Posted by Andy Burek on January 17, 2005 at 08:56:01:
As most of you know by now, the NYRR Club Team Championship schedule for 2005 has been established (see the SI Running website for the schedule and details). I represented the SIAC at the Club Council meeting that was held on Monday, January 10, 2005. Unlike other years where the clubs made the selection of the races for the series, this year the NYRR club came in their recommendations without consulting the clubs. When the club council members were given the proposed schedule for the entire year, many members raised questions and concerns since many races previously selected in the past years (in particular the 5 Borough Half Marathon series) were eliminated from the race calendar. When questioned why, the NYRR answered that they were proposing a new type of program, which was geared toward building to the NYC Marathon. The NYRR initially proposed that all the winter and spring races be of short distances (from 5K to 5 miles) and then build up the distances as we got closer to the marathon (with the exception of the Club Team Championship race in August). When club council representatives protested the removal of the half marathon series, the NYRR club indicated that they have replaced it with another type of series, which featured various distances (starting with the Brooklyn 12K which replaced the Brooklyn Half Marathon). When questioned why this was done, the response was that clubs asked for this. Being the representative from the SIAC, I was never asked for our opinion on the subject (although there has been an ongoing discussions with some clubs and the NYRR throughout 2004. At the time of the discussions with the NYRR, I had recommended to the NYRR that they contact our club president since the club president rules on policy).
In general, the overall position from the people I spoke to was negative about the changes in the schedule. Even some of the members of the Council that are employed by the NYRR protested the elimination of the Half Marathon series since most runners enjoyed using this distance and used it to build towards a Spring or Fall marathon. Others stated that their clubs came to use the series as a focal point in their yearly training for their members. Discussions at times got heated. Finally, the NYRR insisted on a vote on the proposed series. Two races were protested and changed. Initially, the March race that was proposed was the USA 8K Championships, which will be held on March 26th at Randalls Island. People wanted to have the Brooklyn 12K as the race since it would resemble the eliminated Brooklyn Half Marathon and would be the only race that will be a club championship points race that will be run in Brooklyn (there will not be club championship race that will be held in Staten Island this year. I donít consider the NYC Marathon as a Staten Island race ). Council reps stated that there was hardly any public transportation to Randalls Island and the proposed starting time for the 5K would be at 8:10 in the morning. The NYRR stated that they would be providing buses to Randalls Island. Protests back to this proposal stated that people from the outer boroughs would have to travel to Manhattan (either by car, train or bus) and then get on a bus. Some stated that their members would have to get up by 4:30 Ė 5:00 in the morning to participated in a 5K in March!!! The proposed April race was to be the Queens 5K. Again, club council reps asked why the Queens Half Marathon was eliminated and was feed the same response as before. However, enough protests were made that a vote had to be held on which race would be selected and the 15K was the winner. These 2 changes took approximately 30 minutes to vote on once all the opinions were heard and voted on. At that time the NYRR would not take any further proposed changes since they stated that they wanted to keep the other races they proposed as the club championship races for the year.
For everyoneís information, I had also proposed a change (before the discussion of the new schedule) to the Fatherís Day Race for Men. I stated that this type of race should not be considered a club team race since it is a day usually reserved for family gatherings and runners from our borough also participate in another race series that has an event on the same day. The NYRR listened to my proposal and asked if anyone in the council would second my recommendation. Nobody in the group seconded the proposal. Ironically, 40 minutes later a female rep from another club stated that the NYRR should not consider the Motherís Day races as club team races since many members of her club would be away or didnít want to run races on a day that was reserved for families. Wonder where she was when I asked the same thing previously.
In summary, the NYRR Half Marathon Series has been replaced with a series that covers various distances in each of the boroughs. The Brooklyn Half has been replaced with the Brooklyn 12K. The Queens Half has been replaced with the Queens 15K. The Bronx Half has been replaced by the Bronx 20K. The Manhattan Half has been replaced by the NYC Marathon 25K and the Staten Island Half has been replaced by the Staten Island 30K.
The NYRR stated that they are using this as an experiment and will wait upon the result of this yearís series to judge if they will use it again. I would strongly recommend that all runners send opinions to the NYRR about this change. Give it a chance, but if it falls on its face, let them know about it. By giving your opinion, you could shape the races and schedule for next year.
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