Saturday, September 24, 2011

2011 Prospect Park Track Club NYC Marathon Activities

On Saturday, October 29th Prospect Park Track Club is sponsoring a group run of the last 10 miles of the NYC Marathon course.  We will meet under the   at Engineers Gate).  At the “finish line” (the Tavern on the Green parking lot) there will be more goodies waiting for us.  This event is free and open to the public.  We just ask that you let us know if you are going to join us.  Please send an email to if you are joining us.

59th Street Bridge at  1st Avenue  and be ready to run by 8 a.m...  As usual this run will be supported by a rolling aid station.  There will be Gatorade, cold water and energy food waiting for us before we cross the Willis Ave Bridge (1st Avenue and 125th Street) and as we enter Central Park (90th Street).  For a details on crossing the Willis Ave Bridge and getting into The Bronx, click this

The importance of this run cannot be stressed enough.   Eight days later you will be running this same route after covering 16 miles.  You will have the memory of how easy and fun it was with fresh feet and how close the finish line is.  This is also a great run for someone who is not running the NYC Marathon:  It is a way to “have a taste” of the Marathon

On Marathon Sunday, JackRabbit Sports has joined us in transporting Brooklyn runners to the start.  Buses will be leaving from the front of their Brooklyn store,    Buses will leave promptly at 6 AM and will not wait.  JackRabbit will be open starting at 5 AM on Marathon Sunday. They will be providing goodie bags, a bathroom, a place to be warm and dry, and the opportunity to purchase any last minute items.  151 7th Avenue  between Garfield and Carroll and will take you to Fort Wadsworth.

The cost for bus transportation is $10 for PPTC members and $15 for “friends.”  All seats are prepaid and go quickly.  There are no walk-ons – reservations are required.  If you are taking the PPTC bus, you will need to be in front of Jack Rabbit Sports no later than 5:45 a.m. to be checked in.   Click here (or go to if you are holding a piece of paper) for a link to our no extra fee checkout  to reserve your place on the bus (The bus is sold out!)

After the race, we have our own Marathon reunion area.  You can meet your friends and family at PS 87, located on  West 77th Street  between Columbus and Amsterdam. It is just 2 blocks from the finish line.  We will provide hot chocolate, fruit, cold soda, bagels an indoor restroom with a place to change.  This event is free and open to PPTC Member and their “friends” who joined us on the marathon bus.  We just ask that you let us know if you are going to join us.  We will transport your bag of stuff from JackRabbit to our reunion area.

Questions:  or 718-595-2049

Nothing is better for instilling camaraderie and team spirit than running together - at a race, in an organized PPTC event, or on an informal group run. When doing any of these things is impossible, there are still a number of electronic ways that PPTC can communicate with members and members communicate with each other. The proliferation of these media have made it difficult for PPTCers to be aware of the different places that conversations about PPTC and running in Brooklyn take place. Following is a description of the different alternatives followed by a discussion about some ways in which the club is trying to make it easier for members to communicate and get information.

PPTC.ORG is our main website and the place to find announcements about big events on the club calendar such as the Turkey Trot, Cherry Tree, coached speed workouts, regular group runs, etc. The main site also includes links to (or embedded versions of) the club calendar, Facebook, Flickr (photos), Target Races, and the Open Forum. On tabs (found at the top of the main page) are the PPTC blog and the Member Race History page. If you are going to remember only one resource, PPTC.ORG is it because it will show you the way to everything else we have online.

"PPTC Bytes" is the name that the club uses for its email blasts to the entire club. If you are a member and the club has your email you should be receiving these. However, occasionally an email address gets skipped, so if you have never seen a "PPTC Byte" get your name on the list by sending a message to I think everyone knows how to use email by now, so there isn't much else to say about "PPTC Bytes."

The PPTC Open Forum is an unmoderated Google group that is available only to PPTC members at (first time you visit, you have to request permission from the group administrator). The discussions are on various running-related topics and are often very lively. There are a few ways to stay up- to-date with the Open Forum: members can elect to receive each and every email sent to the group, they can get a daily or weekly digest of the emails, or can elect not to receive email and browse the group at the following address [link]. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these methods of following the Open Forum, so experiment and see which is best for you.

PPTC also has its own group on Facebook with over 200 "members." For those of us who use the popular social network, this is a convenient place to make announcements, post questions, extend invitations for group runs or impromptu social events. Often, the information on Facebook is cross-posted to the Open Forum. The two media are also similar in that anyone can post to them and anyone can respond. One difference between Facebook and the Open Forum is that the Facebook group is open to non-PPTC members.

The PPTC calendar is visible as an embedded element on the main page by scrolling down to the "Race Calendar" heading. This calendar is an amazing resource that also includes the regular PPTC group runs, running events throughout the five NYC boroughs and in surrounding parts of NY, NJ and Connecticut. It is a Google Calendar (called "Prospect Park Track Club Events" if you need to search for it), so if you use the Google Calendar service or Outlook, it can appear in your own personal calendar i.e., without having to go to our home page. Another useful aspect of the calendar is that if you double-click on the individual event blocks, you will then see details such as the location of the race and, in many cases, a link to the website.

The PPTC Blog can be found at and is also the second tab on the top menu bar at PPTC.ORG. The blog is used to post online versions of the newsletter articles and sometimes for other notices that are linked elsewhere. When we update (see discussion below), the main site will include more blog-like elements and it may be possible to do away with the separate blog.

There a couple more online services which club members have been trying on an experimental basis:

PPTC has a group on Flickr, a popular photo sharing service at Anyone can join this group and upload photos, but in practice people have more frequently been sharing photos among "friends" on Facebook and sometimes with the PPTC group on that service.

There is also a twitter feed @ProspectParkTC which is maintained by member, Mark Crowther. Based on our recent survey of club communications, there don't appear to be many PPTC members using the Twitter service, but it is increasing in general popularity and influence, so this may be something that grows in the future.

PPTC is working to improve all forms of communication with and among its members. It recently conducted an online survey to understand which online tools you are finding most useful. Thank you to the more than 90 members who responded! One of the results of the survey is this article: we realized that many people are not aware of all the resources available. The club is planning to update the website in ways that will make it easier to use and better integrated with other online tools such as social media. If you have an interest in helping the club to communicate more effectively or a technical skill you can share, please contact me and we will find a way to get you involved.

Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series


Last year we were happy to have 35 or 50 runners. We did a good job and all the participants had a good time. (When I say good time, I am not judging their speed; I am saying they had fun.) I figured we could do the same good job for about 3 times that many runners and everyone would still have fun.

Just when I was thinking of how to make the public more aware of these races I met Steve Lastoe

(AKA: Steve at NYCRUNS.COM). We promoted the race series on his website and decided to try advance registration. About 20 people paid in advance for the entire series and our first race had 96 people. Yea! Our next race had more and our third race had almost 200!

But we had problems. The system we used to score the race that worked great for 50 or 100, did not really work at 150 or 200 runners. We were not able to accurately match the finisher’s times and their bibs. We added a finish line “shoot” so we could better gather the bibs but that had problems too. This is about to get very technical, so if you really want to know more or have any solutions please join the Race Committee. I also don’t want to dwell on the negative because the Summer Speed Series was a huge success.

It was a success on many levels.
It was a financial success. We have not finished counting the proceeds yet, but I think each race made more money than all of last years races.
It was a success for the runners. Many ran all of the races and reported personal records or improvements over the summer.
It was an organizational success. The Race Committee was able to adapt our method of scoring to provide quick and accurate results.

But it was really a success because of the volunteers who showed up without being asked and did things without being asked. For example: With the race to start in 5 minutes I realized that it would be a good idea to set up the finish line. I looked behind me to see that it had already been set up, but a volunteer that I did not even know was there. Or after I carried the clock, megaphone, and the timing computer to the start and realized I did not have a fourth hand to sound the air horn I looked around and saw two PPTC teammates with their hand out saying “Michael, Can we help you?”
What I am trying to say is that this very successful race series was the result of the hard and smart work of the volunteers from the Prospect Park Track Club. I might have been the “face” of the event” but this was truly a team effort.

Run Brooklyn

Run Brooklyn

To encourage team racing, and support of Brooklyn races organized by local groups and organizations, we are continuing PPTC’s "Run Brooklyn" awards for 2011.

PPTC members racing 6 scored Brooklyn races will be entered in a raffle for a $100 cash prize at the end of the year.

Rules for qualification:

To be eligible, runners must become PPTC members before July 1, and must race only for
PPTC in any races they enter.
PPTC’s database will be the official source for tracking races. Each runner will be
responsible for entering their own races.
Any Brooklyn based races that are officially scored will qualify.
Only 1 NYRR race in Brooklyn will be counted even if you ran several
The 6 races MUST include at least ONE race organized by PPTC.
Only 1 speed series race (ie. Al Goldstein Summer Speed
Series, Fort Hamilton Speed Series, etc.) will be counted, no matter how many you ran.

Sample Brooklyn races (not an exhaustive list): Brooklyn Marathon, Music That Heals 5K, Liz Padilla 5K, Irish Fair 5K, Dan's Run 5K, Hoban 5 Miler, Coney Island 4 Miler, PPTC Turkey Trot, Coney Island Turkey Trot, NYRR Jingle Bell

There will be 5 winners selected at random at the awards gathering held in early 2012.

Harry's Handicap

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 you would never catch or even see after the gun went off all year long.

Harry knew how to handicap runners, mostly because he kept track of us all year over several years and also because he had a gift, which was never we passed on to his successors. Some members believed they could play on Harry’s warm sympathetic side, except on this day when 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. Most recently, we have found a home at the Knights of Columbus Hall on 10th Avenue between Prospect Park Southwest and 16th Street.

Back in the day, Harry would take all the runners to the start and line them up 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 officiated at the midnight run in Central Park the night before.

There were medals for the first 25 and those were treasured awards. Harry kept the results in a green hardcover book. Using the database, we are able to assess the runner’s ability prior to race day based on the minute/mile pace for a 5K distance. The advantages of the computer based 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.

The other part of Harry’s race is the party afterwards. One thing PPTC does well is party! Harry’s is a potluck feast with everyone bringing something to eat or drink. There’s lot of kibitzing and laughs as people toast the new year, among other notable events (and even some not-so-notable- events). Some finishers bring their bathing suits and head for Coney Island after the race to participate in the annual Polar Bear swimming event. Definitely optional. Most stay behind, keeping the fun going. Harry’s has also been an event that brings many long term members out, not to run but to renew old ties. It is a great way for new members to meet and greet in an informal way, put a face to a name and grab some of that team feeling.

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! (Details regarding registration are being finalized so stay tuned. In the meantime, mark your calendar for Harry’s Handicap on January 1.)

9th Annual Turkey Trot

Yes this will be our 9th Annual Turkey Trot five mile race. In the past 3 years we have grown from 1,300 to 2,000 participants last year. This year we are capping the race at 2,500. There are several reasons for doing this.
One, the old adage the more runners will cover any additional costs incurred. Not true. In fact there is a point of diminishing returns in the expanding costs of supplying all the goods and services to put on a quality race.

Our goal is to have experienced runners put on a quality race for runners to enjoy. Quality, not quantity is our focus. We see the option of increasing sponsorship participation as a growth direction for the event.

Jack Rabbit Sports continues to be our most generous sponsor for the race, although we have and welcome other sponsors. We want to also acknowledge New York Methodist Hospital for their loyal sponsorship that has helped make this race possible. Bishop Ford Boys & Girls Track Team continues to be our partner. Their share of the proceeds continues to go directly to support their track team exclusively.

Additionally, Bishop Ford has decided to make the race a sort of homecoming community service event for track & field alumni, who serve as adult volunteers the day of the race. Their numbers continue to grow each year. Another pleasing sight is that some of those alumni are becoming PPTC Club members. One of our original goals in partnering with BF was to build a bridge between adult and young runners.

The race has become a growing Thanksgiving Day family tradition for many participants. For many of our participants this may be only race for them all year. It is also a great opportunity for PPTC members to volunteer, particularly, in light of our new volunteer rewards program where you can earn credit towards Club clothing, dues or race registration fees.

We are in the Park around 6:30 A.M. and out of the Park before 11. I get directly on the road to meet with my family in Dutchess County, usually beat the traffic, and I’m there for the 1 P.M. kick off. Either way I expect to see you all out there, there is no excuse to not be out there if you’re in or around town that day.

2011 New York City Marathon Activities

On Saturday, October 29th Prospect Park Track Club is sponsoring a group run of the last 10 miles of the NYC Marathon course. We will meet under the 59th Street Bridge at 1st Avenue and be ready to run by 8 a.m... As usual this run will be supported by a rolling aid station. There will be Gatorade, cold water and energy food waiting for us before we cross the Willis Ave Bridge (1st Avenue and 125th Street) and as we enter Central Park (90th Street at Engineers Gate). At the “finish line” (the Tavern on the Green parking lot) there will be more goodies waiting for us. This event is free and open to the public. We just ask that you let us know if you are going to join us.

The importance of this run cannot be stressed enough. Eight days later you will be running this same route after covering 16 miles. You will have the memory of how easy and fun it was with fresh feet and how close the finish line is. This is also a great run for someone who is not running the NYC Marathon: It is a way to “have a taste” of the Marathon.

On Marathon Sunday, we are happy to announce that JackRabbit Sports has joined us in transporting Brooklyn runners to the start. Buses will be leaving from the front of their Brooklyn store, 151 7th Avenue between Garfield and Carroll and will take you to Fort Wadsworth. Buses will leave promptly at 6 AM and will not wait. JackRabbit will be open starting at 5 AM on Marathon Sunday. They will be providing goodie bags, a bathroom, a place to be warm and dry, and the opportunity to purchase any last minute items.

The cost for bus transportation is $10 for PPTC members and $15 for “friends.” All seats are prepaid and go quickly. There are no walk-ons – reservations are required. If you are taking the PPTC bus, you will need to be in front of Jack Rabbit Sports no later than 5:45 a.m. to be checked in. Go to for a link to our Google Checkout to reserve your place on the bus

After the race, we have our own Marathon reunion area. You can meet your friends and family at PS 87, located on West 77th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam. It is just 2 blocks from the finish line. We will provide hot chocolate, fruit, cold soda, bagels an indoor restroom with a place to change. This event is free and open to PPTC Member and their “friends” who joined us on the marathon bus. We just ask that you let us know if you are going to join us. We will transport your bag of stuff from our bus to the reunion.


PPTCers Give Back

Every year, countless runners push their limits to cross a finish line and raise money for causes close to their hearts. The NYC marathon alone is on track to raise $26.2 million for charitable causes nationwide. PPTC'ers are also getting in on the action, dedicating their hard weeks of training to support meaningful organizations. Here are just a few:

Irene Camp is running both the New York City and inaugural Brooklyn marathons in support of a local organization helping our disadvantaged Brooklyn neighbors get their feet on the ground. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, The HOPE Program trains hundreds of men and women in essential job skills, helps them find jobs, and works with them to keep building their skills to maintain and grow in their careers. Irene isn’t doing this alone – she’s partnering with a colleague who is completing 2 century rides this fall. Together they will complete 252 miles for HOPE! Visit

Ed Filusch is running the NYC Marathon to raise $2,600 *on behalf of Autism Speaks! Click here or visit *

Jennifer Bolstad ran the Komen Race for the Cure 5k in Central Park on 9/18 to raise funds and awareness about breast cancer. Jennifer says, “I run with a group from the Young Survival Coalition, whose mission is to improve the quality and quantity of life for the 10,000 women under 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. YSC was instrumental in my recovery from breast cancer treatment when I was diagnosed at age 32.” Jen ran her best 5K since she was diagnosed, taking second place among survivors! Congratulations, Jen!! To contribute to YSC, visit

Kate George is running with Team in Training in honor of a close family member. “In 2009 my uncle was diagnosed with leukemia. We are a VERY close family. There was nothing I could *do except visit him in the hospital and run for TnT. I planned to run the marathon *in his honor but unfortunately he died that August, four months after we *discovered he was sick.

Before every practice, we have a mission moment and someone on the team *tells her story. I stick with TnT because although my uncle died there are a lot *of people out there sick and suffering and LLS is really helping.” Kate ran the *NYC Marathon in 2009 and the Lake Placid Half in June 2011 for Team in Training* – raising over $10,000 so far!

Nicole Importico is running her first marathon this year in support of Team for Kids! "I love the fact that they go into lower-income school districts and work with the kids on fitness and health. I see many of the kids in the TFK program running the numerous NYRR races in Central Park and Prospect Park and you see such joy on their faces when they're on the course. Visit

Ruth Gursky is running the Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on *October 30 in support of ASPCA “I am excited to be participating in the inaugural Team ASPCA race and honored to be raising awareness and funds to support ASPCA's programs.” Ruth’s first fundraising effort has been a huge success! She has exceeded her goal, raising nearly $5,000. But, you can still contribute and support the ASPCA and Ruth. Visit

Gary Purdy is running his first full marathon in Chicago on October 9th, raising money for BASICS International. BASICS makes a significant impact in the lives of children in Ghana, West Africa. Gary serves on the organization’s board and is excited to challenge himself for such a meaningful cause:

Charles Olson is fundraising for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “For the past two years, I have participated in a bicycle race called the Furnace Creek 508. This is a 508 mile bike race through Death Valley and the Mohave Desert in California. Participants in the 508 are assigned Totems (usually the name of an animal), instead of numbers. I was given the totem Brooklyn Beast and hence my link address for my donation page:”