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Steve Lastoe, he of NYCRuns, is fine-tuning the Inter-Club Challenge pretty much as the Constitutional Convention fine-tuned the Articles of Confederation. He’s creating a new, better structure.

We spoke about it a bit on last Sunday’s episode of the New York Running Show, which in turn followed a meeting held at Steve’s place for representatives of a number of local clubs, and two of my friends, Paul and Amy, were among the attendees.

As background, there is the NYRR’s Club Series. It is a series of NYRR races of varying distances — the races are selected each year by the Club Council — in which points are awarded to teams (including age-group divisions) throughout the year and at year’s end champions are crowned. It’s one of the best things that NYRR does, and when I ran its races I essentially only ran club races, knowing that most of the other competitive folks in my age group would be there.

A number of club runners, however, have bristled at the NYRR structure, and the crowding of races and early entry deadlines. Not that they will abandoning them in the future, but the idea of an alternative series is appealing. After all, the Club Series works because of the runners who show up, not the organization that puts on its races.

How the races are to be scored in the NYCRuns series remains to be decided. But the basic idea is this: Every race put on by a club, such as VCTC’s Riverdale Ramble and CPTC’s Founders’ Run,  will be included in the series. I don’t know whether there will be a commitment obligation of participating clubs, but the idea will be that mutual support for these races will exist. Insofar as there are races outside of NYC, such as the Rye Derby put on by Taconic, it may be that they rotate, e.g., every year there will be one or more races from among Westchester, Nassau, and Bergen Counties, but dealing with them is not a front-burner issue.

NYCRuns hopes to benefit by having a formal relationship with these races (as it does, e.g., for the CPTC race) and may add certain other races to the mix.

Again, the concept is based on the idea that if-you-build-it/they-will-come, the “it” being a quality series of races, the “they” being club runners.

It’s exciting. Steve’s having another meeting in early December, shortly before the Ekiden, which is as a separate matter a great event for clubs.

Given the momentous nature of the meeting, Steve hired someone to record it. I don’t see Amy though:

A while ago I expressed my yearning to have an Ekiden in Central Park, channeling the enthusiasm of the joy in such an adventure from Ernie Banks.

New York City Ekiden entry

I have the benefit of knowing NYCRuns‘ Steve Lastoe, and this worked out well on this front too.  He got a date in Central Park for a race and decided to “do an Ekiden”. I spoke to him a few times about it, and we hope it will expand. For now, We Have Us An Ekiden (albeit only 4-persons this year). The course will start and finish at what was Tavern on the Green and is the following clockwise loops:

  • 2 Lower Loops (3.4 miles).
  • Five-Mile Loop (5).
  • Full Loop (6).
  • 1 Lower Loop (1.7).

Basic. four-persons/four-legs. (There’s also a 2-person option.)

The downside is the date: February 26. Not so pleasant to be waiting around for teammates when it’s chilly (and let’s hope for no snow). Now this is a week before the first NYRR Club race, i.e., Coogan’s. But I hope that people can handle racing twice in, what?, seven days?

BUT: Did I mention? We Got Us An Ekiden. Not Just Another Race in the Park.

Here’s a video from the 1988 Ekiden put on by NYRRC:

I had a number of discussions with Steve Lastoe of NYCRuns, who’s been instrumental in getting The New York Running Show up and running, as well as with others about NYRR. Incidental stuff mostly, like the NYC HM debacle.

Long-story short, I am going to be writing a weekly column for NYCRuns on the NYRR. I explain why I have an interest in NYRR in my first piece, The 800 Pound Gorilla. For this in particular, I’d appreciate any feedback, including ideas for columns, from readers. My perspective is mine and it’s fairly limited.

Separately, I hope NYCRuns will be instrumental in knitting together the area running community. Its calendar of events is important — although its forum hasn’t gotten traction — and is the place to go to find non-NYRR races in the tri-state area.

Along these lines, Julie suggested a non-NYRR series for local clubs. It’s an idea that I hope has legs — several clubs have expressed interest in it — and I’ll be writing about that in a bit. And in case I forget, Julie is hosting a RunnersRoundTable on Monday at 7 on Eating Disorders and Exercise Addiction. While I’d enjoy listening to her interview barnyard chickens, for this she worked hard to pull together folks who know whereof they speak.

The 5K

Pete Magill (who, if memory serves, ran a 14:50 5K at Cascade when he was 47) posted a piece from Running Times on the 5K, Solving the 5K Puzzle. He does not, however, want us to think he’s resuming his blogging. It’s an article in which there has been some demand. I did a 5000 on the track a few years back. I asked Erin, a teammate who ran for Wake Forest, for suggestions. She said, break it up into quarter segments and go through each. Great, I thought, until about 600 in I realized that I was barely into the first quarter of the race and couldn’t imagine how long it would take. I went into the lead — it was a Masters Race — at about half-way, and GD stayed on my shoulder until absolutely blowing me away with 400 or so to go. Still, it was an experience, albeit one I’m not ready to jump into again.


I’ve added a link to NYCRuns.  It’s a project of Steve Lastoe to try to bring information about the NYC running community together. I’ve had a number of email exchanges with him, and he really wants it to be a valuable resource. Worth a look. (Full disclosure: Steve asked to use one of my posts on the site. I said yes.)

The Clock Strikes Thirteen At Midnight

I came upon the following “Correction” about my friend Matt’s DumpRunnersClub:

    On Episode 88 of my show this week, I mistakenly said that the “Dump Runners Club” referred to the toilet. When listening to that show, I mis-heard public works facilities as “public facilities”, which I took to mean toilets. I apologize to my listeners for my honest mistake.

Hey, how about an apology to Matt? I don’t know the difference between an honest and a dishonest mistake, but I wonder what the backstory is on this one. Matt has the only solo podcast to which I listen and he’ll be joining me on May 19 on the RunnersRoundTable for the topic, Reasons Not To Run A Marathon. In case you missed it, in addition to Flo, JT has been Mulling Over The Marathon. A few more and we’ll have ourselves a movement.

Speaking of Massachusetts — and bonus points if you got the connection — Monday is Patriots’ Day. If you know someone who’s running, you can get “Athletic Alerts” from various spots on the course. When I did NY 2006 I recall passing the 5K mat and thinking, “Now everyone knows I’m committed.” Right now I’m tracking Nos. 2384, 7073, 7774, 13897, and 15771. If you’re doing it and want another tracker, let me know.

Men and Women Racing

Here’s a piece from Science of Sport, “The abolition of gender categories in sport: a sound argument?” I threw a couple of comments up, including something interesting about horses from Slate, but I don’t think it makes sense for runners. I do like the idea of separate marathons though. I’ve long since passed from caring whether any women are ahead of me in races; in NYRR races, there will always be plenty of women ahead of me. Except at the Club Champs. Separate races.


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