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.