The Staten Island Runner

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February 19, 2001 


Last year on April 10 a column appeared under the NYRROArs rubric at this web site in which I criticized the Staten Island running community and particularly the various and sundry event committees for not ensuring that their road races were announced and included in the New York Road Runners Club (NYRRC) annual event calendar. Not one Staten Island race was listed on the calendar for the year 2000 except for those events for which the NYRRC was itself responsible (the Staten Island Half-Marathon and the Summer Speed Series). As all the other boroughs of the City of New York were well-represented with events listed on both the calendar and the NYRRC’s web site, I questioned why Staten Island, with its race schedule as crowded as that of any locale, should be so conspicuously absent. After noting that historically Staten Island races have been hard to find in both the NYRRC listings and in other calendars, including those of the “new media” (Internet and such—at least since the days of the now defunct Staten Island Road Runners and Tortoise Track and Road Runners) I attributed the situation to Staten Island chauvinism: the attitude so often found here that is suspicious of “outsiders” (basically, anyone not an Island native), revels in separation from the rest of New York City, and masks a feeling of inferiority with the bluster of superiority. I postulated that such an attitude keeps most Island event committees from being interested in getting races any publicity—or competitors—from off-Island; generally it leads them to list races only on this web site and in the monthly running column offered by the Staten Island Advance. Beyond being moronic—shouldn’t all races, especially those set up to raise funds for charity, want to attract as many competitors as possible, no matter where they hail from?—I went on to point out that it leads to embarrassment at best (I was certainly embarrassed when the director of the Metropolitan Athletics Congress Long-Distance Grand Prix Series asked me why there were no races in Staten Island, as it would be really nice if all 5 boroughs were included), and the perpetuation and credence of all the worst stereotypes of Island residents as provincial and bigoted at worst. I then urged all race directors/committees to make an effort to list their events in 2001—it’s not that hard to do, especially since the clubs that are responsible for putting on most of local races are part of the NYRRC’s Club Council and are represented at Council meetings.

So now another year has come around, the 2001 NYRRC event calendar is out (much earlier than last year’s, thankfully), and what do we notice? All the boroughs with their events listed, except for Staten Island. Not a single race on the Island made it into print. Again. Hell, if you didn’t live here, or have contact with runners from here (or maybe even if you did), you’d think there’s not a race on the Island all year except for the few organized by the NYRRC.

What’s going on here? Are we trying to prove that we’re xenophobic Luddites? Are we really afraid that someone from outside the borough might come and win one of the races out here, God forbid, and that would be some kind of horrible disaster? Are we just too dumb or procrastinating to get race listings over to the NYRRC in time for them to be appear? Or do we just don’t give a crap?

All may not be lost—one of the wonderful things about the electronic era is that printed materials are less set than they used to be, and while the NYRRC will not be putting out any revised versions of its printed 2001 event calendar, it does list the same information on its website, and that is updatable, as are the regional event listings that are included with its bi-monthly magazine, the New York Runner. But will anyone make any effort to see some Staten Island races are included?

I myself have spoken with some of the echelon that is responsible for updating the web information over at the Club about some of the upcoming Island races. But as I am not currently a director of any race, I do not have the authority to officially list one with the Club—such listings require contact names/numbers and other specific information that can only come from a race director or committee officer. So I specifically ask those esteemed personages—can you see your way clear to get information about your events over to the Club, so this year it might actually get on the web site and next year it might be available from all sources (print and electronic)? And while you’re at it, you think you can send info to some of the regional magazines and web sites with race listings as well? This isn’t rocket science, people. Don’t you want runners to come to your races? (Any reason the events shouldn’t be listed as many places as possible?) Or do you want to continue to confirm the regional road racing community’s—and larger community’s—attitudes about this burg?

--Glenn Ribotsky