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by Glenn Ribotsky

April 26, 2002 - Yes, it's that time of year. And over at the Triple Crown, despite all the work that has been put in over the years to eliminate administrative difficulties and to make the series consistent and fair, it looks like the principals, particularly the race directors and series "coordinator" Jack Minogue, still can't follow simple instructions--a situation made all the more ridiculous by the fact that they agreed to them.

The first application for the Advance Memorial Day Race/Triple Crown Series was printed in the Advance on Tuesday, April 23rd. It included some nice additions about being able to list, and race in the memory of, a hero lost in the events of 9/11 (this in addition to the long running practice of being able to do the same for a veteran). BUT--the section on team awards once again says that team entries WILL NOT BE ALLOWED on race day--final team entries are due on Saturday the 25th of May, and can be adjusted that day. (The race, of course, is on Memorial Day, the 27th.)

Only problem with this is that this is in DIRECT VIOLATION of what was agreed to in the landmark meeting in the Fall of 2000, which was attended by Mr. Minogue, the race directors, representatives from most area clubs, and documented on this very website by Staten Island Athletic Club Vice-President Andy Burek. Many who were around then, and at the races last year, remember that it was agreed that race day team registration was to be allowed at all races. Many also remember that volunteers at the Advance Run on race day were STILL being told not to accept team designations that day, and it was only some fast calculating by myself, certain club officials, and Fred Torres at Elite Racing Systems (the scorer for all three Triple Crown Races) that allowed these to go through and to count. As a result of this problem and others, it was further agreed that a "post Triple Crown" meeting should be held to continue to address the issues. This meeting NEVER OCCURRED. In fact, Andy reports that he never received any responses to his overtures to Jack Minogue about scheduling one and, in fact, he's become rather disgusted with the whole process of trying to modify the series for the better.

Well, the blame cannot be placed entirely on race officials, as annoying and blithe about the whole process as they may be. The blame must also be placed on those members of the Staten Island running community who have looked upon all this as unimportant, as a mountain out of a molehill, as bad theater and nothing more. It is all of those things--until YOUR team is denied an award because of this kind of stuff. Then, you're screaming bloody murder.

For too long, too many have been quiet about the way the Triple Crown races have been administered, and how it has detracted from the competition and the fun that should be part of what is billed as the Holy Grail for runners in this borough. Certainly the Advance's marketing department treats the races as important (for its own bottom line)--we should ensure that they treat it as important as a competition, as well. And that goes for Ronaldson and Pepper Martin, too--who know what interesting things will come up in those races. UNLESS--we all finally get up off our asses and do something about this mess; not just Andy or myself or some club officials, but the whole group of runners, in numbers too big to ignore.

The first part is to find out why the Advance cannot even follow the prescriptions it agreed to along with everyone else. On the application, it says to direct any team questions to Jack Minogue at 718-273-9271. I'll certainly be calling. And so should you. So should EVERY ONE OF YOU thinking of running in the series--especially if you're a member of a club or a team. Voice your displeasure of the race's continued flouting of its own rules. Find out why they can't be followed. Threaten boycott--that would really be the way to get them to sit up and take notice--especially this year, when I'm sure the Advance is counting on the positive publicity that would flow from the patriotic pride of runners racing in memory of 9/11. Let's see if we can get these people to finally respond to concerns other than their own laziness and know-nothingism and make the Triple Crown Series something we can be proud to participate in.

Oh, and by the way, the official race director of the Advance Run is Bob Palisay, and his second in command (marketing division) Christine. Call them, too, at the Advance: 981-2666 and 816-2842. Ask them the same questions. For too long these races have been able to claim that there was nothing wrong and that the concerns advanced were merely the hyperbolic rantings of a radical few. Let's see if they continue to think that way if they get a few hundred phone calls. And if they don't, then we only have ourselves to blame, and we'll get the poorly administered, controversy-brewing events we deserve.

--Glenn Ribotsky/NYRROA