by Lonny Townley
Last fall, the Greater Long Island Running Club had the good fortune to receive a $1,000 grant from New York State. The appropriation caught the attention of the WABC-TV news department, apparently seeking evidence of waste in government spending. Club president, Mike Polansky, who defended the grant in an interview with a WABC reporter contends, “Spending public money to promote fitness and health shouldn’t need to be defended at all.Û¢bCrLf Mike continues, “If I have a prejudice, it’s a prejudice against couch potatoes and the kind of sedentary lifestyle that ages people before their time and ultimately puts the kind of strain on our medical care system that Society can and should be investing in eliminating.Û¢bCrLf
Golden Beacon of Support
One unfortunate consequence of the national economic meltdown has been the disappearance of sponsorship funding. Fortunately for the Central Mass Striders, the Polar Corporation has renewed its club sponsorship for the 16th year. The duration of most sponsorship arrangements normally last a fraction of what the CMS/Polar relationship has endured. Instead, CMS and Polar have built a solid, mutually beneficial alliance that will keep Polar part of the CMS family and running community into the next decade.
Stimulus Packages of a Different Sort
Despite the national economic turmoil, the treasuries of many clubs haven’t run dry. For example, the Rhode Island Runners have initiated their own stimulus package through the Club’s Grand Prix competition. This year the highest scoring finishers will share rewards from a nearly $400 prize purse. The Hudson Mohawk Road Runners continue to make $1,000 grants to organizations that promote running within the Capital Region and grant free entry to club members in its winter series races. Meanwhile, the Falmouth Track Club has initiated its “Run for FreeÛ¢bCrLf program. Every member who wears the club outerwear at races can have his or her entry fees at USATF and FTC events reimbursed. Entry fees for other races may also be reimbursed based upon his or her volunteer work for the club. Club member Glen Rogers proclaims, “All you gotta do now is Û¢RUN FREE.Û¢bCrLf
Of all the volunteer assignments with which clubs seem to struggle, race day volunteers may be the most difficult to recruit even though running clubs stage most race events. The Maine Track Club, one of the region’s most prolific road race organizers, appears committed to address issues related to volunteerism. First, the Club’s newsletter New Run reports that club members have begun to discuss how race directors can be rewarded “for all of the hard work and long hours they put in. It is a big issue.Û¢bCrLf In addition, as MTC seeks to recruit new members to assist with race management, the Club is also investigating the purchase of its own chip timing system. In theory, chip timing eliminates the need for a plethora of finish line volunteers. But, as President Mark Grandonico observes, “The same old issue, you can have all the fancy equipment in the world, but it’s no good unless you have people trained to use it.Û¢bCrLf Will the trade-off to “high tech volunteersÛ¢bCrLf work out? Time will tell.
Race Networking on the Net
The Hopkinton Running Club uses its website to benefit the racing interests of its members. The Club invites members to post a list of races in which they plan to compete, up to six months in advance, so that other club members can make plans to join them and perhaps even travel together. Among all New England running clubs, the New England 65+ Running Club occupies a special niche with its age restriction membership qualification. Several members also belong to, and often compete for, other clubs. In order to advance the cause of supporting events that feature 70 years and older age divisions, President Jerry LeVasseur proposes that all 70 years of age and older members list NE 65+ Running Club as their USATF club when joining the Association. Jerry reports, “The New England Association does not have a 70+ division but I was told there would be one if we had a team.Û¢bCrLf That sounds like an interesting strategy to garner much deserved age group recognition.
Speaking of recognition, that’s what Hall of Fame honors are all about. The Central Maine Striders recently reported on the latest inductees into the Maine Running Hall of Fame that include: Scott Brown of Lewiston, Andrea Hatch of Castine, Julie Kirkland of Portland and Eric Nedeau of Kennebunk. On a national level, the late Nate White, a former member of the Syracuse Chargers was inducted into the USATF Masters Hall of Fame. The Chargers newsletter notes, “Nate was both an outstanding age-group athlete and one of the most significant figures in the history of the CNY running community,Û¢bCrLf Interestingly, a couple of other Chargers earned recognition off the track, roads and trails. Greg Spears II, a Henniger High School football star was recently named Central New York Football Co-Player of the Year. Greg may follow in the footsteps of another former Charger Will Allen, a starting cornerback for the Miami Dolphins, who represented the Chargers during the football off-seasons.
Iron vs. Granite? Who’s Toughest?
USATF-NE boasts an Iron Runner competition that rewards members who compete in all seven series races with “awesomeÛ¢bCrLf Iron Runner jackets. The less well-known New Hampshire Grand Prix features its own seven Granite State events that, the Gate City Striders report, “draw the most active running clubs from our great state to compete against each other for bragging rights.Û¢bCrLf Competitors who complete the grueling seven races earn the title “Granite RunnerÛ¢bCrLf and are awarded “awesomeÛ¢bCrLf Granite Runner polo shirts. At this rate, competitors who double the USATF and NHGP series events will need to invest in more closet space to store their clothing bonanza.
It’s All About the Attitude
Finally, it’s a rare event when an accomplished marathoner credits the inspirational thoughts from a running publication for success in other, seemingly unrelated endeavors. Judy J. Brenner of the Rochester Runners, however, does just that. Judy writes that she was struck with a profound understanding when she read fellow club member Don Yeaton’s essay on attitude. Attending college at age 51 was, for Judy, a new marathon experience. (She completed her first marathon at age 41 or 42.) She realized, after reading Don’s essay, “My ATTITUDE and determination got me through college proudly. Today, it is important to be reminded of that word ATTITUDE – it can and does play a strong role in work, dealings with people, and getting over injuries and just living life!Û¢bCrLf