Friday, March 7, 2008

Club Night.



Yesterday, the New York Road Runner's had their annual "Club Night" party. It was hosted in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton on 54th & 6th Avenue.


The tickets were a little steep $72 per head, but having skipped it for three years in a row, I figured I was overdue to partake in some fun.


My day at work was very productive, and I was even given 1/2 day off for all the hard work that I had been putting in. In a time when job loyalty is hard to find, and when a good boss is even more challenging then that, I am blessed to have a good boss and a good job.


First place I went to after going into Manhattan was to the club itself on 89th street. I had to get my running number for this Sunday's Colon Cancer Challenge Race. I've done great in years past with this 4 miler, but I am taking it a step further this year, opting for the longer 15k (9.3 miles) instead.

After getting my running number, we still had some time to kill before the party. Plus, the special rates at the parking garage did not take into effect until 5:30pm, so we spent a little while in the gift shop of the Guggenheim Museum, right around the corner from Road Runners.

The weather had gotten considerably colder as the winds kicked up, and I was only to happy to finish my long walk from the garage and into the Hilton. I would later find out that Hilton was giving out parking vouchers to all of us. That sucked. The only reason why I parked elsewhere was because the person at Hilton who answered the phone mentioned that parking was offsite, and was $30. Oh well, at least I got my exercise for the day.


The grand ballroom was on the third floor. Scores of runners, all decked out in dark suits and short dresses were already there. By the time we were allowed to actually enter the ballroom, there were already about 1000 of us strong. Wow.




While we waited along with everyone else, I enjoyed a few glasses of McWilliams, a nice Shiraz from South Eastern Australia. There were several tables with cheese, crackers, apples and grapes. There were also several waitors walking around with hot plates too. It was nice.


When we finally did get inside the ballroom, I was shocked to see how massive it was. There were 80 tables (each sitting 10), and a large dancing floor in the middle. Up in front was a stage with steps going up on either side. The stage was easily 100 feet long. Behind the stage was a large projector screen, and on it was a dazzling video of runners from various "road runner" events that have taken place last year. The ballroom had a promenade that wrapped around the entire area, and the ceiling was easily 25 feet high. It was pretty spectacular.


We were sat down at table 68. The centerpiece was a vase with white lillies (for you ladies interested in these shinanigans). Every table belonged to one road club or another. Their were placards on each showing the name of the group. New York Harriers, West Side Track Club, Nike Athletics, you name it. They were all there and in force. My table's group name was Open Seating (I am such an ass) .

Anyway, it was interesting to see a nice little desert plate for each of us, and in front of that our first course for the evening. Salad. No sooner did we get comfortable, but a group of ladies sat down to my left. They all work at Long Island Jewish hospital they told me, and the lady to my immediate left was telling me about her upcoming race at the New York City Marathon. Grace went on to tell me how much fun the Disney maraton in Orlando was, plus the Tunnel to Tower race in Manhattan. Two people in two weeks have now told me about this race. My interest is peaking.



Another couple, sat down next to me. I got the guy's name as Oscar but forgot his wife's name. Anyway, Oscar (Uruguayan) and his wife (Dominican) have 4 children, live in Ossining, and were pretty happy to make it to the event. Apparently, they were late because of some babysitting issues, but were very friendly and outwardly and we talked a lot about running. As the night went on though, they seemed to be having a lot of fun too. With each other. I have to give them a lot of credit, I've never seen public displays of physical affection like that from even two single people, let alone a married couple with 4 kids. Twice, they excused themselves from the table.....I can only imagine where they actually went!

Dinner was served and it was a nice glazed chicken with vegetables and new potatoes. It tasted very good. NYRR began to present the awards and it was very cool. All of the nominees already had medals given to them at the registration booth outside of the ballroom, but now the winner was getting a glass beveled trophy. Awesome.


First awards went to the running clubs by age category, and then to the individuals. I noticed that the Taconic Track Club ran away with a lot of the awards. Worku Beyu in the meantime, easily won the Men's Open category.


I had wanted to meet the President of the Forest Park Road Runners club, Jack Berger. So with the fact that the table said "Open", I made my way back out, and found that he was sitting at table 69. I went back in, and went to the table asking for him. Lo and behold, he was sitting down now at our table! Anyway, I met Jack, who introduced me to Tom (Brogan) and Maggie. I think joining this club is going to be fun. They have runs on Saturday & Sunday morning at 8am, rain or shine. I will be running tomorrow in the monsoon with them, and I pledge to leave my Walkman (see how old I am, that I still call my iPod a Walkman?) behind. Although, I will surely train with one when I am alone, and also when I race, I won't have one in a group run. It's just antisocial.

The awards portion of the show was pretty nice, even if it was expectedly a little bit long. With all the age categories it's only natural. I actually like that they give out so many awards.





Toshiko (Toshi) D’Elia, age 78, who had won 24 Runner of the Year awards since the first Club Night, in 1980, won again last night. It's nice to know that someone 78 years young can win an award for a feat of athleticism!





Here are all of the winners from last night's event. Congratulations!
Club Night Award Winners

Fred Lebow Runners of the Year
Women - Alemtsehay Misganaw
Won: Coogan's, Run As One, Healthy Kidney

Men - Demesse Tefera

Overall Winner: Race To Deliver 4 miles - 18:49 4:42 pace.
Healthy Kidney - 4:35 pace

Men 12-14
Nathan MillerAge Cat. Wins:
adidas Run for the Parks
Fred Lebow Cross Country


Kieran Newcomb
Age Cat. Wins:
Continental Airlines 5th Avenue Mile (4:57 pace)
Norway Run (8th Overall)
Harry Murphy Cross Country Run
Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff
NYRR Holiday 4 Miler

Men 15-19
Carlos David Roa
Age Cat. Wins:
Run As One TGL Classic
NYRR Team Champs - Men
Continental Avenue 5th Ave. (4:42 pace)
Race To Deliver
Joe Kleinerman 10k
NYRR Holiday 4-Mile

Men 20-29
Worku Beyi
Age Cat. Wins:
Run As One TGL Classic
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Prostate (4:37 pace)

Men 30-39
Joel Martinez-Delon
Overall Winner:
NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix: Manhattan
Age Cat. Wins:
Run As One TGL Classic
Norwegian Festival Grete's Great Gallop

Men 40-44
Paul Thompson
Overall Winner:
NYRR Pete McArdle XC Classic
Age Cat. Wins:
NYRR Al Gordon Snowflake - Men
Healthy Kidney 10K
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
Joe Kleinerman 10K

Men 45-49
Piotr Karasiewicz
Age Cat. Wins:
New York Colon Cancer Challenge
Scotland Run 10K
NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix:Brooklyn
adidas Run for the Parks 4M
Run as One TGL Classic
NYRR Al Gordon Snowflake - Men
Healthy Kidney 10K
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
Henry Isola XC Classic
Race To Deliver
NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K
Joe Kleinerman 10K
NYRR Holiday 4-Mile

Men 50-54
Steve Calidonna Age Cat. Wins:
Run as One TGL Classic
Healthy Kidney 10K
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
NYRR Team Champs - Men
Fitness Games - 4M - Men
NYRR Fred Lebow Cross Country 5K

Alan S. RubenAge Cat. Wins:
Run as One TGL Classic
Healthy Kidney 10K
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
NYRR Team Champs - Men
Fitness Games - 4M - Men
NYRR Fred Lebow Cross Country 5K

Men 55-59
Paul C. Mascali
Age Cat. Wins:
NYRR Gridiron Classic
NYRR Half Marathon Grand Prix:Bronx
Al Gordon Snowflake - Men
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
NYC Half-Marathon Presented by Nike
Norwegian Festival Grete's Great Gallop
Joe Kleinerman 10K

Men 60-64
Julio A Aguirre
Age Cat. Wins:
NYRR Fred Lebow Classic
NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix:Manhattan
NYRR Half Marathon Grand Prix:Bronx
Al Gordon Snowflake - Men
NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix:Brooklyn
Run as One TGL Classic
Healthy Kidney 10K
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
Front Runners New York Lesbian and Gay Pride Run
NYRR Team Champs - Men
Henry Isola XC Classic
Fitness Games 4M - Men
NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix:Queens
ING NYC Marathon Tune-Up
NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix:Staten Island
Kurt Steiner Cross Country
NYRR Pete McArdle XC Classic
NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K
Joe Kleinerman 10K
JULIO WINS 18 RACES, AND COMES SECOND IN THE OTHER 4.
AMAZING!!!

Men 65-69
Sidney Howard
Thomas C Maile

Men 70-74
Witold Bialokur
Age Cat. Wins:
Al Gordon Snowflake - Men
Scotland Run 10K
Run as One TGL Classic
Japan Day
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
NYRR Team Champs - Men
Fitness Games 4M - Men
NYRR Fred Lebow Cross Country 5K
NYRR Pete McArdle XC Classic
NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K
THIS GUY'S FROM REGO PARK.
HEY...THAT'S RIGHT BY MY NECK OF THE WOODS!

Men 75-79
Kenneth J Jones
Age Cat. Wins:
NYRR Fred Lebow Classic
NYRR Gridiron Classic
New York Colon Cancer Challenge
Scotland Run 10K
adidas Run for the Parks 4M
New York Junior League Mother's Day
WABC Father's Day Fight Against Cancer
THIS GUY'S FROM LARCHMONT.
I LIVED NEAR HERE TOO ONCE. VERY PRETTY AREA.


Men 80-89
Sab S Koide Age Cat. Wins:
Sab ran in 30 races in 2007.
He came in first place 25 times.
He came in second 5 times.

Men 2-3 Slices
Alex Gonzalez Pizza Parlor Wins:
Alex has eaten pizza 74 times in 2007.
Alex has eaten 2 slices or more in over 65 individual seatings.
Once ate a slice in 17 seconds.
"If the manholes were made of pizza, the sewer would be a paradise."


NYRR Club Foundation winners Tyto Moore & Shamel Victoria

Women 12-14
Elizabeth Briasco

Women 15-19
Ivette Mejia

Women 20-29
Atalelech Ketema


Women 30-39
Rondi Davies

Women 40-44
Fiona Bayly
Deborah Gaebler

Women 45-49
Gordon Bakoulis
Cindy Pomeroy

Women 50-54
Sharon Vos


Women 55-59
Kathryn Martin

Women 60-64
Sylvie Kimche

Women 65-69
Zofia Turosz

Women 70-74
Ginette Bedard
Women 75-79
Toshiko K D'Elia

Women 80+
Joan Rowland




50th Anniversary Champions' Circle Awards

It's interesting to note, that I happen to know Julio Aguirre, now in the men's 60-64 category pretty well. Here is a man who didn't even start running until much later in life. He never knew what a gift he had until he began racing. On January 26, 1992, he did his first race with the New York Road Runner's Club. It was a 5k, and his pace was 7:10. He was 45 years old. And that was one of his worst times ever.


In the span of 16+ years Julio has run in more than 387 races. In those races, he has finished in third place 49 times, came in second 82 times, and has outright won his age category 267 times. If there was a Babe Ruth of Modern Running for Senior Runners, the statue would be bearing his name.


I had the wonderful fortune of meeting Julio a few times while I had worked for the then MCI Corporation in Manhattan. Besides being a track star, Julio held a modest position working at the Super Runners Shop right inside of Grand Central Station. I had been there a few times in 2005, and in search of winter gear. I didn't even know who he was until much afterwards when someone told me, but I always remembered how friendly he was with me and how much I learned from him about running. He also mentioned that he used to never stretch, how he ate whatever he wanted, and ultimately, how he had suffered a heart attack, and was told he should never run again. That was several years ago. Last night, that heart attack must have been the furthest thing from his mind.


A maverick among runners, Julio sported a WHITE suit. And like most of us of Spanish & Latin descent, he was doing a pretty good job on the dance floor as well. Julio might not be a computer junkie like I am, so he may never see this article. But if he should stumble across this little snipit, all I can say is that Julio, for all the naysayers out there that tell me I am too old, or too fat or too anything, I just think of your love for the sport, and your dedication, and I say IT CAN BE DONE!


For a full list of Julio Aguirre's accomplishments, click here --> http://web5.nyrrc.org/cgi-bin/htmlos.cgi/731054.1.1570247748419896310 or just go to http://www.nyrr.org/, select "Results", and under the NYRR History, enter in his first and last name.


The Achilles Track Club, is a special club of physically challenge individuals who compete in races. It goes without saying the incredible fortitude and courage they exude on and off the race courses, as they overcome their impediments in ways that I don't even think I could relate.




This year the Achilles Athlete of the Year Daniel Trush suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm 10 years ago at age 12. He was in a coma for over a month. Confined to a wheel chair for 2 years. Last year he completed the ING New York City Marathon in 7:46:12.




The Blogrunner Cometh!




At the table.





Jack Berger, President of the Forest Park Road Runners Club. Let's Go Club!

Big Production!

2 comments:

DGA said...

Excellent report on a $72 chicken dinner! No wonder I LOVE NY!

Joke aside that was very nice of you to praise Julio Aguirre. I remember Julio the day of the Cross Island marathon in 1972 or 73? We were lined up in the middle of the runners. It was a very cold day and he noticed I was shivering. He handed me a woolen weaved cap and said:" This might help ". He also gave me a chocolate bar to build some calories before the race. I felt so much better and was able to run all the way...TO THE BATHROOM 5 TIMES DURING THE RACE!

I am sure that was another Julio Aguirre, but you made me relive this unforgettable race (both).

Alex Gonzalez said...

Two things

1. YOU ARE A LUNATIC.
2. Come back to this post. I've updated photos of the winners, with their 2007 Accomplishments.

Bonus Thing: (Third thing)
3A. YOUR RACE WAS IN JUNE.
3B. IT WAS 76 DEGREES OUTSIDE.
3C. EVERYONE IN YOUR PHOTOS IN
THAT RACE WERE WEARING CUT-OFF
T-SHIRTS, AND SHORTS.