Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Interview with Irva: Niles by Paul Soskind

Interview with Irva: Niles

P.S:.You've been PPTC member for about three years: were we your intro to running?

Irva: Actually, I've been running since high school in Grenada, but began to compete again when I joined PPTC. I joined after watching my cousin Veronica Antoine participates in a Summer Speed race.

P.S:. So what kind of running did you do in high school?

Irva: I ran the 200 mostly: after that I didn't do sprinting' I ran for fitness.

P.S:. What have you accomplished by joining PPTC?

Irva: I have gone much further than I could have imagined; from 5k to 5 miles; from that to half marathons and finally the NYC Marathon last fall.

P.S:. Has being a PPTCer had something to do with this?

Irva: From the day I joined, I've found people to train with, gotten encouragement and advice, help and support.

P.S:. How do feel our club could improve?

Irva: One thing would be to expand the scope of the coached sessions so that the slower runners could avail themselves of the workouts, attention and evaluation of a coach who would help them with their form and training so they could bring their running up to the next level.

P.S:. We appreciate and value your experiences and insights; many thanks.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Unforgettable Long-Distance Performances…by Jim Israel

Unforgettable Long-Distance Performances…by Jim Israel

My website: http://www.mistergripes.com

For this writer, my favorite events in track-and-field are the long-distance racing. The sprints are invariably flashes of thighs, legs, and arms crossing a tape, over in the snap-of-a-finger, and a bore. It’s all physiognomy – the best short muscle fibers win; learned skills are not a factor. Shot Putt? Discus? Drug-addled behemoths spin ‘round-and-‘round, eventually throwing some piece of metal way out past Saturn’s moons – big deal.

Yep, the long-distance competitions [800-, 1,500-, 5,000-, 10,000-meters and marathons] are what I crave during every Olympic extravaganza. Why? Multiple reasons: the length of the races tends to build drama; long-distance runners often possess outsized, interesting personalities; fatigue becomes an overwhelming factor, and stellar qualities such as fortitude and perseverance emerge, and, finally, the races are not precious, ‘don’t touch,’ wimpy contests. Swinging elbows, shoving competitors, kicking: they’re all part of the contest. This writer, who played rugby for 25 years, loves the rough stuff.

In upcoming columns, I’ll be recalling historic long-distance competitions and delve into some of the complicated, interesting personalities of long-distance racing.

I’ll start with the race that, for me, a boy of 17, was the most exciting track event he has ever witnessed:

Billy Mills Olympic 1964 10,000m Finals from Athletes for a Cure on Vimeo.

Coming into the final lap, the race had come down to three competitors: 1. Australian Ron Clarke, the #1 distance runner in the world at the time, 2. Mohammed Gammoudi, Tunisia, and 3. Billy Mills, 26, U.S. Marine, Sioux Indian, and, prior to the race, not considered a potential medal winner in the competition.

We’ll pick it up on that last lap, with approximately 400 meters to go:

‘It’s Clarke, Gammoudi and the American Billy Mills neck-and-neck coming down the back stretch. They’re stride-for-stride, all three running next to each other. Clarke becomes boxed in by the other two, and pushes in between Mills and Clarke, throwing Mills off stride, falling off to the side.

‘On the last turn, the three are close together again. Now, it’s Gammoudi’s turn to push his way through the other two, and he takes the lead as they round the final turn. Mills is simply too far back in the pack now. The three are lapping other runners, leading to more confusion.

‘But wait a minute! From the middle of a second pack, with 30 yards to go, Mills surges forward with a great finishing kick, sprints past both Clarke and Gammoudi, and crosses the finish line 5 yards in front. The unheralded Billy Mills, from a Pine Ridge, South Dakota Indian reservation, has beaten the great Ron Clarke, and takes home the gold medal in the 10,000 meter race.’

No American has won the 10,000 meters event before or since.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


JUNE 2010



Thanks to Geoff Vincent for the shoutout about PPTC runners at May 8th and 9th’s North Face Endurance Challenge up in Bear Mountain. Check the race results section for all the details, who went, who ran what, and their times! On the roads, on the trails – Go PPTC!

So did you see any of the filming for the soon to become an academy award winning movie about the Smurfs shot on location in and around the center transverse May 12fth. Hard to miss it if you run through there, there seemed to be smurfs and smurfettes everywhere and anywhere.

Thanks to Doug Olney for the news that Louie Rios reported that he ran 474 miles in the Sri Chinmoy 10 Day Race that was held from April 19-29 in Flushing Meadow, Queens, Interesting event this is, as Louie himself will attest to. Like the tee shirt says, “ sleep, eat and run” for ten days. Way to go Louie!

Thanks to Coco for the news on page 5 of "This Running Town", inside the New York Runner
magazine, on Doug Olney. As she reports, “Seeing his name and everything, I almost spit out my coffee!”

Doug Olney actually celebrated turning 51 Wednesday May 19th by running the Brooklyn Half on Saturday and then biking a metric century the very next day, Sunday. His Brooklyn Half time (1:50:25) was off because he says he didn't run much in April and early May due to IT, knee and hamstring problems. He says he decided to run, all injuries considered, because he wanted to wear the shirt, and finish intact - that was the important thing for Doug..

The next day, Sunday, he biked the Bloomin' Metric 100 km, (actually 64 miles) , in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It took him about 4 1/2 hours including the rest stops, which Doug says for him is pretty good because the 30 miles in the middle section of the ride had a lot of rolling hills. “Whatta way to celebrate” and not even entering a new age category! Happy birthday Doug! I couldn’t tell if Bobby Fisher had brought the birthday cake and was trying to catch up to Doug but he was there too and rode the full distance. Bobby had kicked off the month with a 65 mile metric century ride at the Five Boro Bike Club’s Montauk Century ride .

A BIG congratulations from Coach Tony to ALL our PPTC'ers who ran the Brooklyn Half with a very special congrats to our Woman's Team for placing third, Congrats to PPTC men as well who also did exceptionally well! Congrats to Matthew Frey who was again the top PPTC finisher.PPTC had 10 runners finish among the top 10 in their age groups, including a first place finish by PPTC’s 76 year old Rosa Nales. Frank DeLeo just missed being in the top 10 grouping --he got an 11th—but still a great run! And THANK YOU to all of the PPTC members who lined the course and cheered PPTC on. It’s always awesome to hear "Go PPTC" while running through our lovely park and the streets of Brooklyn.

Ok, Ok, so who’re the PPTC members who became grandfolk early Sunday morning May 23rd.Better to have them tell the world themselves. Mazel Tov!

The Prospect Park Track Club is glad to announce the umpteenth annual Al Goldstein Summer Speed 5k Series. This series of 5 races goes off every other Wednesday. If you missed the kickoff on May 26th then try your best to catch it June 23rd’ , July 7th and 21, and August 4th and 18.The number of athletes on May 26th was a great sign of the times to come with 67 runners turning out, even on the hottest evening in a while. Special thanks to Clair Doherty who somehow managed to bring a bevy of the lovely ladies teaching at PS 295 in Park Slope, Mike Ring mentions having had some great help so our thanks to Tom, Anne, Ami, Kate, Juan, Veronica, our MC Al Goldstein,

Yoshie, and Kate.Each race starts and finishes near the Oriental Pavilion in Prospect Park at 7pm. You can enter the park at Lincoln Rd. near the Prospect Park stop on the B/Q and the Franklyn Ave Shuttle. You can also park in the ice skating rink parking lot or perhaps if its more more convenient outside the park in that area. Take your bike and lock it to the iron fence which surrounds the pavillion with supervised bag check as well. The 5K course is a little less than one full loop of the park (the entire loop is 3.35 ) and is marked every ¼ mile. The race fee is $5 and there is no preregistration. Students in high school and younger run 2 for the price of 1. There are no "t-shirts" or other race giveaways but PPTC does go at least 3 deep in all the standard age and gender categories so the chances are good for going home with some hardware. PPTC would like to thank JackRabbit Sports, 7th Avenue between Garfield Place and Carroll Street, for their continued support.

Mucho thanks to Geoff Vincent who’s been busy with the PPTC Race Calendar beefing up the triathlon, duathlon, and multi sport event listings ,even including some "splash and dash" with no bikes allowed listings.

Let’s hope that Jack Stetch former PPTC president from back in the day heals well from his knee injuries. Jack mentions that his next marathon will be the 150th he’s run!!!!!

Sorry to learn that Gary Wang showed up to the Fort Hamilton Army Base at 6PM May 25th for the 5K race and was turned away by the uniformed guard because he had no picture ID and so wouldn’t be allowed on the US ARMY BASE . If you’re thinking about one of these every other Tuesday nite 5k’s, make sure you check out what you need to get allowed in to the base to do the race. Gary made the best of a bad situation and got back to Coach Tony’s workout in the park and then the following night came in third overall in the first 5k of the Summer Speed Series. A man on the move!

PPTC’s volunteer extraordinaire Juan Rivera mentioned his ups and downs at the Big Sur Marathon and how God willing, he was planning to run two marathons in the same month in Europe this fall. Four a year on his agenda, go get ‘em Juan!