Not wishing to bury the lead, I’ll begin by observing that the Warrens Street 50+ mens team — consisting of Jim Stemm, Jonathan Sumpter, and me — came in second this morning at the more-difficult-than-we-expeccted Club Championship Five-Miler. I same more difficult because a number of teammates thought, as I did, that notwithstanding the low temperature the conditions were tough.

Finishing the Club Champs

by Shamala Thompson

I was not helped in being kept awake until after 1 by a circling police helicopter, search-light searching. Up at 6:10, out of the house by 6:45, and an easy drive to a parking spot on East 108th for a short walk to the start. 41 was my number, which was a surprise since this is the one race in which I’ve gotten a red-number in the past. I’m living off a very old time — NYRR assigns corrals by one’s fastest pace in a prior race and then alphabetically within that corral — and didn’t deserve to be where I was. So I stood at the rear of the corral and when then opened the red to come through was more than happy to have a number of them pass me before the start. The corrals themselves, though, are far smaller than normal, blue being a couple of hundred.

With the objective of keeping it relaxed, a number more passed me in the early going. Actually I was road kill for a lot of others for the first 2.5 miles. It was not pretty. Mile 1 took forever. As we turned north at about that 2.5 mile mark I stabilized, as is generally the case. I passed some coming home. I was running hard. Cat Hill helped because I could pick up the perceived tempo and begin the effort towards home, with the final mile slightly downhill.

I did have a bit of a scare as I approached the finish. For the first time, I started getting shaky in the legs. The finish is shortly after a left-turn onto the 103rd Street Transverse and before I made the turn I questioned whether I would make it. As I said, it was tougher than I expected. I took water at 2. I was fine afterward and in the post-race jog. I don’t know what caused it.

Typically, I ran the tangents while most others ignored them. I’ve criticized NYRR for this in the past and it happened again. For reasons unfathomable to me, it refuses to properly set up cones/stanchions. These define the (for this direction) right-hand border of the race. In many spots where the course turns clockwise, there were huge gaps between cones so that running within the cones meant running outside the course, the latter being measured after the first 2 miles as the inside lane and the middle of the center. (In fact, in our race instructions we were told to keep the cones to our right because “that’s how the course is measured”. (Yes, I have brought this to the direct attention of NYRR. I was told it would be taken care of. In some races it has been. Not today. Yet it would be simple enough to have someone ride the course shortly beforehand to make sure the cones were properly and adequately set. Do I kvetch over minutia? Sure. Fundamentals like this, though, should be fundamental.

In 31:03 (81.19 AG), I was our third 50+. Unfortunately, I was also our fifth 40+ and our 10th Open. (Bearing in mind that mile 4 was long and mile 5 was short, my splits: 6:19, 6:11, 6:22, 6:23, 5:49.)

This is the only race that is set up with a men’s and a women’s section, the latter starting at 9. [Edit: Two people, Linda and Lara, point out that the Fitness 4-miler in September is also a split race. My recollection many of the other NYRR 4-milers were as well.] So after we finished, a bunch of us jogged to the mile mark to watch the women run. It was NYAC dominance, as expected. Same when we headed back to watch in the final half.

I showered at Mike G’s place and headed to John Nelson’s building for the traditional post-Club Championship party. John had reserved his building’s penthouse, with spectacular views. A bit sunny, as my red-neck will attest. It was fun, with lots of talk of the old-days.

Before getting to John’s, though, I stopped at NYRR’s building on East 89th. I understood that old issues of Runner Magazine were available. I wanted to see them because NYRR does not have results on-line before 1987. I wanted to take a look at my results from long ago. Sadly, because of the need for space, the library was long closed. No one knew anything about where there might be issues. I hope that they weren’t just tossed aside.