Winter running series keeps motivation
By Laurie Gordon
This time of year, self improvement is on everyone's mind, and the
Orange Runners Club has a solution to help keep that resolution: The
23rd Annual 5-Kilometer Winter Series.
"Cold weather can be a great opportunity for some to really let it all
go and shoot for a PR (personal record). The current course is a double
loop with one moderate hill at about the 1.2 and 2.4 mile marks, but
depending upon the weather conditions, can set up for fast times," said
Todd Jennings of Monroe.
Though Jennings has run on and off since he was 16, he said he's only
been a "dedicated" runner since 2003. A member of the Middletown-based
Orange Runners Club (ORC) for the past three years, he decided to take
a more active role for 2007 and is serving as one of its vice
presidents. Jennings is also a member of Sullivan Striders, ORC's
sister club based in Rock Hill.
The 2007 Winter Series kicked off last Sunday, January 14th. Upcoming
dates are: Sunday, January 28th, Sunday, February 15th, and Sunday,
February 25th. The fourth Winter Series race will also open up the 2007
Hudson Valley Grand Prix Season.
The Winter Series is held at day-of-race registration will take place
at the Monhegen Middle School, located on County Road 78, at 11 am on
race days. The races, themselves, are staged on a double loop course
around Middletown Community Campus on Mohegen Avenue.
The Series' race director is Dave Badolato of Otisville. A member of
the Orange Runners Club since 2001, Badolado served as club president
for several years before stepping down this year. "It was time for some
new blood at the reigns," he said. "You have to have a changing of the
guard now and then with any club to keep things going strong and
generate new ideas." Badolato has not, however, relinquished his
position as race director of The Winter Series nor of several other
Orange Runners Club races. The Series is near and dear to his heart,
and though the club had to make some changes when the Community Campus
said they could no longer use a building there as a staging point,
"we've persevered." Now the club holds registration and post-race
festivities across the street at the Monhagen Middle School. "It's more
costly, but at least the Series can continue," Badolato said.
The Orange Runners Club is a non-profit organization that promotes the
sport of running for fitness, competition and socialization. The Club
was formed in May of 1980 when Bruce Birnbaum and his running pals put
their heads together with the intent of creating a "connection" between
themselves and those runners they so often greeted on the roads.
Birnbaum and fellow runner, John Cummins, developed a mailing list and
later held a meeting at the Hideaway Tavern in Middletown.
As Birnbaum described it, a "hearty group of 40 people showed up and
formed what was to be the nucleus of the club." Now 23 years and over
380 members later, the Orange Runners Club remains "committed to
supporting and encouraging runners of all ages and levels of
experience" The current president is "a man of many races," Steve
Holmbraker, of Middletown.
There are many reasons people run, but said Birnbaum, "Whether it's to
lose weight; achieve or maintain fitness; complete or win road races;
enjoy the outdoors in a free and unencumbered way; or experience the
inner strength, growth, and higher level of self-esteem that comes from
meeting and exceeding your goals," the Orange Runners Club aims to
bring people together to enjoy the sport. The 5-K Winter Series is a
vital component to the club's offerings.
Marilyn Fairman, of Johnstown, said, "I found that signing up for the
Winter Series 5K races gave me a lot of motivation to run outdoors
during the week in the winter, even when it was cold and damp. Knowing
I would be racing every other weekend gave me that extra push out the
door." She calls the Orange Runners Club Winter Series "invigorating"
and said the after-race socialization is great. "There are friendly
people stationed at every mile marker to give you your times even when
it is freezing and windy. They are always there to cheer the runners
on. The [club] members are
friendly and welcoming to racers of all running abilities."
Walter Johnston, of Hillburn, said that besides liking to race, "having
the opportunity to compete during the wnter gives me the motivation to
continue training throughout the whole year." Johnston added, "We all
know how hard it is to get back in shape, so my philosophy is never to
get out of shape."
Rockland County's Kathleen Davies has been running for the past 21
years and is a member of the Orange Runners Club, Sullivan Striders and
the Rockland Road Runners. Davies has been running the Orange Runners
Club Winter Series since 1998. "That's almost as long as I've been
running and I love it," she said. A common winner is Andy Latincsics,
from Newton, NJ, who travels to the races with his running buddy, Lorne
Mac Donald, of Susses, NJ. "One of my goals every year is to complete
one loop and pass by the finish line before Andy finishes," Davies
said. She added, "Only the craziest (not the fastest) runners are out
there in the winter weather, from awful to gorgeous. It keeps me
running and racing all winter. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Latincsics loves the Series and all of the races the Orange Runners
Club Stages. A recent "guest speaker" at a club meeting, he said, "It's
just pure running fun." The husband of Dawn and father of Tyler and
Molly shoots to the Series with his buddy and returns in time for
family time by early afternoon.
Another winter running option is training runs offered by The Orange
Runners Club's sister club, The Sullivan Striders. The Striders stage
an annual half marathon in early March called Celebrate Life Half
Marathon, and hold half marathon training runs from Rock Hill Country
Grill located off Exit 110 of Route 17. The course is marked with
yellow arrows and water and Gatorade are available along the route.
Training runs are held every other Saturaday at 9 am. Another spring
Sullivan Striders race is the Wurtsboro Mountain 30K (18.64 miles).
Starting with a four-mile climb, the race is slated for March 24th this
year and brings out runners with an adventurous side. For information
about the half and 30K races, visit http://www.sullivanstriders.org
Getting back to the Winter Series, Badolato said, "It breeds
motivation. The participants motivate one another and that's great to
see. Many aren't as motivated in the winter to run on their own, but
when there's a group event like this, it's much easier. It's just a
great way to stay in shape, see old friends, meet new people and have
23rd ORANGE RUNNERS CLUB 5-KILOMETER WINTER SERIES
REMAINING RACE DATES: Sun, 1/28, Sun, 2/11, Sun, 2/25
WHEN: 11 am
WHERE: Pre Register at: www. Orangerunnersclub.org or Register Day of
Race at Monhegen Middle School (Cty Rd. 78). Races are held at
Middletown Community Campus (Monhagen Ave.)
CONTACT: Race Director, Dave Badolato, 845-386-2469, firstname.lastname@example.org
WALKERS: Are also welcome!
Laurie Gordon is a writer and US Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier from
Stillwater, NJ. She also volunteers to coach children and has given
motivational speeches with her running husband, Guy, all over the
nation. She lives in Stillwater with Guy and her
one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Ashley Rose.