Sullivan Striders
  ORC 24th Annual Winter Series
January 14, 28, February 11 & 25th

Winter running series keeps motivation high 
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 fun running." 
 
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, runner419@msn.com 
 
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.
Laurie Gordon - The Straus Newspaper

Article by Laurie Gordon of the Straus Newspaper and sent courtesy of Marilyn Fairman!

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