And Now For Something Completely Different
by Bill Indek
A Short History Lesson on the CRRC- SORT OF.
A long time ago, in a far away place, lived a Princess in an Enchanted Forest. Ok – now that I have your attention...
Flash back to 1978- a notice was put up around CLIFTON- for people interested in joining a running club. They met in a Bar in Clifton- among the early members were: Herb Godwin, Matty Lalumia, and Nick Salvaterra. So – our founding fathers were actually drunk- that could explain a lot.
1978- WOW- that was before Alicia- Rebecca and Anthony were. Jimmy Carter was President, in the movies- Grease opened, Saturday Night Fever and Close Encounters were also being featured. On the TV- popular TV Shows were: The Muppets, Happy Days, Little House on The Prairie, and the Love Boat.
Kobe Bryant was born, the original VW Beetle model was no longer being produced, and the average price for a new home was $ 54,000
The first two years were somewhat informal- and then France surrendered...a little history humor.
The first President of the Club was Herb Godwin- 1980- 1984.
1983 was significant as I joined the club and immediately dropped the average height of the members.
The next series of Presidents were
1985 Bart Capuano
1986-88 Ward Lemley
1988-93 Jerry Mikita.
Ah, the 1980’s=very important. Without them we would not have had a way to connect the 70’s to the 90’s.
The group runs in those early years were at places like the Cedar Grove Reservoir- before it was closed off, along Valley Road in Montclair, and in and around Clifton HS Stadium.
One of our members was a female ultra distance runner named Pippa Davis- she competed in 50 and 100-mile events. She eventually left the colonies and moved to England. I had asked her if she was going to run all the way- she declined.
Some of the early club destination marathons included: Montreal `and Long Island- besides the NY Marathon. We also had club 3-Day Relays- many spearheaded by Ward Lemley- they would go from High Point in Sussex County- to Cape May.
Barbara remembers that Jaime planted fake snakes along the route to scare people. Barbara also had the unique experience of almost running in to a bear on one of her relay efforts.
Which helps me lead in to the next part. Bear with me now:
A couple of years we went the opposite way. How were they able to run that far backwards- what, oh the direction- never mind. At Montreal one year- they met the singer John Denver- he was staying at the same hotel- he left tickets for the CRRC folks to his concert.
The Club tradition of Winter Bun Runs began. Dan Napoliello raised the bar on these by introducing champagne . I will drink to that.
Another event was a 6-hour relay in 1988- to raise funds for a new track at Clifton H.S. We were arranged in 6-person teams and each person would run a mile- hand off the baton to the next guy and son on- for 6 HOURS! I was on the winning squad- we ran the most miles- the bad news- we ran the most miles. I did 9 – 1 mile runs during that time. Being young and spunky- 42 is considered young by me now- I averaged 5:58 and could barely walk for the next 48 hours.
During that decade we had a member named Louis Martin- in his 70’s- who was nationally ranked in distances from 10 miles and up.
The Club also ran the clock at the 1 mile mark of the NY Marathon.
Our Treasurer- Tom Allen began his running streak on May 21, 1988. Has not missed a day up to now. As of 9/22/14- the streak has accumulated 66,654 miles and many found pennies.
We also went to the Milrose Games Track Meet at Madison Square Garden as a club event. To watch- not compete. Some other notable club events: hikes around the Delaware Water Gap and summer picnics.
On to the 1990’s. The presidents were: 1994-1995 Glen Viglone, 1996- Jerry Mikita again, 1997-98 Bob Temler and Barbara Tupper from 1999-2013. Before Barbara took over, the club was teetering on closing- membership was shrinking. How bad was it? I thought you would never ask- our Xmas party was held at the lobby of a local hardware store. The budget was so low that we only had 2 items on the menu- Spam, Spam and Spam or Spam. Spam. Bagel, and Spam.
And the France surrendered again- I love that line.
Joe Rushen was a celebrity of sorts. A mailman in Passaic- he ran through Passaic- Clifton- Nutley waving to everyone and spreading good cheer. His catch word was- Do it!!!
A Club event for several years was the Vermont Marathon- held- in Vermont- where else would you expect it to be held. Matty began his streak of running the Wineglass Marathon- where he often medalled in his age group. Also- one year –our own, unique Al Swan arrived for the Vermont Marathon with his own mattress- to crash in one of the rooms at the hotel. Only problem- he first went to Bennington, Vermont and then found out it was 100 miles north in Burlington, Vermont.
Another 6 Hour Relay was held in 1998 at Brookdale Park- doing the road 1 mile loop. It was held on a summer day when the temperature was 98!!!!! Barbara Tupper remembers that her team was called the Sweat Hogs- great name for a day like that.
Some club events included attending Minor League baseball games in Newark and Montclair.
At the 1999 World Masters Games in England- Barb and Steve Tupper ran the marathon and our 73 year old member- Lester Ridings – who had been involved in the D Day Invasion during WWII – also did the Marathon in 3:53 and won the silver medal for his age group.
The membership numbers improved dramatically as Barb and Steve had lots of energy and got us involved in fun things besides the races. Bun runs from Barb and Steve’s Kearny home were a high point of the winter as great breakfasts were served. Dan Nappy’s champag bun runs were also something to get people out.
The 21stne century saw our image improve as Sergio Cano joined and his amazing dancing and running ability made people more aware of CRRC. He really kept us on our toes. The sad news was the loss of club member Ed Murphy in the tragic events of 9-11.
We had several surprise birthday parties- the ones that I remember were : Gene Vater, Lester Ridings and Steve Tupper and Ben. Several club weddings also took place: Barb and Steve and our singing /running dentist Spencer Schwartz also tied the knot.
Club events included Bowling night.
Esly started his club tradition of having 4thof July Parties at his home while Annemarie and Sergio did the New Year’s Eve party.
The First Day Race in Fairlawn became a Club Event- with many members then going over to the Park West Diner in Little Falls for a post race breakfast. Talk about getting the new year off to a running start.
At the 2011 Bun Run at Ben’s home- Rosa outdid herself with a buffet breakfast and the club members put on display their musical talents- sort of like America Has Talent- only CRRC style. Ben and Rosa’s daughters played a duet on the piano, Danielle Porciello played the saxophone- showing she had sax appeal, Valerie Palik got members to do Belly Dancing- now that was a sight to try and stomach, and our singing Dentist- Spencer sang melodies such as- ‘ I only have eyes for your molar” and ‘ Dreaming of a Good Gum line”.
Club Awards Dinners became quite special with Barbara, Steve, Ben, Diane Cismowski, Annemarie Uebbing, among others, creating special awards and fostering a great sense of club recognition.
And then France surrendered again. OK- I WILL STOP.
The 70-year-old CRRC team won numerous honors and was one of top 1,2- 3 in the nation based upon points earned in designated national meets.
Two Club destination races were: the Toronto Marathon and the Baltimore Marathon and Distance Festival.
Ben Teixeira was our VP and when Barbara stepped down- in 2013- Ben took over as Prez. He also took an executive spot on the NJ TAC Board.
Club group runs were now held at Englewood Boat Basin and Saddle Brook Park. Speed workouts were initiated on Tuesday nights at Rutherford HS track.
In 2014 we lost Sigrid Weihenig. Alicia did a neat job creating a memorial section for her in the Club Newsletter. Special thanks to Steve and Barbara Tupper, Dan and Wendy Napoliello, Matty, and Tom Allen for sharing their memories.
If any one remembers other old time stuff- or finds a mistake- e- mail me at: short dude@I don’t care. Seriously- firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s it for now.
PS) There will be a test on this lesson in the next newsletter. Failing grades will result in the elimination of any recently set personal bests in races.