Why five PPTCers love the club

Why do you love PPTC? Here are the experiences of five of our members, written for our annual composition contest.

Tom Byrnes


P — PERSISTENCE, Sticking our sport, from the 70's to the present, PPTC started but has yet to finish. Sun, rain, snow, wind, heat, PPTC is there, indoors and out, streets, sidewalks, uphills and down, cities and suburbs, on grass, tracks, dirt, and concrete, PPTC 's red and white leads the way for all others to follow.

P — PASSION, Heart rates rise as monitors measure, never to capture the flow of our love for the sport that sustains us, PPTC takes us there, long or short, then or now, carrying us forward through thick or thin to what we have become and to whom we are yet to be.

T. — THOUGHTFUL, Running routes ,shoe types, brands and models, injury treatments and prevention, shakes, bakes and stretches that work, doctors in all specialities, PPTC shares and cares.

C. — CLUB, With relationships that seem more familial than "clubby", ties that bind, PPTC's young and not so young, male and female, over the course of years, lead us all toward a mythical finish line that PPTC will never cross.

Mark Guralnick

“Love is lovelier the second time around” go the song lyrics. I have been a member for 25 years, but I am enjoying Club membership more than ever. These days, I rarely race and my interest in running has gone downhill as well.

Then last November, I showed up for a Group Run on the Prospect Park trails. I had a great time and have shown up for the Group Runs on Saturday or Sunday almost every weekend since. Running outside the Park was so refreshing compared to my years of running loops on the roadway. However, it wasn’t just running in new locations that gave me new energy, but all the new friends I have made.

In the past, I never had the opportunity to get to know members beyond their race times. That has changed with participating in Group Runs. I have had a great time conversing with members who have lived in Poland, France, Australia, Scotland and Israel.

So the “second time around” for me with PPTC has rejuvenated my interest in running and introduced me to a bunch of enthusiastic runners who give me a new reason to look forward to the weekend.

Ruth Gursky

I first heard of PPTC several years ago during my many long training runs with Anne Perzetzky. I was impressed to learn that she served as Club President and still was Race Captain for the Turkey Trot. Truth-be-told, hearing about her “club adventures” kinda intrigued me…well, when you’re running 20+ miles in the heat of the summer, just about anything sounds interesting…haha!

Finally, one year, I worked up the nerve to ask if I – a non-PPTC’er – was allowed to run in the PPTC races she so vividly described…at that time, I had never run a race in NYC that wasn’t sponsored by NYRR and held in Central Park!

The Turkey Trot was my first introduction to PPTC – and I liked what I saw: a well-organized race that featured unique swag (not “just” another ugly t-shirt) AND more important (to me): a finisher’s medal! (I LOVE bling!)

A few months later, as Anne’s guest, I ran Harry’s Handicap, a members-only race. It was kinda thrilling to kick-off the new year by running a loop of Prospect Park; and I especially enjoyed the post-race festivities at the American Legion Hall, noshing on home-made yummy treats and mingling with new friends.

As I recall, I came in about 46th out of 48 or so runners. When they announced the awards, I was ready to head home, but decided to stick around and hear who won. After announcing the first 10 runners, I turned around to leave; but before I got to the door, I heard them announce the next 10, so I stayed a little longer. Then, as I turned to leave again, I heard the next 10 being announced…it then struck me that EVERYONE was going to be winning a medal, so I stick around and proudly picked up my 48th place award.

And that’s when it hit me: I need to be a member of a running club that fosters and supports runners of all abilities! I picked up my medal and proudly announced, right then and there, that I was joining PPTC!

The following year, I ran the Turkey Trot, Cherry Tree Relay and of course, Harry’s as a proud PPTC member. This time, I came in SECOND PLACE in Harry’s – and announced my plan to renew my membership…and I’ve never looked back!

Thank you, PPTC, for being there to support back-of-the-packers like moi!

Michael Koplin

After a defining moment in my life in 2009 I understood that I needed to lose weight and become active. My running journey began in 2010 and I joined PPTC in 2011.

At first I felt uncomfortable and confused as to the purpose of a running club. I feared that I would not assimilate into a club of young runners. I was uncertain about cliques or groups that might exist and that I would be an outsider and loner.

I began to understand the dynamics of the club. There are many runners in all age and speed groups. I've been accepted and welcomed by others who are unselfish and caring people. I've never felt uncertain about my inclusion in PPTC. I'm a runner enjoying the company of other runners.

I've learned to be at ease and understand that running is only a part of membership. The friendship and support I receive is worth more than any running experience. Each time I wear the PPTC colors and others yell "Go PPTC" or "Go Brooklyn" I feel special. I feel part of a group, a family, and a community.

Chaya Wolf

Go for a run, get injured, rest, recover, and repeat. This is how it’s been since I started running, for me at least. And through all of this PPTC has been there.

When my family gets tired of hearing, or feigns interest in listening about training schedules, ice on the ground, missed runs and treadmill runs, sore muscles, achy legs, broken bones, fueling techniques, PT, races and more PPTC has been there. PPTC has been there supporting, motivating, encouraging and inspiring me to rest and recover, push harder and go farther.

It has been a slow process getting to know people in the club, but some of the friendships I have made give me the reassurance to hold on when I want to give up. I love PPTC because it’s a community where running in zero degrees and eating donuts on a run is fun! It’s a place where everyone is equal and no one is left out.

PPTC is a group of crazies who are passionate and love the same thing! It’s a group of people who value fitness and health. But most importantly, PPTC is my running family, and for that I am forever grateful.

Keith Williams