. The high point of the race for me came on the third-to-final loop. About a quarter of a mile past the aid station, I became overwhelmed by emotion. That moment was everything running is to me. I could barely breathe, as I was on the brink of breaking down and bawling my eyes out. For this single experience, it was all worth it. But of course, there was so much more. Knowing that my friends running were putting in the same work that I was, and knowing that my friends who came out to support us were never more than a few miles away.
After the race, it took a few days for NYRR to post the race results. I was proud to see that I placed 4th overall with a time of 4:38:48, average pace 7:29/mi. Congrats to everyone who did the work and put in the miles! This is the best team!
First of all, big thanks to PaFoua for being the primary mover in creating this group. Hey, is it me, or did the PPTC presence at this venerable event reach a tipping point this year? (According to the initial NYRR results, we were the only team that had double-digit participants! Can that be right? Yes!!!) I was both gratified and tickled to see all the club folks who either ran the race or provided some incredible support along the course, up to and including pizza and free hugs. Not to mention the flood of photos pouring in afterward! I’m sure we’ll see many of those who cheered us on from the sidelines wearing race numbers next year.
It was good to see Broadway Ultra Society’s Richie Innamorato still helping out at this race. He founded this race in 1978, collaborating with Fred Lebow and the NYRR, and also gave it the name that many of us old-timers know it as the Knickerbocker 60K (or simply “the Knick”). Fred was secretly a big booster (and occasional participant) of ultras, in spite of the fact that they didn’t bring in a lot of revenue, what with fewer participants back then. Central Park was also a lot less congested, and in its early years the race (then held in March) was six full loops of the park in a clockwise direction, finishing near the Dakota along the West 72nd St exit.
Much of my ultra history has been running these road courses on repeating loops. Unlike point-to-point runs and trail races, the limited scenery might make it harder to stay motivated, but I think there are definite advantages. The camaraderie is great. You pass through “race central” and gatherings of the “ultra-curious” on a regular basis. You get inspired (or discouraged, if you’re one of those glass-half-empty types) by the faster runners lapping you, and you, in turn, can get a chance to encourage the runners you happen to pass.
And I gotta say NYRR provided a great spread this year, with bagels, potatoes, a variety of sweet and salty snacks, and lots of fluids both hot and cold. Thank you, volunteers!
Finally, thanks to whichever geoengineers are responsible for keeping the rain at bay for the better part of the race, even for the slower runners. My preferred ultra conditions skew toward summer days, but I guess that’s just me.
This was my fourth time fun-running the NYC 60K. I was thrilled to see a strong PPTC turn-out this year. Andy Wong graciously offered to drive a few of us to the start line so I felt refreshed and calm when I got to Central Park. Shan Haq warmed up with me and we ran the first mile or so together. Then I started running with Brian Schwartz and Christy, and soon we were joined by Anh-Tuan Tran who ran with us for two loops. By the end of the fourth loop, I found myself alone and at the mercy of the noise in my head. On the sixth loop, I started fading and was relieved when Scott Edgerton joined me for a loop. We saw Joe Lyons and Bobbie DeMasco cheering around mile 25 and it was rejuvenating to see them after fighting against the rolling hills. Captain Adam Devine passed us shortly afterward and it was inspiring to see his energy—he was heading towards a big PR and I was really excited for him.
I ran the last three loops alone. Etan Levavi passed me during the seventh loop and gave me encouraging words as he continued on like a fresh gazelle galloping into the horizon of the rolling sister hills. I pushed onward against the angry hills and was greeted again by the most enthusiastic cheering squad of Joe and Bobbie. I continued to see both of them during another painful lap. On the ninth lap, most spectators have left because it started drizzling, but I was overcome with pressure and guilt that Joe and Bobbie might still be out on the course cheering. As much as I would rather have walked, I felt compelled to at least jog my way towards them JUST IN CASE they were still there and I was selfishly keeping them out longer in the cold just to wait for my hobby jogger’s victory lap. During mile 36, from 100 meters away, I can hear Joe screaming my name and cheering alone. It was incredibly uplifting.
I ran this ultra on a dangerously low mileage training cycle thanks to having fallen out of love with running after getting piriformis syndrome during the NJM training cycle. With the poor mileage, I ran NYCM as a fun touristy run and I also toed the 60K with the same nonchalant mindset. Thanks to everyone who came out to run, cheer, and offer moral support, I unexpectedly PR’d by 15 minutes during this fun run and came in 18 for overall women (WHAT?). Thank you, PPTC! Thank you, Sara Devine, for your encouragement at the end of EVERY LOOP. And Joe – this PR was really because of you since I would have gladly strolled the last loop if I didn’t expect you to still be out there. 🙂
My first 60K felt like my very first marathon, except that for my first marathon the longest run I did was 10K. For the 60K, I ran 7 marathons and after a couple of those marathons, I felt good enough to run another half marathon. However, for the 60K I didn’t have a strategy like I did for my first marathon. My strategy for my first marathon was to do four 10K loops plus 1.4 miles. With each 10K, I reset my mind by saying to myself, “Groundhog Day”.
I was ill-prepared for the 60K and made frequent pit stops, which could have been avoided if I took the 60K seriously. I was toast after mile 30 but kept going because I have never DNF (“did not finish”) in any of the races that I’ve run before. I’ll do the 60K again, but with a strategy next time and be better prepared both mentally and physically.
Let me tell you about two pizza deliveries that really meant something to me. The first and most remarkable one was in the mid-80s, Pakistan. I was maybe six, hated my grandma’s cooking, and the food didn’t stick to my ribs the same as it did back home.
Dad was coming to visit a week later to join mom, my sister, and me. I still remember the phone call with him, “Anything you want from America that you miss from home?”
“Dad, I want a pizza.”
A week later my father arrives in Islamabad, opened the suitcase and pulled out a pizza box. For a hungry kid who hated the food in Pakistan pooping his guts out every day, I can’t tell you how grateful I was to get that box of pizza.
Well, the second such instance of pizza delivery gratitude happened to me five hours into the race last Saturday, in Central Park NY. One of my favorite running buddies was waiting for me before the final loop of Central Park. She had a box of freshly made, piping hot pizza.
Special thanks to Sarah working the aid station for looking me in the eyes and firmly encouraging me to keep running.
What a day! What a weekend! Still riding high and processing it all.
In the days leading up to the race, I had the privilege to hear from and meet Meb Keflezighi and chat with Bart Yasso. I’m not one to gush over celebs, but these guys are humble, have a wealth of knowledge in the sport and are such down to earth humans. It took star struck to a new level. They each shared different advice and words of encouragement and I had faith that Sunday would be a good day. After pseudo-injuries and heightened anxiety (thank you taper) were put to rest with kind words by my PT, I had a good feeling about taking on NYC for the second time. I had utilized the taper period and really made sure I was on top of my nutrition. I slept, stretched and foam rolled (btw – sleep is not overrated). I felt really ready for race day.
Going into the race I had two goals, which based on most of my training runs, I knew I could attain. My original plan was to find the pacer in my corral and hang with him. But I somehow managed to lose him before the corrals even moved to the base of the bridge. He disappeared out of my sight and into thin air. So we went with plan B and ran solo.
It’s funny actually. Somehow my entire day turned into a day full of plan Bs, and no not the one from the drugstore, more like the plan you choose when the first one fails. Yet I didn’t seem to mind. It all started in the morning when I thought I was going with a bus to Staten Island and ended up in an Uber heading to the ferry terminal in Manhattan. It continued when I ran solo and finished when I dropped any goal times I had and ran for fun and redemption. Why redemption? Well, two years ago I ran NYCM as my first marathon and it derailed on the Queensboro Bridge. My only focus after that was the finish line. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t remember anything. So when I finally did finish, stressing on the word finish, and got my medal, I promised myself I’d be back. And so on Sunday, I was back.
The race started out well. I stopped on the Verrazano Bridge for a photo and then realized I had just added on 2 min to my finishing time, but I didn’t care. I was going to enjoy the course, take in the sights and see what NYC was all about. Knowing that the PPTC cheer crew was at mile 7 and my #wolfpack was at mile 8 gave me good vibes all through Brooklyn. I actually noticed the diversity of people as we moved up the avenue. Hearing “Go Prospect Park!” by random strangers, scattered PPTCers shouting my name and so many little kids high fiving was so energizing. But it was humid and my breathing started to get labored. Somewhere over the Pulaski Bridge, I missed my halfway goal time and knew that any other sensible goals I had for the race were the out the window. Adding to the humidity that was already plaguing me, I realized I was blinder with my glasses than without and decided to just stick them in my armband. My apologies to anyone I didn’t respond to past the bridge. Chances are I probably didn’t see you 🙁
After deciding to ditch my goals, I took a page out of Bart Yasso’s book and just ran happily. I took in the sights and the people. I took it slow on the Queensboro Bridge, mentally prepared myself for the crowds at the turn and just had fun. I enjoyed the music, the cheering, and the insane crowds along First Ave, 5th Ave, and Central Park. I boogied in the Bronx, silently cheered YMCA and thanked Gd when my mile 17, 19, and 23 peeps were still there when I reached them. I didn’t really stop for anyone, but noticed many of you, in the rain, cheering. Some of you saw me at my lowest points, hurting and walking; some of you saw me determined and chasing something, not sure what. Somewhere on the Willis Ave Bridge and then again in Manhattan around mile 21, I felt like I wouldn’t finish and wondered why I was doing this again. So I walked, let my breathing regulate, looked around and let everything and everyone remind me why I signed up for this. I thought I picked up the pace again, but those last few miles turned out to be my slowest. Somehow I found some mojo on 59th street, pushed myself up the final hill and finished while it was still light.
In 2015, I sat in a medical tent at mile 20 and painfully and slowly walked the last 10k. I finished with an official time of 6:24:59. In 2017, I enjoyed the course and the people. I realized what a beautiful and diverse city we live in. I appreciated the immense support and camaraderie that exists in NYC. I valued how our city came together to encourage 51,000 stupid people who thought running 26.2 miles is fun. I finished crying because I didn’t stop for medical support and I succeeded in achieving what I set out to do 2 years ago. I finished with an official time of 5:19:41. It wasn’t my best time but it definitely was a good time.
You’d think that meeting Meb and Bart was enough, but my star-studded and fun-filled weekend actually ended when I went to get my medal engraved. As you walked into Jackrabbit there was a sign that said Shalane Flanagan and Geoffrey Kamworor were going to stop by for an hour. I had already taken the day off, so I hung around a little longer than expected. Ibumped into some PPTC marathoners, heard both NYC marathon winners speak, got my medal ribbon autographed by both winners and took a picture with them. So let’s just say NYCM Class of 2017, you rocked!
On an overcast and humid day on November 5th, after an early morning wake-up to go to Staten Island by ferry or bus (or Uber and ferry), over 50,000 athletes cruised over the Verrazano Bridge to start the NYC Marathon.
Here is PPTC by the numbers:
170 total PPTC members in NYC Marathon
16 PPTC members BQ’d
16 PPTC members completed their FIRST marathon.
Of those, 4 PPTCers BQ’d in their first marathon (Do we call this a running hat trick – PR, BQ, & first marathon?).
Top 3 Men in PPTC
Shan Haq (2:52:47)
Ben Collier (2:57:20)
Sean Quealy (2:58:05)
Top 3 Women in PPTC
Jana Trenk (3:07:50)
Katie Poor (3:10:47)
Mary Johnston (3:15:40)
Congratulations to our Michael Ring for completing his 30th marathon with his son, Nicholas!!!!!!!! It was over 3 years ago when he became paralyzed by Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). After years of excellent medical treatment, hard work, and some setbacks, Mike realized his dream of once again crossing the finish line in Central Park.
Marcia Brown 3:44:28
4th in her age group (60-65)
0:02:23 PR and BQ
I raised $3,000 for my friend Mateo’s prosthetic leg
Julie Raskin 5:25
First marathon PR
PPTC IS AMAZING! I am so grateful for the support of the club- from the training to the magical tree all the way to the finish line. And walking into PS 87 to the cheers (and the beer) was moving beyond words!
50-min PR & BQ
Raised money for $4876 for Legal Services
Crystal was too modest to say, but she was the fastest fundraiser that Legal Services has ever had.
Jimmy Leung 4:04:30
PR & completed 3 of the 6 World Major Marathons
Jennie Matz 4:02:25
Noah Devereaux 3:02:18
PR, BQ, & first marathon!
First marathon PR
Katie Daddaria 4:32:05 5-min PR on her birthday
I’ve been dealing with/recovering from PF most of the year. I cannot fathom how I did so well. Also, it was my birthday! Really amazing day. 🙂
Jana Trenk 3:07:50
PR & BQ
Not only the fastest PPTC woman, but 4th fastest overall in PPTC, & 125th American female finisher in the race
I found NYCM so amazing that I want to do it again.
PR, BQ, & first marathon!
Thanks to the Tuesday morning MTG and the Last 10 Mile Run for getting me as ready as I could be.
Mary Johnston 3:15:40
6+ min PR & 2nd BQ
14th in her age group (20-25)
First marathon PR
Huge thank you to Tony and Charlene- their class was great for helping with my speed work and for meeting other wonderful PPTCers!
29-min PR & BQ
I ran my last marathon 11 years ago.
PR, BQ, & first marathon!
First marathon PR
Michael Ring 9:52 Completed his 30th marathon
First marathon PR
Even though I hit the wall, if it wasn’t for Matteo and Melissa pushing me along, I might not have finished.
PR, BQ, & first marathon!
Shoutout to Isaac Josephson for being my running ambassador, and Kristen Uhrich who I feel is my running soulmate.
First marathon PR
Melissa Lee 5:04:43
First marathon PR
Thanks for the support from PPTC and teammates
First marathon PR
Lisa Maya Knaur
Almost 14-min PR
3-min PR & 7-min course PR
I beat Ethan Hawke’s time.
First marathon PR
First marathon after 2 years of injury
Seeing PPTC all over the city, whether as spectators or fellow runners, made my first marathon even more special. Special shoutout to Coaches Missy, Adam, and Michael for organizing MTG – that preparation was key to fighting through the last few miles!
Acknowledgments of the volunteers and sponsors Thank you to PPTC for funding the Fall Picnic, to Peter Forgach of Saucony for providing blankets to PPTCers on marathon morning (he drove from Manhattan at 3 am to deliver them!), and to Jackrabbit for letting us use their store.
Fall Picnic Organizers Crystal Cun Adam Iannazzone Lillian Park
Last 10 Miles Volunteers Sherry Wang Murray Rosenblith Roshan Leslie Adam Devine Melissa Morrison
NYC Marathon Volunteers Janet Gottlieb Anh-Tuan Tran Murray Rosenblith Emma Walker Geoffry Gertz David Coleman Isaac Murchie Fanny Greene Amy Sowder Jane Yau Roshan Leslie James Israel all photos on this page were taken by Marek Stepniowski and of course, to all PPTC members who stood on the sidelines to cheer and cowbell.
Comments and thoughts from our participants
I participated in the Last 10 miles and found it so helpful! Thanks PPTC for all your support and amazing members that inspire us! ~ Isabel
I also ran the last 10M – it was so helpful knowing what was to come in the later parts of yesterday’s race. PPTC pacers and volunteers were awesome! ~Kirsty
I thought the Last 10 Mile Run was really helpful. At least during my last 800 meters, I knew where the finish line was going to be and that helped a ton because I knew when I could pick up the speed at the end. ~Aung
Last 10 miles was so useful. 5th ave and CP hills sucked, but I knew they were coming and so I found a final push to get over them! I’ve been amazed how open, friendly, and encouraging the club has been to all newcomers, knowing that I’m sure most of us will disappear into the ether post marathon. I’m very much going to try not to be one of those people. ~Mike
For the “last 10” I led a pace group (the last one, which collapsed 13:00 and 14:00). I’d originally volunteered for 13:00 but no one volunteered to lead 14:00 so I tried to incorporate anyone who was slower than 12:00, basically. I’d never paced before, and I think I led us a little too fast (our average pace was 12:38 according to my Garmin). So maybe some tips on how to be a successful pace leader would be helpful. Our group did spread out a bit in the last three miles and the person who’d fallen the farthest behind took a wrong turn in the park, but everyone did finish. What I’d have done differently would have been to give out my phone number to everyone in the group in case anyone fell way behind or decided to drop out so that I would know. ~Lisa
I also participated in last 10 mile and the picnic and have to say that both events were awesome. The last 10 was a great way for me to know what to expect in the Marathon. ~Stuart
I participated in the last 10 miles also. It really helped me learn what to expect, especially the elevation changes. I believe it was part of the reason I didn’t hit the wall. ~Carlos
It’s been a bit less than a year since I joined PPTC, and this was the first event I’d organized for the club. In many ways, I still feel like a green member, but it was nice to see so many familiar faces and reflect on all the new runships I’ve formed over the last year.
re: last 10 miles
He doesn’t know it, but my marathon training strategy has basically been: 1) Show up every Sat at 8 am. 2) Follow Oren for 20 miles, or until I can’t keep up. 3) Repeat.
At the last ten miles, Oren steered our 8:30 pace group like a metronome, nailing every turn in the Bronx and telling us where to conserve energy. He wins my vote for Marathon Sherpa of the Year.
…Also, we can’t forget the poncho. When Murray held up a brightly colored wrap and said, “Who wants a serape?” my hand immediately shot up. Now that marathon training is done, my biggest dilemma is whether to use the poncho as throwaway clothing or keep it. #ponchostruggleisreal ~Crystal
I love my “job” with the Prospect Park Track Club. The club has a program where members are encouraged to run with local races. The program, Run Brooklyn, dictates that participants must run a minimum of six Brooklyn races that are professionally-timed in exchange for a chance to win money prizes at PPTC’s annual award dinner. “Brooklyn races” means the run course must start and end in Brooklyn, such that events like the Tunnel To Tower, which starts on the Brooklyn side of the Battery Park Tunnel but ends in the old World Trade Center site, do not count. The “professionally-timed” condition eliminates fun runs like the Color Run series, where participants’ times aren’t recorded.
Years ago, many eligible races for the Run Brooklyn program were missed because the club was reliant upon members suggesting Brooklyn races for the program. As a result, only a handful of Brooklyn races were ever listed fo the Run Brooklyn Program. Some years ago, I volunteered to maintain a comprehensive spreadsheet containing the race names, dates, URL for registration purposes, and additional information, such as whether the race coincides with a popular event. Now I also maintain a calendar that is embedded into the club’s website. Although the information from the spreadsheet and calendar largely overlap, the advantage of the calendar is that the information of competing events, such as NYRR races, are presented visually so it is easier for our members to make an informed decision on which race to register for.
I made such an informed decision last week when I forwent the NYRR Staten Island Half and ran in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration 10K instead. Staten Island used to be a mysterious place that I drive through along I-278 from the Verrazano Bridge to the Goethal Bridge, or some other bridge, but after spending a large amount time working there, along with running in a few races there as well, the novelty is not there anymore for me. I like to run in different locations and this year the Bed-Stuy 10K fit the bill.
The Bed-Stuy 10K had its staging area in Restoration Plaza, which is near the corner of Fulton Street and New York Avenue. All under one big white tent on the Plaza were a stage, DJ stand, registration table, refreshment tables, and some vendor tables. Refreshment included coffee, bananas, half-cut bagels, small apples, and orange juices, which I believe was all donated from the nearby Super Foodtown supermarket. In a nearby building, runners were treated to indoor plumbing for their sanitary needs, as well as a bag check area. Maybe I was not too aware of my surrounding but I found out about the bag check purely by accident. I think there should be more signs to point out the restroom and bag-check service.
The first event this year was the Kiddie Run. Some five little kids, two as young as four years of age, ran a few yards to the Finish Line on Herkimer Street behind the Restoration Plaza. Next we had a workout session led by an instructor on the floor of the big tent and three leaders on the stage. It was a good workout, plenty enough to loosen muscles for the upcoming race.
There was no music along the race course but if there were, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds should be played. I was afraid that I would run the wrong way because there were so many turns. At the start, I asked a few runners near me if they were familiar with the course but they either were running the untimed 5K or did not know the course. Luckily the corners were well-staffed, either by event personnel or by NYPD. A safety cone with the proper directional arrow also helped in case you missed the instruction from the staff. Something else I could use along the course was more water. There was a station at Mile 2 and again at Mile 4, but by the time slowpoke me got to Mile 4 there were no more cups. I think there was some water left in the water cooler, yes, the sort used in your typical cubicle office, but I didn’t want to stop completely to drink from the faucet. Luckily, it was rainy for most of the race and I cooled down enough to not need water that much. I don’t know the history of the race course so it might be that way all these years, with the many turns, so maybe not much can be done about it. During the last two miles, I so looked forward to seeing the finish arch from a distance to get me going stronger. It never came as the arch was just down the road after the final turn.
Bed-Stuy 10K, now in its 36th year, was well-organized despite the water mishap.
In contrast to the Bed-Stuy 10K, a few weeks back I ran an inaugural race, Imagine Academy for Autism 5K in Marine Park, that had some growing pains. The race course was 3.5 times around the outer loop of the park. I was highly familiar with the outer loop because I ran many times already with NYRR Open Run.
The race was supposed to start at 10 AM, but there was a speech or two and the race didn’t really begin until 10:30. It was a hot day so the extra half-hour made a little difference. Although the course was just a few loops of the park, there was no water station anywhere. After I did my 3.5 loops, the finish line was totally blocked by finishers. People were just milling about in front of the finish mat, chatting, taking photos, and snacking. Perhaps because it was the first time for these people to participate in a race but the situation could be helped by having the refreshment table a few yards AFTER the finish line, not mere feet in front of it. Lastly, there was no trash container anywhere to collect all the wrappers, fruit peels, and other garbage. Responsible runners had to go a few yards away to squeeze the trash into already-packed receptacles. Hopefully next year these issues won’t be present and runners can have a more pleasant racing experience at this new Brooklyn race.
Uncomfortable warm temperature and sticky humidity greeted runners on a decidedly un-fall-like day last Sunday. Was it already autumn? Who could tell? No matter, amost 15,000 runners were ready to storm the Grand Concourse, designed by an Alsatian immigrant named Louis Aloys Risse who became chief topographical engineer for the New York City government, in the Bronx.
Challenging conditions did not scare away PPTC members; 127 runners showed up, which made us the fourth largest team at the Bronx 10-Miler.
Congratulations to Dean Gebhardt (1:03:55), Matt Siefker (1:03:55), and Noah Devereaux (1:05:57) for being the three fastest PPTC men. Noah would like us to know that he “wasn’t really racing” the Bronx 10-Miler. He paced Captain Adam for the first 6 miles and practiced grabbing drinks from the aid station tables. For the last six miles, he felt out the paces for the upcoming Staten Island Half. In doing so, he ran an (unofficial) 5K PR and a 10K PR. If running under 66 minutes for a 10-mile race is “not really racing” for Noah, then we can’t wait to see what you can do when you are really racing. Hey team, any predictions for Noah on what he can do for the Staten Island Half?
Congratulations to Junko Matsuura (1:12:39), Leiba Rimler (1:12:41), and Holly Chase (1:14:00) for being the three fastest PPTC women.
It should also be noted that Dean’s, Junko’s, and TyroneSklaren‘s (1:30:43) performances garnered them a top-10 finish in their age groups.
Kudos to everyone on this illustrious PR list! Maybe the weather was warm because you guys were HOT!!!
Leiba Rimler (1:12:41) – perfect 1 min PR Kelly Greene (1:21:44) – almost a 9-min PR Jonathan Giles (1:11:38) – first 10-mile race Clifford Tsao (1:19:28) – knocked 5:41 from his time last year Issac Josephson (1:22:20) – 3:18 PR Lisa Maya Knauer – 1:14 PR Adam Iannazzone (1:06:36) Rob Dekker (1:13:26) Aung Barteaux (1:16:35) – first race running for PPTC Sam Smullen (1:26:03) Carlos Vazquez (1:11:59) – a minute+ faster than his 15K PR. Michael Abrahams (1:06:44) Jackie James (1:35:36)
All photos in this post are credited to Jose Baizan.
Where: Greenpoint Playground to Pig Beach in Brooklyn, NY
When: Sept 7, 2017
Once a year, runners gather together at Greenpoint Playground. It’s a stealth conclave of various running clubs and some stragglers in search of the fastest route to the finish line – this year at Pig Beach. A map of the recommended route is posted on South Brooklyn Running Club’s website, but experienced runners know a better, shorter route exists. Ask for details on how they’ll get to Pig Beach, and all you’ll get is a laugh and vague, “I just hope I don’t get lost.” These are closely guarded secrets, until Strava reveals them all in exchange for kudos.
At night, rules are flipped on their heads. Runners ruled the street. In the cool crisp air, we ran fearlessly in the night. Passers-by looked on in bewilderment as a steady stream of bibbed runners flowed past. All bibbed, except for one barking Bandit whose thin lithe legs were hampered by her tethered partner’s heavier slower legs.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but the streets of Brooklyn don’t cooperate by offering a neat perpendicular grid. You’re on your own to devise the fastest route. Several of us assiduously searched on Google maps for the shortest route. A cut through a park here, a diagonal line to run the tangent there, small slivers of distance shaved off in order to save precious minutes off the gun time. Other runners dispatched with the idea of studying altogether, and instead relied on following more knowledgeable runners. That was a fine strategy until the leaders turned out to be faster and the followers fell too far behind to follow.
Others cursed at the obstacles thrown their way – red lights, trucks, oncoming cars, and hecklers. Some runners wander lost, despite studying hours earlier, for having missed a turn (or two) on a dimly lit street. A few surge confidently ahead, secure in their knowledge of the way having completed a reconnaissance mission in the light of day.
No matter the route, whether running as a solitary endeavor or in a pack, like wolves, eventually all runners find their way to Pig Beach. Like a swarm of bees, we rush through the doors to find the finish line, cheers, hugs, and beer. We know we’ll do this again next year.
On a cool crisp day, after a long muggy summer of training, 68 PPTC members were ready to take on the trial of a mile known as the 5th Ave Mile. This course is widely known as an excellent course to set a PR because of its net decline, however, anyone who has run down 5th Ave from 80th St. to 60th St. knows that there’s a slight incline in the second quarter of the race. Such a small incline is usually not a big deal, but in a short distance race like a miler, every second counts.
Christine Weiher was the fastest PPTC woman (5:39). Junko Matsuura came closely behind in 2nd for PPTC (5:41). Alison Restak was not far behind in 3rd for PPTC (5:44).
Congratulations to Etan Levavi for being the fastest PPTC member for the 5th Ave Mile (4:49). He represented Brooklyn in the 5 Boroughs Heat. Matt Siefker was 2nd for PPTC (5:01). Noah Devereaux was right there for 3rd (5:03).
Let’s congratulate all these PPTC members who set new PRs for themselves.
Yulia Yomantayte (6:55) – Her first sub-7 min mile Chaya Wolf (8:46) – She knocked off 22 seconds off her last PR set just three weeks ago. Erica Niemiec (7:13) – Her first mile race Kristin Stocks (7:23) Adam Devine (5:42) – 14 sec PR Andrew Leonard (6:05) Adam Iannazzone (5:17) Sam Smullen (6:36) Kirsty Carroll (6:46) – Her first mile race and first race repping PPTC! Isabel Santiago-Gordon (7:44) – Also her first mile race and first race repping PPTC! Jonathan Giles (5:45) – His first mile race Alison Restak (6:07) – 21 sec PR
Big thanks to everyone who cheered for PPTC, especially those members who didn’t run the 5th Ave Mile.
Lillian: Hey, do you want to drive me to Watertown? It’s six hours north of here.
Lillian: There’s an 18-mile race up there.
Jimmy looks at Google maps.
Jimmy: It’s close to the border. Can we go to Canada? I need to buy Haagen Dazs.
Lillian: Sure! I’ll buy orange Fanta.
The best thing about PPTC is that no matter how crazy your idea is, you can always find a friend who’ll join you in your outrageous endeavors.
Yes, we really did cross the border to buy Haagen Dazs and Fanta. No, we can’t get these in the US. Haagen Dazs has five different flavors of alcohol-infused ice cream (Rum Vanilla Caramel Blondie, Whiskey Chocolate Truffle, Irish Cream Coffee & Biscotti, Vodka Key Lime Pie, and Rum Ginger Cookie) that is exclusively available only in Canada. As for orange Fanta, the formula for orange Fanta varies from country to country. I love the Canadian and European versions and hate the US one.
And yes, that pretty much was our real life conversation when discussing this race.
We took off for Sackets Harbor at the leisurely time of 5:30 in the morning on Saturday. Jimmy wanted to leave even earlier, but I begged for mercy and asked for another half hour of sleep. After stopping for coffee at Wawa, gas, Krispy Kreme, and visiting a friend, past noon we made it to the race expo at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield, which was the site of two major battles (first battle & second battle) in the War of 1812. This is the war where the British troops famously burned down the White House (and something that Canadians like to take credit for as I learned when I lived in Toronto).
The theme of the War of 1812 is quite predominant throughout the race. The official route is 18.12 miles long (actually it’s shorter because I – and everyone else – always measures this course short, around 17.9 miles). They give out $1812 worth of prize money. The finishers medal and race shirt feature a patriot. I love well-thought out themed races.
The next day we parked at Sackets Harbor Battlefield, where the finish line would be, to catch a shuttle to the start line in Watertown. The weather was just about perfect – a shade over 50 degrees. Only a cloud cover would have made it better. Even without the cloud cover, the sun was not a problem. Because the race starts early at 7 am, there was plenty of shade from the trees, and when there wasn’t any shade, we were running with the sun to our backs.
Jimmy and I briefly discussed our race plans. Right before the horn went off, we mutually agreed that if we happened to run with each other that was great, but we were not to wait for the other person. All throughout the drive to Sackets Harbor from Brooklyn and earlier that morning, Jimmy swore he would start out between 9:00 and 9:30 pace. Instead, he took off charging like there was a battle in front of him that he had to storm. I didn’t even get a chance to run with him for a quarter mile. For better or worse, I was going to run my own race and I watched him fade into the distance.
I eventually caught up to Jimmy at Mile 6.5. We briefly ran together and then I decided to go ahead because I was feeling good. At the end of the race, Jimmy told me that he followed me for the next several miles.
The 18.12 course was not exactly as I had remembered. All week I told Jimmy that it was a downhill down with one, maybe two hills in the beginning and another small one at the end.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
It is a net downhill course, but you’ll never realize it because of all the rolling hills. I counted the hills and in the end I lost track. There are a lot of hills, albeit small ones with gentle inclines, on the course. The net decline does help you and it shows up in your paces because you notice that you run faster with less effort.
Compared to last year, there was less entertainment out on the course. There weren’t any musicians, but I did see a little girl doing some Irish step dancing. The bulk of the entertainment came between Miles 8 and 13. Right before we entered Sacket Harbor, a huge group of cheerleaders cheered for us. A police officer welcomed us with the booming words, “Welcome to Sackets Harbor!” Sweeter words were never spoken. There was a pirate-themed water station with swashbuckling pirates handing out water, Gatorade, an ice cold wet towel, and sweet, sweet popsicles.
The hardest part of the race is the turn-off for the runners doing the 18.12 Challenge because you know the half marathoners have only another two miles to the finish line, but you have another five miles. At this point, I’m tired and think, “This is cruel.”
I was running really well and following the race plan that I set out for myself – to run the first five miles conservatively and then progressively speed up every five miles. A quick glance at my new-to-me Garmin (thanks, Jennie!) showed me that I was well on my way to smashing the previous year’s time. I decided to race out the final three miles and picked off runners left and right. This was really fun for me because I often fade at the end of races. I’ve been working really hard at having a strong end game, and it was nice to see progress being made.
One last turn and it’s the straightaway to the finish line. I’m thrilled to find out that I finished in 2:31:12, which is well over a six-minute PR for me. Jimmy crosses the finish line a couple minutes after me in 2:33:24, which earned him 2nd place in his age group. We both had great races.
The post-race party was wonderful. There was a ton of food (apples, oranges, bananas, sandwiches, pizza, yogurt, cookies, and more) and we were encouraged to take seconds and thirds. Fun music played over speakers. People took their time to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery overlooking Lake Ontario after the race. I chatted with other runners while waiting for the awards ceremony.
I highly recommend the 18.12 Challenge to any PPTC member, especially if you’re doing marathon training. The race is well-organized, fun, and well worth having Jimmy drive you six hours to North Country. You might have to go to Canada though.
P.S. After the race, we went to sightseeing at Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands because we felt that we didn’t do enough that day. The castle and boat tour were super cool and receive two thumbs up from us.