Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trail Race Calendar

The folks at the American Trail Running Association have posted a preliminary 2009 calendar. This version is sorted by state. Note this is all preliminary, but gives you some ideas of what's forthcoming.

PPTC Turkey Trot Results

Results are in for the Thanksgiving Day race ... 1,288 finishers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Calendar Items

Few quick things for the calendar:

Dec. 7: The Peter Rabbit 3 Mile Cross Country Run, 10 a.m., Prospect Park, sponsored by Brooklyn Road Runners. Register on Race starts and finishes at 15th St/PPW

Dec. 14: 5K Jingle Bell Holiday Race & Walk in Prospect Park, 10 a.m., More information here.

Dec. 31: Brooklyn's New Year's Eve Fun Run, 11:15 p.m., sponsored by Slope Sports and BRRC. Start at 9th St. and PPW, followed by fireworks and music at Grand Army Plaza. Register at

Also, looking ahead to next year:

Feb. 21: The Al Gordon Snowflake 4 Mile Run is now listed on the NYRR calendar as taking place in Prospect Park! That likely means that the Cherry Tree 10-Mile Run will be held the following day. Again, this far out, all things are tentative.

May 9: The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain has been scheduled for this day, with 10K, Half Marathon, 50K and 50 Mile events.

Happy race planning!

Great Day for a Turkey Trot

Temperatures may not have reached 40 degrees at this morning's Turkey Trot in Prospect Park, but the bright sunny day lured more than 1,000 (?) runners to pound out five miles before dispersing to parts unknown for their Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Nice swag too: A sturdy duffel bag that will certainly become home to a lot of running gear (though I might figure a way to distinguish the black bag from the others...)

Results and photos when available. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Evening

** I'm listening to the Boston-Montreal hockey game over the Internet, and trying to decide if it's more or less interesting than trying to watch the streaming video, with limited audio, from the Division III National X/C championships from earlier today. (I've got some NYU ties, so was hoping for the upset ... no luck ...) So far, the jury is out ... Hope the Div. 1 Nationals are better.

** If you haven't signed up for this Thursday's Turkey Trot in Prospect Park, don't wait until the last minute. Race applications are higher than ever, and it's possible that last year's record turnout will be threatened (meaning you show up, get into the race, but won't get the swag). Details here about how to sign up for the 5 mile race. (And hey, if you pick up your stuff at JackRabbit, support the local running community)

** PPTC has a link to some comments from the finisher's of the NYC Marathon earlier this month. If you download, note that it's an Excel file.

** Good luck to everyone running the Philly Marathon tomorrow. Hopefully, the colder temperatures won't affect the times too much (though have got to admit, my run this morning was curtailed because I just simply couldn't get my legs loosened up)

** Am hearing some rumblings that we *might* see more NYRR races outside of Central Park in 2009. This, obviously, would be dependent on a ton of factors - city permits, venues, etc. Worth keeping an eye on, especially if any come to Prospect Park or elsewhere in Brooklyn (hey, maybe a Red Hook track series?)

** Speaking of JackRabbit, some good and bad news. The good: they will have a huge post-Thanksgiving clearance sale. The bad: It's only at their Union Square location, according to the recent newsletter. Still, an opportunity for some cheap running stuff as we head into the dark days of winter (I need new tights, I realize).

Friday, November 21, 2008

PPTC Cherry Tree Race

Speaking of 2009 races, looks like the PPTC Cherry Tree Race will be held on Feb. 21 (3 loops of Prospect Park).

Various sites and groups are starting to post their races - don't expect that all of these are going to be set in stone, but it helps to get some planning in for your winter training.

** AN UPDATE. It's possible that Cherry Tree could be on Feb. 22, I'm told. So keep an eye out on the PPTC Web site for the schedule - more information may be available at next week's Turkey Trot **

Some 2009 NYRR Races Posted

Some race dates have been posted on the NYRR site for early 2009 through March.

No sign yet of the Brooklyn Half. The Manhattan Half is Jan. 25, the Bronx Half is Feb. 8, both Sundays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Single Best Thing for U.S. Running ...

... right now would be to have Ryan Hall win the 2009 Boston Marathon in a close duel. He's signed up to run, according to this.

With due respect to the tremendous accomplishments by members of the U.S. Olympic team (think Lagat, Goucher et al) and other runners in other events across the country -- having an American runner win Boston or New York given their high profile would go a long way to moving the sport forward.

Understand that my coming of age was during the heady years when Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar were dominant. And understand that the number of people who run and participate in 5Ks to marathons on a weekly basis is *huge.* The talent that's in high school and college now - regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin - is just simply amazing.

But no one knows about it.

Running as a sport ranks somewhere behind indoor lacrosse in the U.S. viewing public's imagination. And someday, somehow, that's got to change.

I don't want the 2012 Olympics to arrive and for NBC to again think that showing the races on tape delay in the U.S. is acceptable. And having Ryan Hall be able to bask in the spotlight that he's already so deserving of (his races so far have been incredible) might be the thing, the tipping point that pushes it over.

One can only hope. (Hmm. Ryan's Hope ... )

Monday, November 17, 2008

Upcoming Brooklyn Races

Gradually I'll get an updated race calendar out that takes us through the end of the year. Wanted to highlight three Brooklyn races though ...

Nov. 23: Coney Island 5K Turkey Trot

Nov. 27: PPTC Turkey Trot 5 Mile

Dec. 7: Peter Rabbit 3 Mile X/C (in Prospect Park)

When Is a Four Mile Loop Not?

Check this out from City Coach, which questions the course measurement for the NYRR Knickerbocker 60K and the Race to Deliver 4-Mile Loop, both of which use the inner loop at Central Park for their race.

Results from both races are linked above.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New York Relay Race in May 2009

Ever wanted to run relay races similar to Hood to Coast or Reach the Beach, but didn't want to travel to Oregon or New Hampshire?

A New York version will take place next May. 12 people running 178 miles over 36 legs (so each person runs 3 legs ranging from 3 to 8 miles each).

Details for the race, which runs from Woodstock to the Bronx, are here. It's part of the Ragnar Relay Series.

It's a little pricey: potentially more than $100 a person, and each New York-based team has to come up with three volunteers. However, having done Hood to Coast earlier this year, I can attest that these races are a blast. Ironically, the hardest part isn't necessarily the running, it's the logistics.

It's great to see the opportunities out there for people who want something different than the loops around Central or Prospect parks.

Why Do I Run?

Today's jaunt along the Shore Road Parkway was a perfect example of all the things I love about running:

-- Good mix of runners

-- Great running weather (if you like rain that is)

-- No pressure to perform - just a day to get a run in, regardless of the pace

-- Hot apple cider at the end

I know the mileage on the map says it was less than 13, though part of that is my inability to get the map to behave, and part of it is it doesn't reflect the ins and outs on the path in the parkland on the other side of the Parkway (if you want flat, straight, and great views, stay on the water side of the Parkway). I'd probably say today's run was about 13.5 miles.

It was fun to be reminded the joys of running in the pouring rain (oddly, as I write this, it's nice and sunny outside). But my last two runs - a 7.5 mile jaunt into the Thursday night drizzle and today's, have both left me looking for a towel when I got home. There's something so ... I don't know, peaceful, yet exhilarating, about getting absolutely hammered with the pouring rain and the wind, and then turning to the person next to you and seeing she's enjoying it just as much as you. It's also great to just be able to simply plow through foot-deep puddles because you have simply no choice (and you're already so wet that it doesn't matter).

One footnote about this run: Greenwood Cemetery is a great 3.5/4 mile loop that can be done on its own or as part of some running in Prospect Park.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In the News

Some stories of interest that caught my eye ...

** A Morgans Hotel exec who uses New York City as his playground ... the workout routine is pretty impressive for someone who's working full-time (you may need to have WSJ registration).

** I forgot about this article, then remembered it when I, uhh, gently motioned with one of my hands at a car that cut me off on Union and Court (the great thing about it - you're already in your running gear if need be). Not sure we learn anything from it though: Runners. Cars. We don't like each other.

** A Brooklyn resident apparently wrote in to the "Ask Miles" column in Runner's World with the following question: "How should I react to rude comments? If I hear "Run, Forrest, run" one more time, I'm going to snap." (An aside, I haven't even heard that comment in the past decade ... ohh, where have you gone Tom Hanks.)

** Brooklyn's got a hockey team! (Note to self, if you're flipping off someone, make sure they aren't a member of our latest and greatest).

Hot Chocolate 15K Renamed

Somewhere there's probably a release on this, but noting the NYRR Web site now has the December 15K renamed after Ted Corbitt (a very nice gesture).

Never fear, you still get hot chocolate!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Blog Comments from the NY Marathon

From What You Don't Know Because You Are Not Me

"On Fifth Ave in Harlem I told the man at the water table that I was sick of Gatorade. I wanted a beer. He said he would get me a Coors Light. I told him I just ran 24 miles to get me a real fuckin beer."

From Skirting Marathons ...

"Only 6 days out from the race, I feel completely recovered and ready for another marathon tomorrow! Well... I may not run another race tomorrow, but I'll take my son out for a morning jog."

From Challenge Yourself

"The last time I was in New York was 25 years ago with some college buddies. I thought the traffic was the worst I had ever seen, drivers extremely rude, and the city was dirty. I did not feel safe walking downtown in the middle of the day. Now, in 2008 the traffic is still nasty - but there is less honking (I guess there is a law with a $350 fine). The people are friendlier and I felt completely safe walking the streets late into the evening. On to the marathon, or should I say the "Moving Sea of Humanity".

From Chiropractic San Diego (in case any of us are out there anytime soon):

"I started training back in late February, so it's been about 8 months. I logged 792 miles over that time (not including the race itself). It's always been a dream of mine to run the NYC Marathon."

And this blog is alleging someone cheated ...

Prospect Park to Battery Park

I've done this route before, and linked a map to it, but worth mentioning again. Not only do you get the Brooklyn Bridge (twice), but you get to meander in Battery Park and check out the Statue of Liberty from afar (and there's a bathroom there, which is always a plus). The mileage is a little iffy - if you take a direct route and follow the roads, it's probably closer to 11.5, but if you meander back and forth on the sidewalks, it's closer to 12.

PPTC and BRRC Group Runs

My run today, an almost 12-mile loop that included a run over the Brooklyn Bridge and some meandering in Battery Park, included a) a Brooklyn Bridge "virgin" - i.e., he'd never run over the bridge and b) a fellow runner who said he'd never have run that long today if he didn't have company (though he was easily capable).

Running is both individual (i.e. you have to do it yourself, and you have no one to blame but yourself when things don't go your way ... most of the time :-)) and also group-oriented. Since I started running at 15, I've met some amazing people, some of whom I'm lucky enough to consider friends, but many more who have darted into and out of my life and blessed me with their experiences, commentary and simple running-ness.

Every run I do with other people, I learn from them, whether it's 50 minutes of complete silence (the art of concentration), or an hour of debate about who's to blame for the global financial crisis (which helped distract me from the various aches and pains in the joints today).

Sometime ago, I promised some information about group runs, so here's a smattering. Don't worry about protocol -- if you want to join the individual clubs, then sound out members during the run. But don't feel pressured.

Despite various club ... uhh ... idiosyncracies (you think Obama/McCain is political?), when it comes down to it: We're all runners. And one of the great things about runners: We want to help other people run better, and we all have opinions.

Prospect Park Track Club

Tuesday at 7 p.m., speed session at 15th St. and Prospect Park W (fee applies, check Web site)
Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Grand Army Plaza
Saturday at 8 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza (sponsored with Slope Sports)

Brooklyn Road Runners

Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 AM at 15th Street and Prospect Park West
Tuesday & Thursday: 6:45 PM at 9th Street and Prospect Park West

This, might I say, is not all encompassing: Various groups and stores, including JackRabbit and Nike, also organize runs, but just to get you started.

I'll be the first to admit, trying to jump into a situation where you don't know anyone can be daunting. But if you run, you're already past the first hurdle. Reach out ... or simply show up.

Don't get discouraged if you send an e-mail and no one responds (hint, hint to one of the clubs listed beginning with the letter B - if you get e-mails from runners who have questions: Respond!). Just show up. There are enough running groups at Grand Army Plaza on weekend mornings that it's not impolite to invite yourself along and suss them out.

Or, dare I say it in this completely hypersensitive world of ours: If you've seen a face several times during the daily run, simply introduce yourself and see if they want to run with you. The answer may be "no" (and honestly, there are days when I need to burn off steam, and the last thing I want is company).

Then again, the answer may be "yes." Take it from there.

Happy running.

Water Fountain Woes

The great water fountain shutoff has begun. Fountains in Cadman Plaza Park and in City Hall Plaza on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge were found to be (gasp) not working.

Note that the shutoffs seems to take place in waves - for example, the main one in Prospect Park by Grand Army Plaza is still working (albeit clogged, so it's kind of gross to drink from).

Good thing it's going to approach 60 degrees today ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Running Fun

Apropos of nothing, was reminded of the following video from Brooks that came out, what, two years ago? And remembered how perfect it is ...

Two Deaths at NY Marathon

By now, you've heard about the two deaths related to this year's New York Marathon.

I'm linking to a Newsday column here from someone who thinks NYRR is getting a free pass from the media, and argues that if the deaths had happened in other sports, there's be outcry and calls for government investigation.

I'm not sure I agree with the premise. Then again, this NY Times column puts a weird spin on it.

Sadly, there are going to be tragic circumstances at endurance events (the memory of Ryan Shay last year still echoes), and that no amount of preparation or precaution from race organizers is going to prevent this. What's the solution: Do you mandate that everyone pass some kind of fitness test?

Regardless of the circumstances (and my sympathies go out to the families of the victims), it's a reminder that we should all be careful and listen to our bodies, and respond appropriately.

New York Marathon Demographics

The New York Marathon folk keep adding to their results page as more information becomes available.

* Brooklyn Road Runners finished 18th among the men, led by Taylor Delhagen, and 22nd among the women

* 37,899 people finished the race.

* Of that total, slightly more than 40 percent completed their first marathon.

* Two-thirds of the finishers were men. 8,411, or less than one-fourth, were NYRR members.

* The listed temperature was 47 degrees (hah!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Others Write About Their NYC Experience

Some samplings from the blog postings across the Web (again, if you've got your own, please e-mail me at brooklynrunning(at)

From 2008 Journey to the New York Marathon:

"I will make this short, because I will give a full play by play later (and re-edit this blog), and then once again when the pictures are in, but I will say this. I went for broke. And I am glad I did. At one point I did one of my miles in 7:58."

Run Dangerously has some photos ... as does NYC Loves NYC ...

From Pink is the New Blog:

It’s unclear just how much money Ryan managed to raise on behalf of Team Fox (named for Michael J. Fox which seeks to raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research) but I’m sure he managed to pull in some much needed funds. Well done, Ryan ...

More to come ...

Top Brooklyn Woman

According to this article, Victoria Ganushina of Brooklyn and the Warren Street Social & Athletic Club was the top Brooklyn woman, finishing 20th overall among women with a time of 2:43:55. Her time was the second-best among local runners.

No Brooklyn men in the top 5 local runners, at least not yet.

Taylor Delhagen, from Brooklyn Road Runners, ran a 2:40:41, finishing 132nd among the men. There's no city breakdown on the results (unofficial so far), so it's easily possible that someone was faster.

** UPDATE: Edvard Gapak captured first for Brooklyn men with a 2:22:37.

Queens Triumphs Over Kings

... and everyone else in the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge. Results are below, a photo above (which due to some poor, poor camera work, has everyone in the photo *but* Danielle).

1 Moore, Susan (Queens), 3:24:26

2 Santamaria, Kelley (Staten Island), 3:33:32

3 Stone, Lisa (Manhattan), 3:35:20

4 Thompson, Barbara (Bronx), 3:43:26

5 Hansen, Danielle (Brooklyn), 3:45:47

Race Day Aftermath

A hearty congrats to everyone who helped out at this year's race. It's a massive endeavor, and a massive cleanup ... as you can see.

Race Day

Awesome race for everyone involved. It was chilly at the start, but the headwinds coming down Fourth Avenue, at least for some runners, weren't as bad as they could have been.

I watched just before Mile 9 at the corner of Lafayette/Cumberland (right by the stereo system that inspired people with such ditties as "Eye of Tiger" and "YMCA" (which became a participation sport), as seen by the photo above.

I'll relay some individual Brooklyn times as they become available: NYRR doesn't list finishers by city, so impossible to get everyone, but can nab some of the club times ...

Got a story to tell? Send an e-mail to brooklynrunning(at) and let me know.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NYRR Financing

For those of you (and I know there are many) who have questioned the NYRR approach to fundraising, spending, etc.

Here's a chart, courtesy of the New York Times, about their finances.

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

* For those of you who are inspired by the efforts of those running tomorrow: A reminder, there are four potential qualifying races left this year (you need nine), three of them in December. And you need to volunteer for a race as well.

* There are, of course, other ways to get into New York, many involving cash. A look at a possible new way ...

* Anyone want to take bets on what year full entry fees into New York will surpass $200? I'm betting 2010.

* They've started doing painting on the Brooklyn Bridge. Today and tomorrow, the bike lane was closed; would suspect that the running lane will "run" into problems in the next couple of weeks while the weather is still nice.

* Speaking of weather: Can you imagine what would have happened if the race was held this past Tuesday? What a mess.

* Applications for the PPTC Five-Mile Turkey Trot are kicking around - can do it via mail or online. Info is here. Worth signing up early - last year, the weather was great and generated more than 1,100 finishers, and a mob scene at the race day entry table. (Of course, there have been the 20 degree days as well). Put your marathon training to good use. ... and you can win a pie!

* You can tell the writers at the New York Times are running out of things to say about the marathon. Note today's top story ... and this quote regarding those who take the public option on the Verazzano ...

We don’t encourage that,” said Peter Ciaccia, the race’s technical director. “Especially on a windy day.”

* Amid all the slew of advice you're getting and having to process, remember two things:

-- You get an extra hour of sleep tonight.
-- Don't try anything new tomorrow. You've spent the last six months/year training for this thing - don't ruin it by introducing a new pair of shoes.

* For those of you trapped under a refrigerator, with only a TV remote to keep you company: The race will be broadcast on Channel 4 starting at 9 a.m. Hoping desperately that they keep the inane commentary to a minimum ...

* I'll do a separate entry on this later, but I'd love to here from people who run the race and have stories/experiences to tell. Feel free to e-mail me or simply respond to the appropriate blog post. Everything is fair game ....

The Day Before

One of the notable things about going for a 9-10 miles run the day before the New York Marathon (smart only if you're not running it) is the things that occur:

-- Seeing runners in town for the race posing for pictures on the Brooklyn Bridge or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

-- Seeing a decided drop in the number of runners on the roads (despite it being one of the finest days for running this fall

-- Making plans for the marathon-watching party (and handicapping your friends' chances, based on their training. Invariably, it's going to be a PR :-) as we cheer them on at Mile 9)

-- Feeling the aches and pains of the run reminding you why you're training faltered a bit, preventing you from this year's race.

Best of luck everyone who's participating in this year's race, or who has friends competing. It looks like it'll be a little cool in the morning, but could be almost perfect running conditions.

Oh, and before I forget, this week's running route - a simple run from Prospect Park over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, with a mild detour over to the Promenade. While the mileage here says 8.6, I'd guess it was a little bit more.