Spring-like weather was helpful for Winter Series success

Avery Coogan (left) and Tony Perry didn't need heavy clothing to run in this year's Winter Series. (Photo by Pat McCloskey)
      It was the winter that wasn’t.
      You won’t hear any complaints from the thousands of runners who took part in the annual Bucks County Winter Series races.
      No snow. No slippery trails in Tyler State Park. Lots of runners in shorts. Pleasant temps for the post-race buffet at the dam pavilion.
      There may be some traditionalists who miss the white stuff but they are few and far between.
      Without question, the moderate conditions helped with somewhat bigger fields. It’s much easier on the mind to get up and see 50/clear on your phone weather app than 28/slushy.
      Winter Series director John O’Brien said the fact there were no delays or postponements for the 11-race slate was pretty much unprecedented.
      “I don’t think we even had a rainy day,” O’Brien chuckled during a phone interview. “I think it helped our numbers because we didn’t have much dropoff as we usually do during the season.”
      The races have been drawing upwards of 300 runners in distances from 5K to the half-marathon.
      “Literally we had no modified courses (due to weather) or cancellations,’’ O’Brien said. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. That made things go really well.”
      The BCRR Winter Series harkens back to the first American running boom in 1978. It’s become a mainstay on the eastern Pennsylvania racing scene for the better part of six decades.
      Sunny skies, challenging hills, great food – what more could a runner ask for?
      “The warmth, we just had people hanging out longer after races, just enjoying each other’s company,” he said.
      Competition in the Winter Series was once again brisk.
      Alex Carideo, Robby Lloyd and Ethan Frank were at the front of the pack in the men’s division.
      On the women’s side, Lori Wade and Christine Lloyd ran neck-and-neck for the overall crown.
      The official winners will be announced at the club’s awards get-together, which will be held sometime in late April/early May.
      >’Beer Runners:’ A run is more fun with an ‘after’ cold one
      When David April started a post-run, have a cold one spoof, he never dreamed it would spread world-wide.
      But that’s what has happened with various chapters of “Beer Runners,” including one in Bucks County, which will celebrate its seventh anniversary this coming Labor Day.
      One of its local members, Pat McCloskey, tells us the idea began with the creation of the original Fishtown Beer Runners (based in the Philadelphia suburb) by April, who read about a medical study in Spain which suggested drinking a beer after exercise was more beneficial than just plain old water.
      Each Monday the Bucks crew runs somewhere in the three-to-four-mile range, then convenes at a local pub, et al, for a quick cool down.
      The Bucks Beer Runners believe they owe April a debt of gratitude and since he’s about to move out of the country, they plan on throwing him a going-away party on Monday, March 13 at the ‘Fuge in Warminster.
      “It’s an opportunity to thank and honor him while reassuring him he’s left us with the ideals he’s instilled and we’ll grow it,” McCloskey said.
“And it’s also an opportunity to check out a cool venue and continue to grow those things that April started some 16 years ago.”
The run on March 13 will be about 3.5 miles at a pace comfortable for each participant. April plans to take part in the event.
And well he should, since he’s the one who started the movement. In fact, he met the professor overseeing the study, Manuel J. Castillo, and actually traveled to Spain for some personal contact.
      Incredibly, while there April met and married a woman from the Spanish Beer Marketing Association. She and her children moved to Philadelphia some years ago and settled down.
      Now that April has retired, the whole family is moving back to Spain.
As for the March 13 event, McCloskey says just show up and you will be welcome to join in the festivities.
“When all runners have returned and have been served, April will do the traditional toast to the Spanish researcher whose hydration studies led to the social experiment that is Beer Runners,” McCloskey said.
Sounds like a fun time.
      >Police running standard lowered?
      Ever watch those TV cop/FBI shows and follow the good guys as they chase the bad guys on foot?
      They usually end up with either the law enforcement folks running down and tackling the perpetrators or the offenders somehow managing to lose their pursuants.
      That brings us back to real life and the latest fitness standards for said police/detectives/federal agents, etc.
      In New York City, the law & order folks might be getting a bit of a break.
      It seems the current fitness testing for the Big Apple’s finest latest recruits included the ability to run 1.5 miles in just under 15 minutes.
      Regular distance runners here in Bucks County might laugh at such an easy clocking. Completing a mile in 10 minutes is nothing more than a stroll in the park.
      So why make it any easier? Who’s going to haul down those masked marauders if the boys and girls in blue can’t keep up?
      According to NYC police training chief Juanita Holmes, the 1.5-mile run with an exact testing time of 14 minutes, 21 seconds could be scrapped for a couple reasons.
      First, it’s unfair to women applicants. Second, rather than deal with the fitness test, many new recruits are opting out of the NYC system and heading for other better-paying jobs in Long Island and beyond.
      Holmes said the ability to run the standard distance simply isn’t practical.
      “No cop on patrol runs a mile and a half,” Holmes told the New York Post. “No one’s chasing anyone a mile and a half. Not to mention every day in the gym you’re doing a mile and a half (as part of training).”
      Rank and file cops heckled the decision to scrap the run, which one Brooklyn officer called “embarrassing” because so many recruits are in their early 20s.
      “You can probably just about walk it,” the officer said. “I mean, a mile-and-a-half in 14 minutes? It’s a brisk walk. . .listen, the standards have been lowered for years. Shame on them for not trying to push people.”
      Added another officer: “Cops are already out of shape. What’s going to be coming in here now?”
      >Race calendar
      Saturday
      Shamrock Shuffle 5K, 9 a.m., Newtown. Contact www.newtownshamrockshuffle.com
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About Wayne Fish 2426 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.