RacesLikeAGirl posted on Facebook a Village Voice article regarding Kenyans and Ethiopians who run for the Westchester Track Club entitled “Will Run for Food.” (It also made the LetsRun homepage.) This is sometimes a touchy issue in NY running circles, along the lines of “WTC doesn’t count because it’s just a bunch of foreigners.”

Now Warren Street is also populated by a bunch of foreigners. Our top masters include a Brit and a couple of Frenchmen. Our open team has a bunch of Ukrainians. And long ago WSSAC was the first US team for Khalid Khannouchi. That was after my time, and I never met KK, but I do know Tracy Sundlun. He was my coach when I was first with Warren Street and like most in the local community, such as WTC’s Mike Barnow, what he cared about was enthusiasm for the sport and willingness to put in the effort. And like most clubs, this was not a function of speed and we’ve always had a range of talent.

I have no trouble with anyone and everyone racing. I might feel differently were I to find myself in 8th in a race behind a bunch of Kenyans and Ethiopians but I don’t think so. I recall the old days when the Trevira Twosome was a major race with most of the top road runners at the starting line. Literally, right in front of me. They’d be gone real fast and after they were it was a race much like any other with me trying to run as well as I was capable of running. (The overall race combined the times of partners over the 10-mile course in Central Park. I outkicked Grete one year.) Pretty much like any other race.

Perhaps my best race of the year was the Healthy Kidney 10K, and I finished over 7 minutes behind the winner. And as I’ve said, my favorite NYRR races are the most crowded, the Club series, because they bring out the competition.

I do sometimes wonder about WTC however. I know a number of runners for the club but have never thought of joining, although (as the title of this Blog suggests) I live in Westchester. They are all great folks and I see them frequently at races. (Mike Owens, mentioned in the Voice article gave me a Manhattanville XC/Track shirt since it’s my alma mater.) Yet the Club seems to be split between the elites and the “recreational,” training on different days in different places. I may have scant hope of doing anything but gaining a point here or there for the WSSAC Masters team, but I wonder how I would feel if I never had a shot of placing for the team because it was so stacked with foreign talent that will obliterate every other local team when it decides to show up for a race.

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