Saturday, December 11, 2010

Interview Valerie Costa "My Solitude" by Paul Soskind

Interview Valerie Costa "My Solitude"

P.S: How did you become a runner?

Valerie: I was always athletic, but I loved running because it could be done alone. I gravitated towards it because by doing it alone I could clear my head, in solitude.

P.S. So why did you join a running club?

Valerie: My running was enhanced by joining PPTC otherwise I would not have competed.  

P.S. Who in the club inspired you to participate in races?

Valerie: Richard Weaver encouraged me to participate more, as well as coach Tony and Charlene who exhorted me to "step it up to the next level" Anne, Maggie and Amy became my cheerleaders!

P'.S: Where are your favorite places to run? Valerie: I love running in the Park, even with the big hill.

P.S. How did your involvement with running change when you retired?

Valerie: Retirement allowed me to put more energy and spirit into it, but my mileage level hasn’t really changed. I do however, now, look forward to reaching the next age group category.

P.S. Do you have any specific goals? Valerie: I would love to run way, way under a ten minute mile pace in a 5k race and stave off the seemingly inevitable slowdown that comes with aging.

P.S. How has your marriage influenced your running?

Valerie: Irwin would do some running but it was my passion, not his. He respects it; he is very supportive. In an adult relationship you enjoy many things as a couple, but should feel free to pursue your own interests while supporting those of your partner; he's a gym rat, I'm a runner. We encourage each other!

P.S I'm glad you have been able to share with us your thoughts, and I know while you may still seek solitude in running. Many of us have had similar feelings. Best of luck as you pursue your passion!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

HARRY’S HANDICAP 2011 By Tom Meany


By Tom Meany

Forty years ago, our Club founder, Harry Murphy decided he would like to see less drinking by Club members on New Year’s Eve. So he instituted a special New Year’s Day race with an added incentive: runners would be handicapped according to their ability. He assigned handicaps on one minute intervals from 12 minutes or so to zero or “scratch”.
This was a race where you had an opportunity to beat runners whom you would never catch or even see after the gun went off all year long. The race was for members and their guests, and guests were encouraged.
Harry knew how to handicap runners, mostly because he kept track of us all year and over the years and also because he had a gift, which was never we inherited to his predecessors. Now some members believed they could play on Harry’s warm sympathetic side, except on this day he was Ming The Merciless. I remember Bob Muller showing up with a leg bandaged and on crutches, all to no avail. And sometimes some of us were genuinely under the weather or injured, somehow Harry discerned the truth in assigning you a handicap or you were screwed.
  Registration was held at the Caton Inn on Coney Island Ave., across from the Parade Grounds and later in a Park’s office in the ball field building across the street. The race was originally held at 8:30 A.M.! Harry was a sign maker so we had hand painted oilcloth reusable numbers. They were white five-inch swatches with green numerals. The pinholes were encircled with rust. Later we used a community room in the basement of Bobby Fisher’s building.
Harry would take all the runners to the start and line runners horizontally across the road according handicap time. There would be 60 of us regardless of weather. This was before tights and Gore-Tex, most wore shorts. I remember races with temps in the high 30’s and rain blowing horizontally and Harry would go through the whole lineup twice before the actual start. Kurt Steiner, Harry’s sidekick would be there dressed in a high hat & tails. He had usually officiated at the midnight run in Central Park the night before.
There were usually medals for the first 25 and those were treasured awards. Harry kept the results in a green hardcover book, which we may have after this year’s race. We also ran a handicap race at the June Club picnic until we switched over to a relay race. This year’s race is dedicated to Harry.
None of us inherited Harry’s gift for handicapping, but the last two years Ralph Yozzo and I devised a handicapping methodology. Ralph compiled a database for all Club members using the most recent race results beforehand. We used this to assess a runner’s ability prior to race day, according to minute/mile pace for a 5K distance.  The range went from the fastest 6:15/mile pace to the slowest 14:45/ mile pace.
We had time slots at 30-second intervals giving us 18 time slots. We then calculated the actual finish time for each of the slots and assigned handicap times based on the finish time. So the first runner went off at gun time and 31 minutes the last runner took off.
The advantages of our system are that you know your exact starting time to the second upon registering.  It minimizes time spent standing out in the cold. The race is scored in a short period of time and we can use the same system each year.
So how did we do? Out of 41 runners, we had all finish within 7 minutes and of those, 17 finished within 3 minutes of each other. Our average prediction was within 25 seconds of their actual pace (min/mile)
The other part of Harry’s race is the reception after. It’s a potluck feast with everyone bringing something to eat or drink to feast on. And a new tradition has been added, a kind of biathlon, where some finishers bring their bathing suits and head for Coney Island after the race to participate in the annual Polar Bear swimming event.
I have been quoted as saying the Turkey Trot is the best way to start your Thanksgiving Day. Harry’s Handicap is the best way to celebrate and start the New Year with your running family.  See you there!
Registration will be at the Knights Of Columbus Hall On 10th Avenue  Between Prospect Park Southwest and 16TH Streets from 8:30-9:30 A.M.,  with the first runners off at 10 a.m. sharp. The start and finish will be at the traffic light on the inside loop roadway and 10th Avenue. This is a free, fun event for members and we ask $5 for non-member friends of PPTC members. Bring a dish to put on the buffet table (there will be sternos) to get the new year off to a satisfying start before those resolutions kick in! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

DECEMBER 2010 TOM BYRNES and FRIENDS Last LOOP column for 2010, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!



Last LOOP column for 2010, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

Many thanks to PPTC members who volunteered with USADA and their involvement  with athletes whose finishing positions were selected for drug testing at the NYC marathon: Wayne Bailey , Junior Pasee, and Lynette Gonis. Thanks also to back- up reserve volunteers  Emma Roman, Marilyn Bucich, Natacha Ferrari, and Maria Green.
Chatting with Alberto Salazar and the athlete he coached certainly made my day!   

Remember when you’d see Mike Ring pushing his  twins in their jogger stroller on the inside loop? Give ‘em an apple and they’d be good for a loop of no fuss. They’ve come a long way since then ! Mike’s  stepped up and is taking  them to Rhode Island to  the USATF Junior Olympic Region 1 Cross Country Championship Sunday November 21st. with Sean Rice’s Prospect park Youth Running Club. Joining Mike and his kids will be other PPTC members and their children :  Ami Hassler's son  Owen, Marcy Greenberg's son Rory, and Christine Guerra ‘s children Carlos, Manuel, Carlitos, Patricio and  Joaquin.  More info on Sean’s youth club at

NYC’s done , the Turkey Trot is wrapped up for another year, so now its time to take stock of how your 2010 running and training went and plan for 2011.
I think that Richard Weaver said it best when he seemed to have shouted   “ THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to all the wonderful PPTC volunteers and friends who contributed their time and best effort in making one of  PPTC’s annual races a tremendous success. You worked at registration in the four days leading up to the race and came out in the early hours of morning Thanksgiving day to make the race work. More than 2000 runners/walkers finished the race and that could not have happened without all you fabulous people and your wonderful support. I am so proud of PPTC.” Thus spake Sir Richard.

PPTC’s Indoor Winter 2010-2011 Speed Workouts at the Park Slope Armory began the first week in December. What a treat for both the eyes and the feet! A great indoor 200m track, a great facility well attended by YMCA staff, ( water fountains and clean bathrooms  !!! )  great coaching with Coach Tony and Charlene, a great group to run with, and all at a super great price! The followup emails about strecthing pre and post workouts and other important matters are the icing on the cake.

1-1-11, be there for Harry’s Handicap, a fast as you can complete inside loop of the park on the first day of the new year. Check the details elsewhere in this newsletter and  on the PPTC website.
Balmy. Rain, snow, freezey cold, no matter what the weather, we’ll all be together !

All the best for the happiest of times and the healthiest of miles to come in 2011. See you all on the roads.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

At the PPTC “reunion school” everyone was asked to everyone was asked to put their Name, Time and Comments on a sheet of oak tag

At the PPTC “reunion school” everyone was asked to everyone was asked to put their Name, Time and Comments on a sheet of oak tag.  I just copied it - mr

Chris O’Brien
Way to go PPTC
Daniel Gercke
Hooray PPTC
Eric Darling
3:05 I think
Thank you so much
Paul Warthen
Thank you
Sarah Scott
Thanks Brrrrr
Darcy Budworth
Thank You
Adam Barcan
Thank you
Wan Park
Thank you Thank you Thank you
Sarah Pribram
Thank you!
Kristina Depaul Gracey
Thank you so much for the warm welcome & refreshments! Such a nice team
Robert Wright

Tom Tobin

Eduedo Corbejojs
Thanks for setting this up.  Great Spot of PS 87
Mark Crowther
Momoe Hirao
Scott Porter
Hard, Hard, Hard, Hard….
Marcia Brown
Thank you
Evan Oakley
Gerard Luna
Mike Saltzer
Wow – ouch
Rebacca Gorges
Thank you!
Peter Pegleg Wohlsen
3:16:32 or 6 or something
That was something
Mike Goethig
2:29:25 (?)

Frank Broderick

Timothy P.F. Crowley
You Guys Are Great
Pieter M. van Hatten
Woohoo PR!!!
Pauline Shapiro
3:48 (I think)
Thanks PPTC
Kerry Bray
So welcome, thanks a million
Anthony Monahan
Thank You!!!
Jess D’amato
3:59 3:58:37
Thanks C U at the Turkey Trot
Eric Boorstyn
Thank you for the Warmth
Paul Weinstein
Thanks Very Much
Gary Wang
Frank DeLeo
Anthony Watson

Guillermo Averbach

Sharon Abbott
Thank you ☺
Patricia Chong Tenn
Thank you PPTC for making my first marathon AMAZING!!
Emily Whitfield
Sarah Hartmann
Thank you PPTC
Linda Mules
Brutal beauty! Brooklyn is THE BEST BOROUGH –thanks to PPTC ! yay!
Bobby Rutloff
Colleen Herbert

Dennis Roach
An amazing time with an amazing group of people
Tiffany Peckosil

David Jones
I love PPTC!
Marta Nelson
Thank You
Hans Marselis
Wonderful race, wonderful folks Thank You!
Tina-Marie Rosenberger

© We got engaged at mile 16
Kevin Lohela
Al Prawda
First half good-second half bad/much more room wave 2
Paul Swinnerton
Roman Bachurski
Thanks so much!  Also for the last 10 Run!  It helped so much
Mary Anne Killeen
So warm & cozy – thank you!
Cendweu Kosbu

Ben Estep

Bennett Kleinberg
Thanks! You guys are the best!!
Nancy Belson
Thanks for helping me a long my way! È
Rob Underwood
Fun day
Joost Sluys
Perfect, thank u Tinke I Y NYM
Tineke de Vries
I am so happy!  Thank you Joost
Megan Hogan
First NYC Marathon, but not my last!  Thanks PPTC
Kay Downer

Shontay Butler
First NYC Marathon AND made a new PR!
Adam Kramer
Richard Loyd
Sandra Ferrari
4:37 (?)
Can’t wait to make 15th NYC Marathon (7 more to go)
4:53 (?)
Sore- It Kicked My Ass- -but so happy I did it!!!
David Phelps
My first Marathon Weeeeeeee!
Michael Ring
I think I passed a kidney stone on 1st Ave.
Yoshie Nitsuma
My first full marathon!! I am so happy ☺
Traci Lester
Kim Swimmerton
Better than last year
Patricai Perlo
I hope better than last year
Tracey Beck

Samatha Bloom
One of the Best days ever!
Majo Tinoco
No words just tears of love happiness, pain the whole tamale.  Thanks
Erin Lancer
Happy to see PS 87 & The PPTC
Erin Uhle
Thank you so, so very much
Charlene Kohler Britton
Fantastic! Oooh it hurts But in a good way.  Thank to my wonderful Coach Tony!
Janet Gotleb
Thanks for waiting
Irva Niles
Thank god it’s over
Chi Iregbulem-McGrath
6 hours
Ask me tomorrow!