2015 Members’ and Board Meeting Minutes


Location: Van Cortlandt Park stadium (Broadway and 242nd St)

Present: about 30 VCTC members (including all 5 Board members)

Meeting began at 10:45am

  1. OTIS MATTHEWS 10K: race co-director Bette Clark reminded members that this coming Monday Sept 7 we would be hosting inaugural Otis Mathews 10k cross country race, named in memory of our former member who was the soul of VCTC cross country series, turned up at every race, and was a mega-volunteer. Gary Spalter added that Otis used to run around 161st St area and had a great attitude.  Bette said it would be a challenging 10k course, and Dave King would measure it at 8am tomorrow. Bette emphasized that volunteers were still needed, especially course marshals. Volunteers should report to finish line at 7:30am on race morning where they would be given final volunteer assignments, and Coach Ken Rolston would take them out on the course. James Moloney added that online registration would close tomorrow, and on-site registration fee would be $35. Mandi Susman added there would be an untimed 1-mile kids’ race at 10:30 for children ages 4-14, with giveaways after. Bette stated that proceeds from the race would go to Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, which would also organize kids’ activities.
  2. BRONX 10-MILE VOLUNTEERING: Bette encouraged club members who were not running the Bronx 10-miler on September 27 to volunteer at the race. If the club procured enough volunteers, they could man their own water station. Prospective volunteers should contact Bobby Asher, and club members should also inquire with their family and friends as they could also volunteer under VCTC. President Rick Bloomer added that NYRR wanted to build up Bronx 10-mile as a big race similar to Brooklyn Half, so we needed to have a good showing from local clubs, especially VCTC.
  3. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Membership Chair Andrea Rafael reported the club currently had 293 paid members, including 276 voting ones. The Board decided to change the term of a membership from one calendar year to exactly one year from the date due are paid. The only exception would be for members who paid during the last quarter of 2014 as their membership would remain current through the end of 2015 according to the original terms.  Members have to renew their dues annually to have access to new VCTC website. Andrea added the Membership Committee would meet after Labor Day to work on list of rights and responsibilities of VCTC members.
  4. GOLF OUTING: Adrian Hunte thanked those members who had registered for the annual VCTC golf outing at Mosholu Golf Course on next Saturday Sept 12. She added there were still a few spots open. Participants should meet at the golf course at 10:30am. There would be a barbecue afterwards, and Adrian asked to be informed about any special food requests. Rick added participants did not need to be experienced golfers, as this was mostly a social event.
  5. KEVIN’S FAREWELL PARTY: Bette announced the club would have a farewell party for Kevin Shelton-Smith on Sunday Sept 20 before his permanent move to England. It would be a potluck hosted at Bette’s house and start around 4pm with a “high tea” ceremony, and club would provide cake.
  6. TREASURY UPDATE: Treasurer Mandi announced the club had about $33,000 in assets, which had been at the same level for most of2015. There were also some pending donations including $1000 to Parachute Foundation and $1570 to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Altogether the club donated about $8000 to various nonprofits this year
  7. KIDS’ CLUB: Mandi said she hosted a few practices in August for children aged 5-14, starting at tortoise and the hare at 5pm on Sundays. She had been researching with RRCA how to incorporate it safely and legally into club and would present information to club once ready
  8. WEBSITE UPDATE: Mandi brought her laptop to show demo of the new site to interested members. She reported all current members had been loaded into site, and she would assign them passwords, which would be emailed to each member. Mandi added the club now had two sites: the old one at vctc.org and new one hosted on sus4media.com, which eventually would be migrated to vctc.org once bugs are worked out. Mandi asked members to log into new site, check their information (which may need to be entered manually), and upload profile pictures as well as running photos. Beni Veraz would continue to upload and manage the photos on the new site.
  9. SOCIAL UPDATE: Social Director Maryann Khinda informed members the annual club barbecue would be held after Bronx 10-miler on Sept 27, either at VCP or Tibbets Park around noon. It would be a potluck, but volunteers were needed to help with preparation and bringing charcoal before the cooking could begin.
  10. TRAINING UPDATE: in Ken’s absence, Coach Glen Shane reminded that track workouts were continuing on Tuesday nights, including this upcoming Tuesday’s last track workout before Fifth Avenue mile. Glen reminded members to get to the workout on time so they can start before sunset. Rick added that his Thursday night tempo runs would continue until December while Monday night fun runs until at least October.
  11. NYC MARATHON BUS: Bette Clark informed members that a 55-person bus had been rented for a one-way trip from VCP to Fort Wadsworth on marathon morning. Information would be posted on the website about how to pay for a ticket through PayPal. Rick would take a group photo of the VCTC marathoners before bus departure.
  12. NIKE RUN: Rick mentioned that Nike would host its own group run a VCP at 6pm on Friday Sept 18. They expected about 200 runners, and Rick suggested club members could attend to help introduce them to the park.
  13. OCTOBER MEETING: it would be held either at the stadium again or somewhere indoors depending on weather. Date is to be decided.

Meeting concluded at 11:35pm (50 minutes long)


Location: Bobby Asher’s apartment

Present: Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja (all 5 Board members), Bette Clark (VCTC Ambassador), Jill Staats (Summer Series race co-director), Maryann Khinda (Social Director – via phone only)

Meeting began at 8:40pm

  1. KEVIN’S FAREWELL PARTY: Bette Clark will host the farewell party for Kevin Shelton Smith on Saturday Sept 20 at 4pm at her house. It will have a regal theme as apparently Kevin is a Lord, and its theme is supposed to be “high tea.” This should be a potluck party with attendees bringing food and drink to share. Kevin will receive a gift of lifetime Club membership as well as some sort of quilt with a VCTC shield design that will be signed by club members and perhaps framed.
  2. OTIS MATTHEWS 10K: the inaugural Labor Day race is only one week away. Race Director Bobby Asher reported his volunteer list currently has 18 people, but he would like to get about 10 more. Bobby also submitted a spreadsheet with volunteer assignments. Participant t-shirts have been delivered to Christina Taylor from Friends of VCP. They will be paid for by race proceeds. So far only 30 participants pre-registered online. Bette asked James Moloney to print pre-registration labels. Matt will handle results on race day. All park permits have been secured while Nuun is finalizing its permit with contact provided to them by Bobby. Lloyds will provide 2 pies and 80 muffins for overall and age group winners. Course flags, tent, and tear drop banner must be brought on the day of the race. Bobby will get food and drinks for the race.
  3. TREASURY UPDATE: our current assets include $6,552.21 in checking account, $15,009.17 in savings account, and $940.16 in Paypal account. The pending debits include payments for golf outing, food for Otis Matthews 10k, NYC Marathon bus, and donations to Janet Swem charity as well as $1570 to Cystic Fibrosis charity.
  4. WEBSITE UPDATE: as per Mandi Susman, she will show a demo of the new site at upcoming members’ meeting this Saturday. Payment of current membership fee would allow users to log into the new site. The only problem might occur with family memberships where different family members would need separate login IDs tied to only one membership fee. Mandi added she does not plan to deactivate the old website for a while, and she will need to learn how to transfer email database from the old site to the new one. Hiroshi apparently mentioned he would help Mandi with that task.
  5. KIDS CLUB: earlier today Mandi emailed Board members a revised outline of her proposal of incorporating a kids club component into VCTC. It would be limited exclusively to children under 15 (as runners from 15 to 21 years old have a regular junior club membership) and their parents would be required to stay at all practices. She added that RRCA website specifically lists kids as part of running clubs. Bette advised if Board members have any doubts about whether RRCA insurance covers children, they should call RRCA directly. Rick reiterated that he and other members are concerned about insurance and liability and would like to conduct an actual discussion of the topic with RRCA. He also inquired about the need for background check for adults working with kids. Bobby asked about long term responsibility for managing the kids club, but Mandi stated she intended to have that function for the foreseeable future.
  6. SUMMER SERIES CHARITY UPDATE: As per Mandi the last Summer Series race on August 13 resulted in $1570 profit to be sent to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. There is no accounting for the July 30 race yet as there was no charity selected for that date.  Race co-director Jill Staats expressed gratitude for the charitable contributions this year. Mandi added that our goal for 2016 should be to work with charities that are more proactive and participate with us. Bette suggested checking with Woodlawn Run organizers to inquire about their charity policies and management. Bobby added Woodlawn Run is a local community event whose race director has many points of contact with local beneficiaries. Mandi reiterated the need to get non-profits involved with race promotion. Rick mentioned that our Charities Chair Alix should be involved in pre-selecting charities. Before next summer the Board should also decide if we need to find new charities every year or should this be a flexible policy.
  7. CLOTHING COMMITTEE UPDATE:  Rick has contacted a potential new clothing director, his friend who could do printing for small orders with a JPEG of the design emailed to him. The Board also has to decide what designs and logos should be used in the future. A brief discussion was held about another Champion order and how difficult they are to work with when ordering products.  Ariel added club members need new jackets for the fall. As he has had good experience with people who made shirts for Otis Matthews, Ariel will try to find out if they can make jackets as well. Bobby asked how to deactivate Zazzle account. Bette said it should not be linked with VCTC as we have not copyrighted any of our logos, and don’t have any rights to tortoise and hare logo. The consensus was to contact Zazzle directly to remove the “VCTC” account.
  8. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Membership Director Andrea Rafael was unable to attend, but she emailed current membership list showing 271 voting members and 287 total members.
  9. SOCIAL UPDATE: Social Director Maryann called in with her update. She reiterated Kevin’s farewell potluck party will be on Sept 20 and club will provide the cake. The fall barbecue will be on Sept 27 at location to be decided. Maryann will try to get information from VCP Museum including the need to bring own grill. The current alternative is having it at Tibbets Park as previously. As for the upcoming golf outing, Maryann will send one final email blast to members tomorrow. Adrian Hunte will handle payment for the golf outing.
  10. JANET SWEM CHARITY: Bette said we need to confirm details about donation to soup kitchen with Jill Staats
  11. NYC MARATHON BUS: Bette will secure bus rental for marathon morning from same company as last year. Official placards will be requested and picked up from NYRR.
  12. PETE MCARDLE 15K: Bette asked what kind of responsibility we want this year while possibly partnering with NYRR for this race. She added that Board should have a clear sense of what kind of help they want to offer to NYRR. Bobby mentioned he wanted to initiate a discussion with the new NYRR cross country manager Brendan. Mandi suggested contacting Pete McArdle’s family and friends to ask their opinion
  13. STRAVA PHOTO SHOOT: as per last information from Strava, they would only be able to photograph VCTC runners in the early morning of Thursday 9/17 and not during any of our regular workouts. Matt said he would ask members about availability at Saturday’s general meeting and then let Strava know about feasibility of this scheduling.
  14. ACTIVE.COM REGISTRATION FOR VCTC RACES: during a brief discussion about continuing to use active.com for VCTC race registration, Bette said we do not get many registrations through that method, but Bobby brought up the point that Active promotes our races quite a bit among people who would never have visited VCTC website itself.
  15. NEXT GENERAL MEMBERS’ MEETING: to be held this coming Saturday Sept 5 at 10:30am at the VCP Stadium.

Meeting ended 10:49pm (2 hours 9 minutes)



Location: Van Cortlandt Park stadium (Broadway and 242nd St)

Present: about 30 VCTC members (including all 5 Board members)

Meeting began at 10:50am

Coach Ken Rolston began the meeting by introducing our special guest Bob Velez who founded Summer Series about 20 years ago

  1. OTIS MATTHEWS 10K: race co-director Bobby Asher reminded members that this inaugural race would be held on Labor Day Monday 9/7/15 at 9am. Bobby mentioned that about 12 members had already committed to volunteer at the race, but we would need about 30 volunteers in total. Members could choose what position to volunteer for, but the main priorities would be course marshals and water stations at the bridge and finish line. In addition, it would be possible to volunteer before the race (for example with registration) and then run it. Bobby asked members willing to volunteer to contact him directly or through VCTC email. Race registration had been available online through VCTC website and active.com There would not be a 5k race this year, but there would be an untimed one mile fun run for kids who register and pay $5, organized by Mandi Susman.
  2. BRONX 10-MILE VOLUNTEERING: as during the previous meeting, Bobby mentioned that NYRR requested about 30 VCTC volunteers to work a water station during the Sept 27 race. Members or their family or friends who would like to volunteer should register through myNYRR page.
  3. TREASURY UPDATE: Treasurer Mandi reported the club had about $32,000 in assets, including checking and savings accounts. The club had donated a total of $6,200 to various charities from the first five Summer Series Races (Nepal Relief Fund, Moms in Training, VHL Alliance, Aktiv Against Cancer, and Parachute Crisis Respite Center). The proceeds from the sixth race on July 30 had not been calculated yet, but they would be donated to Cystic Fibrosis Westchester, a charity suggested by Coach Ken whose family member suffers from CF. Mandi added if any member would like to serve on Charities Committee, Alix or the Board should be contacted.
  4. WEBSITE UPDATE: Mandi reported the launch of our new website was imminent, as membership database diligently compiled by Membership Director Andrea Rafael had been loaded to the new site. Mandi hoped to present the new site to members at the End of Summer Series party on Aug 13.
  5. KIDS’ CLUB: Mandi also stated she had been holding running practices for local children aged 5-14 on Saturdays at 5pm. The children must be supervised by their parents who are required to attend and stay for duration of the practice. Although this initiative had been separate from our club, Mandi proposed to incorporate it to our club structure. A discussion ensued among members about the viability of such change. Coach Ken opposed the move due to increased liability to the club should any of the children get hurt. Kevin Shelton-Smith noted the Board should do diligent research on implications of having a child component of the club and then make an informed decision. Mandi mentioned our RRCA insurance already covers all club members even if they are underage, but Bobby suggested further research should be done with that regard.
  6. CLOTHING UPDATE: Vice Treasurer Ariel Cruz reported the clothing committee was still vacant. Mandi, Ariel, and President Rick Bloomer brought various clothing articles to the meeting, which should also be available at the Aug 13 party. The Board’s interim goal had been to have members purchase current clothing through VCTC website and appoint a new clothing committee as soon as possible which should open a new order for fall and winter.
  7. ATHLETIC UPDATE: Coach Ken reported that beginning today in addition to regular Saturday club runs there would be Saturday morning track workouts coached by himself and Glen Shane to prepare members for Fifth Avenue Mile on Sept 13. Ken hoped to conduct one shorter Tuesday hill workout on August 18, but all other Tuesday nights from now on would be at the track until winter time. Rick added that after the conclusion of Summer Series races on August 13 there would be a tempo workout at the VCP Parade Ground every Thursday night until winter. In addition, Rick had begun to conduct Monday evening fun runs at a slower pace to engage more members.
  8. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Membership Chair Andrea reported the club had 277 active members who had renewed their membership after 9/1/14. Andrea added the membership committee composed of herself, Gary Spalter, Susan Popelka-Moore, and Rigoberto Martinez should determine future membership benefits available only to paid members, such as access to club’s private Facebook group, Members Only section of the website, or representing the club in NYRR races. Mandi added only paid up members should have access to Members Only section of the new website as non-members would be locked out. In addition, Board had been considering changing terms of membership from a full calendar year to exactly one year from a member’s last renewal. The details would need to be finalized, but the new website with members’ database would greatly simplify tracking members’ renewal dates.
  9. SOCIAL UPDATE: Social Director Maryann Khinda-Lombardo urged all members who planned to attend End of Summer Series party on Aug 13 to pre-register and pay through VCTC website as soon as possible, as the golf house would need a head count to ensure sufficient amount of food. As club subsidized the party, members needed to pay only $10, which would cover barbecue, other food, and beer. In addition, Maryann informed members about other upcoming club events, including Rockaways Half Marathon on the boardwalk on August 29 followed by a beach outing. On Sept 12 there would be a golf event for club members at the Mosholu Golf Course at VCP, organized by Adrian Hunte. Finally, Maryann had been researching options for a fall picnic, which would likely be after the Bronx 10-miler.
  10. RACING UPDATE: Secretary Matt Soja briefly summarized information from the last NYRR Club Council meeting on Aug 5. The two major immediate changes that participants should notice in the next couple of weeks were changing the NYRR bib and corral system (as it would now be based on letters instead of colors) and changing the entrant’s best pace for corral assignment (which would now be based on the fastest 10k pace converted from all NYRR races during the past 12 months using conversion formulas). Members should refer to NYRR website for further details. In addition, NYC Marathon entrants meeting cut-off times for the local competitive corral start should contact Matt or Bobby soon as there was a 400-person cap on first come first serve basis. Matt added that volunteering positions for NYC Marathon, including the Expo, had been available through myNYRR. Matt also relayed Sal Carretta’s email that the deadline to apply to be an Achilles guide at NYC Marathon was Aug 14. Finally, Matt added the club would once more rent a bus to transport runners from VCP to NYC Marathon start on race morning, and details would be sent to club members once the rental is secured.
  11. CONCLUSION: Bobby thanked all club members who came to run and support their teammates at the Club Championships on August 1. Rick concluded the meeting thanking all for attending.

Meeting ended 11:35am (45 minutes – a new PR)


7/27/15 VCTC Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Location: Matt Soja’s apartment

Present: Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja (all 5 Board members), Bette Clark (VCTC Ambassador)

Meeting began at 8:35pm

  1. CHARITIES UPDATE: Board voted unanimously to approve final draft of VCTC charity policy created by Charity Committee Chair Alix Cotumaccio. Matt will post it in the Members Only section of the website.  Mandi recapped charitable contributions from the latest summer series races.  Aktiv Against Cancer will get $1,450 from the July 2 relay. Mandi will bring check for Aktiv to next Thursday race if an Aktiv representative could attend to receive the contribution. Parachute Crisis Respite Center will get $1,150 from the July 16 race. Board then discussed creating a maximum cap of charity donations for each of the 2016 races and if the club should retain any of the summer series proceeds. The proceeds from July 30 race will go to Cystic Fibrosis Westchester. Club had not selected a charity for the last summer race on August 13 yet.  Board decided to table that selection as Alix should be involved in that decision. Ariel suggested considering multiple charities for each of the future races instead of donating all of the proceeds to just one.  Bette suggested club members should be involved in choosing beneficiaries.
  2. OTIS MATTHEWS 10K: race co-director Bobby Asher outlined schedule of preparations for the Labor Day race. Online registration should open as soon as possible.  Friends of VCP will provide about four tables and perhaps volunteers. The club will set up our banners and other equipment. At least 30 volunteers are needed, especially course marshals. Bobby had been asking members individually if they would be willing to help, and Matt will send a call for volunteers to all club members after Club Championships on August 1. Christina Taylor from FVCP suggested having a Superhero craft design for children. There will be a 1-mile untimed kids run at 10:30am on same course around Parade Ground as during Urban Environmental Challenge. Mandi is helping to organize it, and there might also be a half-mile run. Mandi said we would charge $5 for kids’ race, and parents would have to register them and sign a waiver. Mike Arnstein donated 18 Tortoise and Hare trophies for our use.  Ariel presented his race t-shirt design: a technical short sleeve with Otis Matthews on the front with purple on green background and VCTC logo and sponsors on the back. Current cost is $10.50 per shirt, and they should be ordered in the next two weeks to have them on time before the race.
  3. WEBSITE UPDATE:  Mandi said the new website was ready to launch except for members’ database, which should be ready in about two weeks according to Membership Director Andrea Rafael.  Mandi suggested we could ask members to enter their own information on their profile pages. She also presented a demo of new site. To avoid confusion, there will be a clear distinction between being a registered club member and signing up for email list. The administrators of the website will be Mandi, Gee Chamorin, Paul Paradise, and Beni Veraz. Mandi was not sure if we could have both old and new platform at same time. The Board agreed that membership renewal for 2016 should be done only through the new website, which would require launching it by the end of August.
  4. CLOTHING INVENTORY UPDATE: Board agreed to rent a small storage space at 230th St location for clothing and other club equipment as this is currently most convenient for members who would use it. Rick said he would inquire about the cost and other details. After a new storage facility is built at former Loehmann’s location at Broadway and 236th (probably in 2016) we might consider moving it there, as it is closer to VCP.
  5. BRONX 10-MILER VOLUNTEERS: Bobby said as per NYRR we will need about 30 members to volunteer for a water station as a single group. Our team lead will need to submit list of volunteers to NYRR, including their names if they don’t have a myNYRR account. We will talk about it to club members at general meeting on August 8.
  6. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Chair Andrea Rafael could not attend, but she gave an update via email. Club currently has 271 paid members. Three members agreed to be on Membership Committee with her: Gary Spalter, Susan Popelka-Moore, and Rigoberto Martinez. As mentioned above, Andrea planned to finish completing a full member data base in about two weeks.
  7. NEWSLETTER UPDATE: the March through June newsletter had not been published yet. Matt should contact David King to ask if he could submit it for publication [NOTE: David subsequently submitted the newsletter and it was published the following weekend]. Mandi suggested we could have a blog on the new website where members could post their own articles as soon as they write them.
  8. JANET SWEM CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION: Board had previously approved a $500 contribution in memory of deceased club member Janet Swem. Bette suggested donating it to a soup kitchen at Ethical Culture School, which serves our local needy population. Bette will get more details from Jill Staats on arranging the donation if the Charity Committee approves it.
  9. NYRR CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS 8/1/15: Bette suggested using the same location in Central Park as last year for the VCTC meeting spot. David King would bring the new teardrop banner while NYRR would supply tables for clubs to use.  Matt should email club members to let them know about the location and ask them to bring food and drinks to share after the race.
  10. TREASURY UPDATE:  per Mandi’s calculation the club had about $30,000 in cash (about $1000 more than at the beginning of year). This included $6,600 in checking account, $15,000 in savings account, and $9,000 in PayPal account. The short-term liabilities included $2,600 for donations to Aktiv and Parachute, $3,000 for summer series party, and $2,000 for Otis Matthews t-shirts
  11. VCTC KIDS’ CLUB: Mandi distributed her written proposal to start a VCTC club for children ages 5-14. She had already coached several kids’ practices without affiliating them with the club. Board members suggested tabling this proposal, as diligent research needed to be done to find out if any changes had to be made to our bylaws and especially RRCA insurance to incorporate the kids. Most likely all kids would need to be paid members of the club, either individually or through family membership. Board should vote on this proposal at next meeting.
  12. SOCIAL UPDATE: Chair Maryann was not able to attend, but she had secured the VCP golf house for the club’s annual End of Summer Series party on Thursday Aug 13. Board approved the following prices for the party: $10 for members, $30 for non-members and $5 for kids. Mandi would set up PayPal link to pay online, and Maryann would launch the party webpage and inform members to register and pay in advance.
  13. RACE LOGISTICS COORDINATOR: Bobby had sent out a description for a new club position for a year-round supervisor of all VCTC race directors who should fill in the gaps in areas where the directors need help. Board should ask experienced members if they have any interest in this position.
  14. CLOTHING UPDATE: the new clothing committee had not been created yet, although new member Loretta Barrera expressed interest in serving. She should be invited to next Board meeting, but she would need at least one experienced member to serve on the committee with her. Mandi added the club should open Champion order for winter clothes in the near future to ensure it arrives on time.
  15. NYC MARATHON BUS: Board agreed we should rent a bus again this year to bring runners from VCP to Staten Island on the morning of NYC Marathon. Last year we had 55 people on the bus paying $15-20 per person. Bette should contact the bus company, and Matt should inform members that there would be a bus again.
  16. NEXT MEMBERS’ MEETING: to take place Saturday Aug 8 at VCP stadium.
  17. NEXT BOARD MEETING: early September, exact date TBD (per bylaws, there is no August Board meeting)

Meeting concluded at 10:43pm (2 hours 8 minutes)



Location: Van Cortlandt Park stadium (Broadway and 242nd St)

Present: about 35 VCTC members (including all 5 Board members)

Meeting began at 10:45am

  1. JANET SWEM: President Rick Bloomer began the meeting with some somber news. A club member Janet Swem recently lost her battle with cancer and passed away. David King mentioned that her husband Paul Swem, who is David’s teammate on the 60s team, wrote him an email that Janet had a recurrence  of cancer which spread all over her body,  and she was not able to fight it off despite a four-year struggle. Paul used to run races for us quite recently, and they both took bike rides even while in treatment. Club members held a moment of silence in Janet’s memory and signed a condolences card, which was then mailed to Paul Swem. Treasurer Mandi Susman said a donation in Janet’s memory will be made to a local charity, with exact amount to be decided.
  2. SUMMER SERIES AND CHARITIES:  Mandi said that this year for the first time the club is dedicating it Summer Series cross country races to different charities because we wanted to support different organizations.  The May 21 race resulted in $500 being sent to Nepal to help build shelters and provide other relief after the earthquake. The feedback we received from Nepal was that it really helped make a difference on the ground.  June 4 race was dedicated to Moms in Training and $1,050 will be donated to them.  June 18 race was a fundraiser for VHL Alliance, and they will also receive $1,050. Our Membership Director Andrea Rafael, who is a board member for the Alliance, explained VHL is a genetic cancer caused by a mutated gene. Andrea’s family has been affected by it, and some have passed away due to it.  As the VHL Foundation is relatively small, they really appreciate the donation. Andrea added that she can provide additional information to any club member who is interested. Mandi then informed club members that the next cross country race, which is the July 2 relay, will be dedicated to Aktiv Against Cancer, founded by Grete Waitz. The money raised will go to help build facility at Sloan Kettering, for example a gym. Rick mentioned that our Ambassador Bette Clark is very active in Aktiv, which is important inasmuch as we are trying to support charities dear to our members. Mandi then added following race on July 16 will be dedicated to Parachute Crisis Respite Center, which is a rescue organization for suicidal people.  One of our members lost her son to suicide and is now a Parachute supporter and even hopes to run this race. Finally, Mandi encouraged members to contact our Charities Director Alix Cotumaccio or board members with suggestions for other charities to help in the community.
  3. CHARITY COMMITTEE: Mandi spoke on behalf or Alix who could not attend. Alix drafted some policies that are up for final review by the Board. To summarize, we want to be mindful of which charities we support. If a member want to suggest an organization to support , it should be referred to Alix or the Board know, and they will research to make ensure the charity has a good rating. We also want the charity to have some tie to the club. Our charities policy should be finalized in the near future and sent out to club members. Rick added this policy reflects our desire to be more community minded.
  4. WEBSITE UPDATE: Mandi stated Paul Paradise, Gee Chamorin, and herself created a “game plan” for next few weeks, as they need to do some tweaking and testing of the new site. They hope to have demo ready by next members meeting. Mandi extended big thanks to Paul for putting website shell together, and asked anyone interested in helping them with the new website to contact her.
  5.  OTIS MATTHEWS FALL START 10K: race director Bobby Asher described how for the past two years VCTC hosted the Bramble 10k/5k race on our cross country course to replace Riverdale Ramble.  Kevin Shelton-Smith suggested changing it to a more original name. We decided to honor Otis Matthews who was incredibly valuable VCTC member for many years, standing at the finish line of every race and distributing muffins. We want him to be remembered throughout the club and its events. The inaugural Otis Matthews 10k race will be held on Labor Day on Sept 7 at 9am to beat the heat. There will be no 5k this year. The first loop will be traditional 5k cross country course, and then runners will run over Cemetery Hill and through the back hills again. Registration fee will be $25 online and $35 at the race. We will have food and refreshments for participants. Bobby asked club members to either run or volunteer at the race, especially for water stations. Dave King added race directors will need to have a meeting with all course marshals so participants are not sent the wrong way again as it happened last year.
  6. STATE OF THE CLUB – President Rick said that as we are now halfway through the year, he wanted to summarize where are we now and what will the next 6 months look like. Rick went over agenda from the first members meeting that he presided over in February. He mentioned some accomplishments such as creation of new positions (Ambassador, Charity Committee), dedicating our races to charities, adopting a mission statement, implementing a computer timing system for VCTC races. However there are some other things that have not been done yet, such as creating an Ad-Hoc Committee, a full Membership Committee, and Bylaws Committee, appointing a permanent race director head for all VCTC races, completing a database of emergency contacts for all VCTC members, sending out monthly alerts for upcoming races, and last but not least appointing a new clothing director. Those will be the main items the Board will focus on in the upcoming months.
  7. NO RUNNERS LEFT BEHIND – Rick continued to describe how our club wants to be more welcoming to new members. He noticed that when VCTC had an information table at Riverdale Riverfest last Sunday, a lot of interested people said they felt nervous about joining VCTC because they did not consider themselves runners. Rick wants to make it explicit that everyone is welcome to the club regardless of ability. To that effect he wants to start Monday evening slow, conversational runs where the slowest runner sets the pace.  Jill Staats then suggested an alternative to modify Tuesday track workouts by adding the option of running on the flats for those who do not want to do the track workout, although questions were raised about logistics and dividing runners into separate groups that don’t run together. Rick also proposed that Saturday morning runs have designated runners to show our running routes to new members. Rick would like to have people volunteer in advance for this task but hopes it will become more organic in the future.
  8. NYRR CLUB COUNCIL MEETING: Rick continued to tell members that a week ago he went to the bi-monthly NYRR Club Council meeting where we the two new NYRR presidents (Peter Ciaccia and Mike Capiraso) described their agenda. They want to do free open runs in various parks around the city, including Van Cortlandt. NYRR would supply clock, water, and other amenities,  but they are looking for local “ambassadors” to lead the runs, and we seem to be the perfect fit for VCP runs. They also talked about serious problem of bib swapping, especially at Brooklyn Half.  It is a major safety issue and caused grossly incorrect age group results that took a lot of time and work to correct. Rick emphasized bib swapping is not acceptable, and Bette has been working hard with NYRR to prevent it. On VCTC side, we are watching for bib swapping in our club and may take punitive action if it continues. Coach Ken Rolston added he talked to our previous offenders individually, and found that most of them are ignorant of the consequences. As a side note, Rick added that VCTC members who failed to register for NYRR points races before online registration ended must go to number pickup before race day, and they will likely be able to register in person.
  9. RACING AND TRAINING UPDATE: Coach Ken said the team has been doing very well in NYRR points races so far. Our men’s team is currently in 6th place in club standings, and women’s team is 8th. Among age group teams, our women’s 50+ and 60+ teams are both in fourth place in their age divisions.  Ken added we are a competitive team but also open to everybody. Prospective members are invited to attend workouts to get a feel for the club before joining. For the duration of this summer we will alternate track workouts with hill workouts on Tuesdays. Track workouts will always be two days before our cross country race, and hill workouts will be on the other Tuesdays. Coach Ken also asked that anyone training for half or marathon should contact him if they want some sort of a plan. Coach mentioned the need to get enough recovery between races and workouts and avoiding doing long runs at too fast of a pace. Finally, as we get closer to Fifth Avenue Mile scheduled for Sept 13, we will gear our workouts toward mile training.
  10. BRONX 10-MILER:  on behalf of Bette, Matt mentioned that NYRR is looking for volunteers for this race on Sept 27, which will finally be a points race. NYRR inquired if we could get 50 volunteers to work a water table. Although it might be difficult to find 50 available club members due to so many of them running the race, James Moloney and Maryann Khinda suggested family members might help us get to the minimum of 50 people. Club will ask NYRR about how to proceed.
  11. NEWSLETTER UPDATE: Dave King apologized for not having published the March-April newsletter yet. He found it was not as easy as he thought to compile all club results and put them into proper publishable format. Dave plans to issue a single March-June newsletter without results, and then publish an addendum with results. He added that if anyone else wanted to add an article to the newsletter, it should be sent to him as soon as possible. Ken Rolston then mentioned he could copy race results he posts on Facebook and send them to Dave if it simplifies the process.
  12. SOCIAL UPDATE: Social Director Maryann Khinda said the summer series party will be immediately after the last cross country race on Aug 13. The current goal is to have it in the Van Cortlandt Museum, and she will follow up with them to see if it’s feasible in size. An alternative venue would be the golf house again. She said she might also set up and after-party after Bronx 10-miler. Finally, she invited members to run or cheer at the August 29 Rockaway Beach Half and spend the day at the beach after the race.
  13. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Membership Director Andrea Rafael reported that the club currently has 249 voting members and 262 paid members. Out of those only about 30% gave her emergency contact info. She asked that the rest of the membership email her their emergency contacts as soon as possible. Andrea will also send out reminders to former members who have not renewed for 2015 yet. Finally, Andrea mentioned she is in charge of forming of full Membership Committee to assist her with those tasks.

Meeting ended 12:06pm (1 hour 21 minutes)


6/18/15 VCTC Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Location: Rick Bloomer’s apartment (6035 Broadway)

Present: Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja (all 5 Board members), Bette Clark (VCTC Ambassador), Andrea Rafael (Membership Director), Alix Cotumaccio (Charities Chair)


Meeting began 8:40pm

  1. CHARITIES COMMITTEE: Chairwoman Alix Cotumaccio had previously drafted an emailed a draft of our formal policy on charity involvement with the club. After Alix summarized her draft, Board tentatively agreed to it with a couple of changes that are to be finalized over email before approval of the final text. Mandi suggested it should be our policy to require the charity that we support through a VCTC race to promote the race on social media and have some in-person representation at the event itself. In case of non-compliance, we might not want to partner with them again. Mandi added we took in about $500 in cash for onsite registration for previous cross country race, so she would calculate exactly what donation Moms in Training would receive. Andrea added a suggestion that a representative from the particular charity should say a few words at start of the race about the organization and its cause so participants know where their entry fee would be donated.
  2. LABOR DAY RACE: race director Bobby Asher confirmed Otis Matthews Fall Start 10k will be the new name for our cross country race on Labor Day, previously known as the Bramble. The 10k race will be for adults only, but there will also be a kids race, under a different name. The race details will be up on RRCA website shortly. Bobby added he had  spoken with Christina Taylor from Friends of VCP about having a FVCP crafts events for the kids either before or after the race. We would like to get the 10k race done early due to heat – preferably starting at 9am with kids’ race afterwards. Entry fee will be $25 for pre-registrants and $35 for on-site registration, with proceeds going to FVCP. Participants will get refreshments, fruits, and coffee.
  3. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Chairwoman Andrea informed us that several more people joined in the last few days, including three today at cross country race. She stressed the need to form membership committee, which will need to decide for how long club benefits (including racing for VCTC) will be extended to members who fail to renew. Another issue that has to be addressed is current VCTC members racing for other teams or clubs. Andrea said she would contact Dominic, Gary and maybe other people to ask if they would if they would be interested in joining her committee, and she hopes to establish it by July 15. Rick noted that Board members should not be on the membership committee because they will oversee it, but he will make an attempt to create list of potential committee candidates.
  4. DONATION IN MEMORY OF JANET SWEM: Bette said as per email from recently widowed club member Paul Swem, the club should decide which charity (local, food pantry, homeless shelter, etc)  to donate to in memory of his wife Janet and how much. Board will decide this through email. Matt has a sympathy card for club members to sign at upcoming general meeting and will send it to Paul after Bette confirms hi address.
  5. BRONX 10-MILER: Bette mentioned NYRR approached us about having a VCTC water station at Bronx 10-miler on September 27, which would be manned entirely by our volunteers. As this would require about 40 people, we probably will not be able to secure enough volunteers for a water station, but perhaps another option would be to have VCTC members volunteer at number pickup at NYRR like Frontrunners do for their race. Bette will ask NYRR to put all VCTC volunteers together, but we need more information and instructions from NYRR how to sign them up. She also brought up the idea of also having a post-Bronx VCTC party, but our Social Director Maryann should have a final say on that. Bobby emphasized that Bronx 10 is something we should have almost everyone in the club participate in – if not racing then volunteering or at least spectating. We must make it clear to members this is the biggest road race in our borough, and we are the home team. Membership is to be notified about this race regularly via Facebook and email between now and September.
  6. RIVERDALE RIVERFEST: last weekend VCTC for the first time participated as a co-sponsor of Riverdale Riverfest and had a table with information for our local community about the club and its races. The Board concluded it was a good event, but if we participate again in the future we should plan in advance and more club materials or club items to give away or even sell at our table. Matt mentioned we had about a dozen prospective new members asking about our club and its function. Bette added a couple of club members asked her if they could have volunteered – this should be worked out in ahead of our future Riverfest events. Bobby stated eventually he would like to host a Riverfest Run to kick off the festivities, but this will require major planning well in advance.
  7. WEBSITE UPDATE: Mandi advised she would meet Gerard Chamorin and Paul Paradise to begin finalizing the new website and would give the board  weekly updates. She would like to add a tagline on website to attract new members e.g. “social club with a running problem.” Bobby countered that such tagline should have its place somewhere on the site but under “club stuff” and not on the landing page.
  8. TORTOISE AND HARE TROPHIES: according to Bobby, Kevin Shelton-Smith owns a plethora of small T&H trophies, which we would like to sell to the club to use them for awards for our races. A sample was brought to the meeting. The Board will ask Kevin how many he wants to sell and at what price.
  9. CLOTHING COMMITTEE/STORAGE: new committee has not been formed yet. Ariel suggested to expand PayPal link on site to other clothing items, and we should store them at one place and bring to workouts as demand suggests. Rick added we need to open order for jackets before fall season comes, as we still have big inventory of sweatshirts. Mandi repeated that Andrea Washam mentioned in the past she was interested in being on clothing committee, so Mandi will follow up with Andrea to gauge her interest. Bobby emphasized we would need at least three committee members. Clothing distribution is the  biggest problem as it takes a lot of time and physical effort, rendering it an unappealing position. We need to have a person who excels at delegating tasks, has a car, and is willing to have what is essentially a part time non-paying job. Ariel proposed to get a storage place to have all current clothing inventory as well as other club assets, such as tent. Rick indicated he would research some local storage places for pricing options so we could come back to it at next Board meeting.
  10. NYRR CLUB COUNCIL MEETING: Rick summarized last week’s Club Council meeting at NYRR where both new co-presidents of NYRR presented their agenda. Of note, NYRR is looking for local clubs to be ambassadors of the sport to get people off the couch by leading open free runs. They would like to start with about 10 city parks, including VCP. Rick suggested to have them here on Wednesday nights, and our club should be actively involved in them. Bobby suggested to contact Nancy Lipsey for details. Mandi added it would be important to encourage kids to come to those runs with their parents. On another note, Bobby requested we once again discuss the problems of swapping bibs at the upcoming general meeting as there was a runner who suffered a heart attack at Brooklyn Half while wearing someone else’s bib.
  11. PRESIDENT’S AGENDA: Rick briefly went over his goals for this year’s Board as presented at the first general meeting in February. Some of them have already been accomplished partially or in whole, but some were not, especially bylaws and membership committee. He mentioned that Maryann stated she would be willing to lead a Saturday fun run for club members at more conversational, slower pace, where they would be guaranteed not to be left behind. Rick would also like some current club members to email him their plans for Saturday morning runs so they could be partnered with new runners. He hopes it will become a  natural program to encourage people who currently do not think they are runners to participate with the club. Rick will describe it to club members at the upcoming general meeting.
  12. MONTHLY EVENTS CALENDAR: Mandi said Sal Carretta created a monthly VCTC events calendar to be emailed to members. She would show Sal how to send emails to Members Only group but would also suggest he emails the calendar to the Board first for proofreading.
  13. NEWSLETTER UPDATE: Bobby mentioned the March/April newsletter still has not been published because of problems with publishing results. Dave King mentioned he needs help with formatting members’ results and plans to combine March-June newsletter into one issue. Rick added Coach Ken Rolston reviews club members’ race results anyway, so he might be a natural candidate to help with this
  14. NEXT MONTH’S GENERAL MEETING – it was suggested to do a survey among members with couple of possible dates, to accommodate members who cannot attend Saturday meetings Ariel also suggested to have open items at beginning of the agenda of each board meeting


Meeting concluded 10:17pm



Location: Mandi’s house

Present: Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja (all 5 Board members), Bette Clark (VCTC Ambassador), Jill Staats and James Moloney (Summer Series co-directors)

Meeting began 8:40pm

  1. BROOKLYN HALF: numbers and t-shirts for 28 club members who requested team pickup were retrieved by Jill and Dave King and distributed at tempo workout earlier today. There were 10 unclaimed numbers, which would be given out on the bus on race morning. According to Bette there were at least 55 people who had paid for the bus trip to and from the race. As stated before there would be two buses, both leaving VCP at 5am and returning from Coney Island with pickups at 11am and 12pm.
  2. SUMMER SERIES: James went over this summer’s series and said registration has been open for a couple of days, and there is a steady stream of pre-registrants. He plans to close pre-registration for the first race on the morning of the event on May 21. Matt will do data input for day-of registrants as well as timing and scoring with help from finish line volunteers. Rick proposed to purchase a mobile printer to print results at the race, which was approved by the Board. Although the first race was supposed to benefit VHL Foundation, this was not widely promoted, so Mandi said she would reach out to Andrea Rafael to ask if VHL can be moved to second race of the series so it can be promoted better. Instead, at Mandi’s suggestion Board decided to use the first race to benefit earthquake assistance in Nepal, as this is a better known issue and does not need much promotion. Bobby added he would like to see a good balance between beneficiaries of all six cross country races. Further discussion of that issue was tabled pending approval of our new charities policy drafted by Alix Cotumaccio.
  3. CLOTHING DIRECTOR: despite the position having been open for several months, very few candidates expressed interest in this responsibility. Bette mentioned she would like to assist with clothing director’s duties, but she would need at least one other person to share the workload. Mandi will contact a couple of club members, some of whom mentioned previous interest, to see if they would like to take on the role of co-director. Ariel also suggested splitting duties by assigning someone to handle exclusively the existing inventory we have in stock, but no decision was made.
  4. WEBSITE UPDATE: Mandi presented a demo of the new website, created with the assistance of Gerard Chamorin and especially Paul Paradise, who provided a lot of ideas to streamline and improve the new site. The section currently labeled as “club stuff” would be accessible to currently paid members. Exact launch date is not known, pending availability of time for additional testing. Mandi also needs to obtain current membership information from Andrea and figure out how to import all their information to the new site. A PayPal link has already been created for new members so they could join the club on the new site as soon as it goes live. Paul and Gerard will be asked to double check what else is missing.
  5. SOCIAL UPDATE: Social Director Maryann Khinda mentioned there are still a lot of unsold tickets for NY Yankees game on May 23. Bette suggested putting a link to buy them on our public website and Facebook page. Rick suggested contacting Mike Rogers at NYRR to see if he wanted to take some tickets for kids in their running programs. Matt suggested awarding some tickets as additional prizes or raffling them off at the conclusion of Thursday’s cross country race.
  6. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: as per email from Andrea, there are 240 current paid members as of today, which is a slight increase from last month. Rick mentioned Andrea may create a membership committee at her discretion to help her maintain an up to date member database. She can also send reminder emails to those who have not renewed for 2015, as we are now nearly halfway through the year.
  7. TREASURY UPDATE – no major changes since last general meeting. The Board briefly discussed obtaining a credit card machine to accept card payments for our races or other events, but it was noted by James that for summer series it might not be worth the cost since entry fee is so low, and a large part of it would be taken by card fees.
  8. CHARITIES COMMITTEE – charities chair Alix was not present, so discussion of her policy draft was tabled till next board meeting. Mandi also mentioned the possibility of VCTC co-sponsoring Riverdale Riverfest at College of Mt St Vincent on June 14 where in exchange for a $300 minimum donation we would get a table where we could promote our club to local residents for the duration of the afternoon. There might be an issue with getting enough club members to work at the table as it’s the same day as New Rochelle Mile. Also, it is an outdoor event, so attendance is largely dependent on the weather. No decision was made by the Board, pending availability of members to work the table.
  9. NEXT MEETING: Board decided that the next general meeting would be on Saturday June 20 (as June 13 is the second Saturday of that month, but Mini 10k race is on that same morning). Board meeting would be several days beforehand.

Meeting concluded at 9:40pm (exactly 1 hour)



Location: Mandi’s house

Present: Full Board (Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja)

Meeting started 8:15pm

Introduction: although this meeting consisted of the five Board members only, Rick suggested that all committee heads should be informed in advance about the May Board meeting and invited to attend. It was also suggested that one of the future Board meetings should focus mostly on VCTC races with all of our race directors attending.

  1. URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE – Maureen Burke and Kevin Shelton-Smith are finalizing preparations for the April 12 race and have been communicating with the Board and other club members about their needs for the race. Matt is in charge of timing and scoring using the recently purchased HyTek software. Mandi and Bobby gave a brief update on the 11:30am one-mile kids’ race, which will not have pre-registration, but all participants will need to have a parent sign a waiver. Mandi mentioned the kids’ race got good marketing from NYRR and RRCA. Bobby expects up to 75 children running, depending on weather and other factors.
  2. CLOTHING COMMITTEE UPDATE – Board had a lengthy discussion about the candidates for clothing co-directors. Rick reiterated that Adam Golovizki expressed interest in clothing design while Bette would assist him with front office duties and communication with club members regarding orders. Mandi added that Bette wanted to meet Andrea Washam about being 3rd member of the committee but had no update as to what her decision was. Bobby mentioned that from his experience as past clothing director the hardest part of the job was dealing with outside vendors regarding pricing and timing of particular orders. At Ariel’s suggestion, Board decided to invite all three candidates to May Board meeting and ask them to outline what duties each of them would have and what their plans are for the near future, especially regarding production of new clothing line later in the year. Board decided to table further discussion of this topic until meeting the candidates at next meeting.
  3. MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR’S UPDATE – Andrea Rafael updated the Board via email. She is now an admin for Members Only webpage as well as the private Facebook group and approves or rejects requests to join each according to whether the requester is actually a club member. Andrea is working to update database of current members as some people renewed for 2015 after reminder at last member meeting. Andrea proposed several candidates to join her on the Membership Committee. Board chose Dominic Lombardo and Dave King to be invited to join it. Matt will email each of them asking if they would agree. On a related note, Bobby requested to narrow down the list of VCTC team managers on the NYRR page who have the authority to approve runners to register as VCTC members for NYRR races because he noticed some people have been getting approved without actually being VCTC members. Board decided the only myNYRR team managers should be Andrea Rafael (Membership Director), Rick (president), and Bobby, Matt, and perhaps Laura Rodriguez as team captains. Only Andrea would approve new requests as she has direct access to her current members’ database. Matt will email the other current team managers to inform them before they are removed from the list.
  4. ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE – Rick reiterated his idea of forming a group of experienced club members who would advise the Board on specific issues on a need-only basis, without the right to vote or expectation they should provide constant input. Bobby expressed concern that resistance to changes might be greater among the advisory council than the relatively young Board and club as a whole. Ariel proposed that particular questions should be presented to Advisory Committee as a whole and not to individual members. Rick mentioned Bette Clark, Gary Spalter, and Adrian Hunte have already been advising him on an informal basis, so he would like to invite them to be on the slightly more formal council, along with Ken Rolston and Bill Gaston. Rick said he would contact each of the five potential candidates to see if they are interested.
  5. MISSION STATEMENT: after a lengthy email review of multiple versions of the club’s first official Mission Statement, the Board accomplished to adopt the following wording: “VCTC is a Bronx-based running club promoting and fostering a welcoming and supportive community for recreational and competitive runners of all levels of experience, ability, and goals.” Matt will announce the mission statement to the club.
  6. BROOKLYN HALF BUSES – as mentioned at members’ meeting, two buses have been rented, and the price will be $15 per person (one way or round trip). PayPal link will be created shortly and at first emailed only to current paid members to ensure they get a seat.
  7. THANK YOU CARDS FOR DONORS – in the past few days Board signed thank-you cards and delivered them either in person or via mail to three members who made a donation to the club in the last few months: Sal Carretta, Joe Tucker, and Raquel Colon. The Board wanted to thank them on the record once more for their generosity.
  8. SUMMER SERIES UPDATE AND CHARITIES – Mandi mentioned that co-directors James Moloney and Jill Staats agree to include ties to particular charities for some of the cross country races as long as there is no increase in registration price. She also repeated that due to Parks regulations charities cannot use banners or other commercial signage at our races. Rick added that the person who initiates the idea of dedicating a race to a particular charity should also be the liaison between race directors and that charity. Andrea Rafael is already doing this for the first race to be dedicated to VHL Foundation. On a related note, Board agreed to create a Charity Committee that would oversee the club’s relationship with charities. As Alix Cotumaccio expressed interest in the position, she was approved to chair the Charity Committee and recruit other members to assist her.
  9. 500 FOR THE FALLEN – Board approved a $500 donation to 500 for the Fallen, a relay run in May whose cause is to provide college funding for children who lost a parent in line of military duty. One of the relay stages will pass through VCP once again on May 23. Mandi said she would reach out to the organizers to see if our members could join them on that stage as they did last year
  10. WEBSITE UPDATE – Mandi informed the Board she has the structure of the new site mostly figured out, largely thanks to help from Gerard Chamorin and Paul Paradise. She hopes to launch it sometime in May, but since a lot of databases have to be moved from the old site, the new site will have to be grown gradually.
  11. TREASURY UPDATE – Ariel prepared a handout of a quarterly report, showing as of today the club has about $29,000 in assets less pending debits, slightly more than in Q1. About half of this is in our savings account with the remainder coming from checking and PayPal accounts and physical assets, including clothing inventory. Mandi and Ariel will schedule a meeting with Jim Hudick to find out what materials he would need to conduct an independent audit of club’s finances.
  12. RUNNING STORE – Mandi and Bobby summarized the idea of creating a club-based public store somewhere near VCP where there is a lack of a running-specific establishment. This has been discussed informally with several members for a couple of years, but now since the club has a formal mission statement we should move forward to a more specific discussion. Rick suggested that two people should write a detailed business plan as this will be absolutely necessary to obtain financing. Bobby will take the lead on creating the business plan and will reach out to club founder Andy Kimerling to see if he would support it. In addition, club’s bylaws would also need to be updated as part of their general overhaul so they include the provision for a club-based store.
  13. ELECTION COMMITTEE UPDATE – Rick stated Dominic Lombardo confirmed he is interested in being on the committee again for next year’s election.
  14. RACE RESULTS UPDATE – Rick stated Peter Coy informed him some members continue to send him race results despite the fact he no longer compiles them, as it was announced at the January awards dinner. Matt will send an email to club members thanking Peter Coy for his service and reminding them to send all results to Dave King now. The club website also needs to be updated in all places to reflect that information.
  15. PARAGON TRAIL RUN – Paragon Sports will host a trail run at VCP on April 18. Bobby Asher will email Olivia Cheng from Paragon to ask if VCTC or its members could be involved in any way.
  16. NEXT MEETING – next members’ meeting will be on Saturday May 9. Location will be either indoors or outdoors, depending on weather. Board meeting should be held a few days before then – exact date to be decided based on directors’ availability.

Meeting ended at 10:10pm (1 hour 55 minutes)



Location: Santa Fe Grill (6025 Broadway)

Present: 36 VCTC members (including 4 Board members: Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz. Matt Soja)

Meeting began at 10:43am – Bobby first thanked Santa Fe and their staff for opening up early and allowing us to meet there again.

  1. Athletics Report: Coach Ken said we are back to track workouts from now until June. We meet each Tuesday night at 7pm at Van Cortlandt Track. He reminded members about upcoming club points races, starting with Scotland Run next weekend. Coach also spoke about the recent problems with VCTC members running with another person’s bib number in NYRR races, specifically NYC Half Marathon where we had as many as 4 members running under someone else’s name. Coach reminded members this is a clear violation of NYRR rules and could cause major problems for individuals involved, especially in case of medical emergency. Arnie Gore added NYRR is very serious about punishing people who get caught doing this, and in some cases it may lead to the person being permanently banned from registering for any NYRR race. Coach Ken again asked members not to do this again so NYRR and VCTC does not need to take corrective action towards the swappers.
  2. Urban Environmental Challenge (4/12): – race director Maureen Burke could not attend the meeting, but Bobby gave a brief update on her behalf. Bobby reminded we are only 2 weeks away from the race, and a thorough course cleanup is badly needed. David King said he would run the UEC course on this coming Thursday (4/2) to identify trouble spots, and other members are welcome to join him. He will also mark the course with flags around 7am on race day and will need several volunteers to help him. Bobby added we need many volunteers on race day, especially to be course marshals. Any interested member should contact him, Maureen, Bette Clark, or Kevin Shelton-Smith.
  3. UEC kids’ race – Bobby said that after the regular UEC event, at 11:30am there will be the first ever VCTC kids’ event, a 1-mile run for children from 6 to 13 years old, directed by him and Mandi. He expects anywhere from 20 to 200 participants. There might need to be more than one heat depending on numbers. The run is not timed, and the course will start at UEC start line and follow the eastern and southern perimeter of Parade Ground, finishing on the grass next to the main cross country finish line. All participants will get finishers’ ribbons, supplied by NYRR, so the race is at no cost to VCTC. NYRR will also market the event through their communication channels.
  4. Membership Director’s report: our new Membership Director Andrea Rafael said she has been working on cleaning up our members’ directory. She again reminded members to email her their contact information if they haven’t done so already. She is also trying to create a temporary Membership Committee to assist her with the task. By her initial count we currently have 3 lifetime members, 227 members who are paid up for 2015, 181 people who were members in 2014 but still have not renewed for this year, and additional 200+ who have not renewed since 2013 or earlier. Andrea asked members to renew for 2015 if they still have not done so and to email her if they are not sure if they have renewed already. Bobby reminded that current annual fee is $25 for a single members and $35 for family membership (defined as people living at same address). Ariel thanked Dave King for his service as previous Membership Director.
  5. Treasurer’s Report: Mandi said that she has been working with Vice Treasurer Ariel to create a current report on the club’s finances, and they hope to provide quarterly updates to club members. As of right now the club has a little over $31,000 in assets, including $2,500 in Paypal account, $11,000 in checking, $15,000 in savings, plus other assets including time machine ($1200), clothing ($1000), race clock ($1500), etc. We also have about $5000 in upcoming liabilities, mostly for the upcoming Yankees game and VCTC-hosted races.
  6. Ambassador’s Report: Bette said she had recently met with John Butler from Friends of VCP who wants to partner with VCTC for trail cleanups. FVCP host a trail cleanup open to general public on first Saturday of every month at 10am, but John wants to also have a special VCTC trail cleaning event, perhaps in July (7/20 or 7/27). John also asked our club members that if they see a trail that needs urgent cleanup (especially garbage) to let FVCP know either directly or through Bette. Bette then mentioned that she will volunteer at North Face Challenge on May 2/3 at the Queensboro Aid station as in previous years. Any club member who also wants to volunteer there was asked to contact her. In addition, Bette mentioned that NYRR needs more volunteers for Brooklyn Half, so if any members who are not racing it want to volunteer, they should let her know as soon as possible. The club will again rent two buses for round trip to Brooklyn Half – they have been reserved, and a PayPal link to buy a seat will be set up soon, with priority going to VCTC members before we open it to outsiders. Finally, Bette mentioned AKTIV Against Cancer will host a “boot camp” in Manhattan on May 28 – Bette will provide more information as the date gets closer.
  7. Social Director’s update: Maryann Khinda-Lombardo said club already purchased tickets for a NY Yankees game on Saturday May 23 at 1pm in Section 233A. A link will be set up to pay via PayPal, and Maryann will arrange to give tickets to people who buy them. Maryann is also working on a summer party after our last cross country race, preferably somewhere inside the park (perhaps at the VCP Museum). She also asked if members would be interested in a summer club outing, perhaps a day trip on a bus to a race in a remote location, or maybe a two-day retreat instead. Finally, Maryann wants to coordinate VCTC cheering squads for upcoming races, including Scotland (kilts) and Boston.
  8. Newsletter update: Dave King asked member to send him articles for the March-April issue, as he did not receive anything yet. He especially asked about stories about NYC Half. If the issue does not come out till end of April, we can also include Boston stories. He also asked members to email him race results, especially from non-NYRR and out-of-town races, as Peter Coy no longer compiles them.
  9. Website update: Mandi said she has been working with Paul Paradise and Gee Chamorin to put the new website together, but it is not ready for launch yet. Hiroshi is helping with moving files to the new site, but they will need more help from other members with putting information on the new site.
  10. Team Captain’s report: Bobby explained we want to make sure that everyone who registers as VCTC member for NYRR race is actually a member, and recent changes to NYRR registration site allowed us to have control over that. He added we had some great performances over the last couple of weeks, including at NYC Half and St Patrick’s Day races with Taconic RRC, and he congratulated everyone who survived this harsh winter (it should be noted it was snowing yet again during this spring meeting). He reminded members to register for upcoming NYRR points race, including Bronx 10-miler, which just opened yesterday for registration.
  11. RMHA update: Dick Conley reminded that the annual Riverdale Mental Health Association 5k run will be on Saturday April 26 on the regular cross county course. Our club is co-sponsoring the race, and he is looking for volunteers available that morning.

Meeting concluded at 11:33am (after 50 minutes)



March Meeting: 3/16/15 

Present: Full Board (Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja), Bette Clark, Andrea Rafael

Meeting started 7:58pm

  1. MEMBERSHIP: new membership director Andrea got current membership files from Rick and has been working on creating an accurate list of current paid 2015 members. Per her count we currently have 209 paid members (meaning they last paid membership fee after 8/31/14). In addition, there are 205 people who were paid members in 2014 but still have not renewed their membership for 2015. Rick stated we need to determine how to clearly define “VCTC membership” and how to proceed when a member does not renew for the current year. The 205 non-renewals should be emailed with a reminder and an inquiry if they indeed paid after 8/31/14 but it is somehow not reflected in our records. Andrea will draft a sample email for the Board to review. In addition, Rick wants to create a temporary Membership Committee to assist the Board with member policy. It should be a diverse group of 5 or 6 people. Bette mentioned that in the past the club used to have a membership directory printed each January, and maybe it would be a good idea to return to that practice.  Ariel suggested printing it in our newsletter. In the short term, Andrea will first create a well-organized file of all current members, and it will be corrected and updated as needed.
  2. URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE: Maureen and Kevin are in charge of directing race preparation. This morning Matt sent out Maureen’s email to club members, asking for volunteers to help on race day. Bette reminded that we have a group of long-time members who have been volunteering at this race for years, and they should be asked what role they are willing to fulfill this year. Rick added that Maureen should contact those who are already willing to volunteer and thank them. Andrea agreed we need to be aware what role long-time volunteers prefer to have before volunteer opportunities are advertised to entire club. Bette was designated to help with volunteer recruiting for this race. In addition, Rick suggested that after each club-hosted race the Board and race director(s) should discuss what went right, what went wrong, and how it could be improved in the future. After a brief discussion, Board agreed that 16 should be the minimum age to participate in UEC, and anyone younger than that can run only subject to race director’s discretion.
  3. Mandi and Bobby are directing a kids’ race that will be held immediately after the UEC. Mandi said there would be no pre-registration, and it will be limited to children from 6 to 13 years old. Parents will be required to sign a waiver. If there are a lot of participants, there might need to be more than one heat. Bobby described the course as consisting of about 2/3 clockwise loop around Parade Ground, starting at the north end, following east and south perimeter and then finishing on the grass next to the cross country finish line but going northbound. Mandi stated that club might have to cover the cost of finishers’ medals since the kids race is not a part of UEC budget. Bobby suggested he would contact Mike Rogers from NYRR to see if they would be willing to donate some medals or other awards to help us defray the cost.
  4. SUMMER SERIES AND CHARITIES – Board previously considered dedicating some (or all) of our summer series cross country race to particular charities. The first one on May 21 would be for VHL Awareness, and Andrea would be our liaison. Andrea mentioned she would be at the VHL Foundation board meeting tomorrow to discuss details. A discussion was held on how to fund donations to the charities. Mandi suggested a dedicated portion of all entry fees would be directed to a specific charity. However, this might require an increase in entry fees, so Board agreed series co-director James Moloney should be involved in further discussion of financial aspects. Bette suggested the June 18 race should be dedicated to AKTIV Foundation [NOTE: in a follow-up email the next day she decided July 16 would be better]. Mandi suggested a $200 donation to AKTIV and Board approved. Board will look for suggestions for other charities. One suggested option was Child Brain Cancer Foundation. Mandi suggested creating an ad-hoc Charity Committee to assist with the task, and she mention Alix was interested in serving on it.
  5. TIMING SYSTEM UPDATE – Matt has the newly purchased Time Machine, and from initial testing it works as expected. He will bring it to Thursday hill workout to try it out for actual timing. Need to do that several more times at practices before actual use during UEC. Rick will donate a laptop to help with scoring. Scoring software (most likely HyTek) should be purchased soon in order to be well-tested before UEC. It should be emphasized there is no source of electricity at the VCP finish line, so if we want to avoid using a generator, the laptop and all other electronic equipment must be fully charged before use on race day.
  6.  CLOTHING UPDATE – Rick and Bette said Adam expressed a strong interest in being the next clothing director and would like to have a clothing committee of 2 or 3 people. Adam mentioned he would prefer to have a spring and fall clothing line and wants to be responsible for design of clothing and assist with distribution. Rick added that another person would need to fill a “member service” role in order to answer members’ questions and complaints. Bobby questioned who will actually manufacture the apparel designed by Adam. After a brief discussion, Board decided some other potential candidates will be approached to see if they would also like to be on clothing committee. The new director(s) should be named after the last clothing order managed by the previous committee arrives. Discussion tabled for now.
  7. WEBSITE UPDATE: Mandi said she has met with Paul Paradise to work on the structure of the new site. Paul told her he is interested in helping to take the lead with setting up the new website. Mandi will also meet with Gee next week to get his input. She added we need to have an accurate list of current members so we can grant them access to the paid-member-only area on the new site.
  8. TREASURY UPDATE: Ariel received boxes paperwork with various financial documentation from previous years. He said that by next meeting he will try to have a full presentation showing the club’s current financial situation. Rick also added that Mike Hudick mentioned at the annual awards dinner that he could perform an independent audit of our books, so he needs to be contacted how we could arrange it.
  9. HEADPHONE INIITIATIVE: Mandi mentioned Jabra (headphones manufacturer) wants to partner with VCTC and donate about 20 headphone sets to be wear tested by club members or used as awards at our races. These are Bluetooth headsets valued at approximately $200 each. Bobby expressed concern this partnership might create a perception of VCTC endorsing using headphones while running or even racing. This topic was tabled as it requires a longer discussion, and Mandi will contact Jabra for more details.
  10. SOCIAL UPDATES: Maryann previously asked the Board to provide money upfront to purchase approximately 30 tickets for a club outing to NY Yankees game on Saturday 5/23 (Memorial Day weekend). Board approves. Maryann mentioned in an email a few ideas for possible club trips, including a race at Rockaway Beach or a trip to Great Adventure. She will obtain further details. Maryann is also working on the end of summer series party. Bette mentioned that instead of the golf house we might be able to use grounds of VCP Museum, but a permit night be needed. Maryann mentioned she was looking into that option.
  11. NYRR PRIZE MONEY DISTRIBUTION: Board received several checks from NYRR for money won at 2014-2015 races by our open teams. Matt will double check results and send the Board a list of who should get how much money. The Board will then cut the checks to particular runners.
  12. BIB SWAPS – Bette mentioned we had at least 3 VCTC members run with other people’s numbers at NYC Half, which is not only against NYRR rules, but also bad sportsmanship, potential medical nightmare (if a person wearing the wrong number suffers a health emergency during the race), and could put the entire VCTC team in jeopardy of disqualification from that particular race. After a discussion the Board agreed we need to come up with a policy on how to handle such situations, including perhaps removing the violators from the list of VCTC runners on NYRR race registration site or reporting them to NYRR and let them to handle the situation on their side.
  13. NEXT GENERAL MEETING: to be held Sat March 28 around 10:30am (after morning team run). Rick will contact Santa Fe Restaurant to ask if they would be willing to host us again

February VCTC Board Meeting

Monday 2/16/15

Present: Full VCTC Board (Rick Bloomer, Bobby Asher, Mandi Susman, Ariel Cruz, Matt Soja), Bette Clark, Jill Staats

Meeting began 8:05pm

1. Brooklyn Half: there were 3 or 4 club members who missed registration deadline for Brooklyn half marathon. As per Janet Cupo from NYRR our club was guaranteed 2 extra spots, but we had to pick who to enter. After discussion about what criteria to use for choosing members to get guaranteed entries in this particular case as well as going forward Board agreed that seniority of membership should be the deciding factor. Based on that, Bobby will ask Janet Cupo to enter Ken and Jimmy into Brooklyn Half and will ask any other individuals who missed registration to contact Janet directly.

2. Tough Love relay – this race was supposed to be held 2 days earlier on Valentine’s Day but was canceled due to icy conditions and Parks Department’s revocation of our permit. Board decided that the race will not be rescheduled, and all who registered online will get a full refund. Matt will email all entrants advising them of this decision. Treasurers will process all refunds within the next week. Another problem was lack of access to race registration system by anyone on the current board, which delayed emailing race cancellation notice to all registrants the day before the race was supposed to be held. Matt will email Kevin about expanding access to race registration system to at least one current board member to prevent this from occurring again.

3. NYRR Club Night – Board reiterated that women’s 60s team will have their tickets paid for by the club, as they will be honored for winning their age category in 2014. Matt will email club members to encourage them to attend and purchase tickets in advance

4. Clothing Director: Matt will send out a message to the club thanking the Isaacs for their service and contribution to team and state they are ready to pass the baton to their successors. Ariel will store some clothes in the short term. Questions about orders that had already been placed should still be directed to David and Rachel. Any questions about future orders should be directed to VCTConline general email until the next director is chosen. Rick mentioned we need to clearly define the role of a clothing director before we officially search for a new one. Bobby added it should be someone who can regularly attend club practice to ensure prompt delivery of orders.

5. UEC and other upcoming VCTC-hosted races – Board agreed we need additional assistance to race director and more volunteers. On that note, Rick proposed we should have a “race director supervisor” who creates a schedule and checklist to ensure successful preparation of a meet. Board agreed to reach out to Kevin Shelton-Smith to see if he would be willing to lend his expertise to assist with this project.

6. Timing system: newly purchase timing machine has arrived and was handed over to Matt. We still need to purchase compatible software for meet timing and scoring. Mat agreed to take the lead on this. The goal is to have the system operational in time for UEC.

7. Boards major goals for 2015: in no particular order, Board members listed the following issues as overall priorities for this year: timing system, bylaws update, clear definition of VCTC membership, new website, adopting a school through NYRR, developing a strategy for charitable contributions by the club, defining role of committees, adding emergency contact information for every club member, creating a pie chart of club’s expenses (Treasurer to take lead on that item).

8. VHL Alliance: Bette read an email from Andrea Rafael who is a board member of VHL Alliance. Andrea would like to organize a race in May, which is VHL Awareness Month, and asked if club could provide help. Andrea suggested that as an alternative to a brand new race, maybe we could dedicate our first Summer Series XC race to VHL Awareness. Matt will email her asking for more details and what help would be needed. In more general terms, Board briefly discussed if perhaps we could use each cross country race to support a particular charity, but we agreed that this should be discussed with summer series race directors first.

9. Website: Mandi said a new site “map” is being created and pages will be moved from old site to new one. A major difference will be that people will be locked out of the new members only page if they are not currently paid up members. Current website committee (Kevin, Beni, Ariel) will have same role with new site as with old one. Gee and Paul Paradise were invited to assist with building the new site as well. Bette mentioned the need to scan old newsletters (from before 2005) to new website. Bill Gaston currently has the newsletters, but we need to find someone willing to do this time-consuming task. Mandi hopes to launch the new site by spring 2015. The new site creation should be mentioned to club members at next general meeting.

10. Ambassador: Board made a unanimous decision to create a new position of VCTC Ambassador and nominated Bette for the position. The purpose of the position is to help with public relations and to maintain and expand club’s contacts and relationships with outside organizations, media, and general public. Board felt Bette had a lot of experience and expertise in this area, and asked her to define her role more clearly in the future. There are no set parameters or time limit for this position. Bette accepted the nomination. It should be announced at next general meeting as well as via email to club membership.

11. Advisory Committee: Rick proposed creation of a non-voting committee of experienced club members whose purpose would be to advise the Board about best practices of club management. Bobby suggested it should be a combination of people who have institutional experience and should be no more than 3 or 4 people. It would have no permanent obligations. Rick added we should also have the ability of ad-hoc temporary committees to work on specific projects, e.g. bylaws revision. As this was a complex issue, Board decided to table this issue in order to provide a clearer outline of the committee(s) before next meeting.

12. Mission statement – tabled, but agreed to vote by email before next board meeting,

13. Next general meeting to be held Saturday 2/28 at 10:30am at Santa Fe Restaurant (Matt will be away that day). Matt to email members about date and place, Rick will create agenda for this meeting using input from other Board members.

Meeting ended 10:02pm