Apart from the benefits of this website, social networking, group runs, coached track workouts, tempo runs, an improved social life, increased health and improved mental state, Membership allows you to run in a VCTC racing singlet to represent your team. We also email a weekly “From Aesop’s Bench” Newsletter, packed with information on important club updates, workout info, details of upcoming races and events, other tidbits and uplifting encouragement and wisdom from our members. If there are any comments you want to make, please come to the Club Meetings and air your views; meetings are generally held the second Saturday each month at 10:30 am.
Other gear available includes jackets, hats, t-shirts, hoodies, patches, and socks – most in our team color: purple.
New York City Marathon
Without a doubt, the New York signature event is the New York City Marathon. Around 80 VCTC members run the NYC Marathon each year. Through VCTC volunteering to assist the NYRR throughout the year, we earn a few entries to give to some members who were not able to get a place. On race day, we have a bus to take us straight to the start. If you are reasonably quick for your age, through VCTC, you can get into the “local competitive” start, a preferred treatment given by the NYRR for local runners, providing their own warm-up area, food, drink and, crucially, portajohns. These runners are ushered to the very front of the start on the Verrazano Bridge, able to see all the festivities and have a clear run. Mile 20.75 of the course is a key spot for VCTC on race day; located in our home borough, the Bronx, it comes at the proverbial ‘wall’ of the marathon. Those not running turn out to cheer, and those running often find it as motivation while running, to reach the VCTC cheer zone and see their teammates smiling faces (then it’s on to the finish line). The camaraderie doesn’t end there. It’s become a tradition to meet afterward at the Bronx Ale House, for food, drink and proper play-by-play re-telling of the day’s race, ranging from the joys of victory to the agonies of defeat.
In January each year, the Club holds a glamorous Awards Dinner. The night honors those in every age group who have run rather well over the previous year, with overall awards to the VCTC Runners of the Year. Everyone is dressed to the nines and we follow a wonderful meal in a hired hall with dancing and a DJ. The night is subsidized for members and includes a members give-away, past years have been VCTC kit bags, T-shirts, arm warmers and the like.
Barbecue, Beer, and Dancing
In August, following the last Summer Series Cross-Country race, everyone heads over for a barbecue, with endless food and drink and dancing. See the Summer Series races described separately under “Our Races”; they are not to be missed!
From time to time, a group of members will take a fancy to an out of town race experience, such as the Boston Marathon, a long distance relay (New Hampshire, across New Jersey, across Long Island, from Bear Mountain to name a few), Vermont, Puerto Rico, Key West and more. If it takes your fancy, you’d love these. There are also those who take in week-long training camps in Vermont and we have even organized our very own camp at Croton.
Of course, being in VCTC you can compete in the NYRR races with the added interest of scoring for the club year round. VCTC is not sponsored by running companies and few runners let running control their lives but that doesn’t stop us from competing with some of the best runners and teams in the region, and sometimes beating them too! In 2016 and 2017 our women’s 60+ team was first among all NYRR 60s teams and in 2017 our men’s 70+ team also came first among all NYRR 70s teams. VCTC is represented across a wide range of age groups from Open (under 40) all the way through 70s+. The NYRR club points races traditionally start with the Washington Heights 5k in March and end with the Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park in December.
Food and Beer. On Saturdays after the group run, we head to the Van Cortlandt Golf House or an area diner for breakfast. Now in the time of Covid, many members meet up on the stadium steps with breakfast items from a local deli after the Saturday run. Two of our favorite local afternoon and evening watering holes are the Bronx Ale House and the Tortoise and Hare.
Our Social Committee organizes events throughout the year, past events have included golfing, hiking and Yankees games. During Covid, the emphasis has been put on safe outdoor gatherings and events such at the Captain Lawrence Run/Ride and Tailgate Beer Runs. The Social Committee is also central to planning the Annual Awards Dinner (in January) and the end of Summer Series Barbecue (in August).
If that was not enough, VCTC Members get a 25% membership discount at the Riverdale YMHA. If you sign up at the Y, be sure to tell them who referred you and they get a free month’s credit as well. We also get a 10% discount at Urban Athletics, and at the Westchester Road Runner store in White Plains.
Finally, the races we organize. In April, we host the Urban Environmental Challenge 10k XC trail race in the park. We’ve added some new races to our calendar, including the Tough Love Valentine’s 2 x 2M relay in February and the Flats Mile in June. Last but by no means least, we put on the VCTC Summer Series 5k (and one 2 x 2M relay) XC on 7 alternate Thursdays throughout the summer. Members are always encouraged to volunteer at races too! There are plenty of other social runs throughout the year including the Summer Beer Run and the Captain Lawrence Run/Ride. We end our running year with the Santa Run, open to members and their guests. This fun run, held in mid-December, dashes through the snow (if there is any), from pub to pub, or from tailgate to tailgate (due to Covid) refueling on food and drink along the way. Holiday-themed dress is encouraged.