PRTC Weekly (3/28): Springtime and Track Season

Springtime on the Schuylkill!

Tuesday Workout Change

Franklin field is unavailable until 7pm on Tuesday. Penn Running Club members on this email distribution should be advised by Geraint on your adjusted practice (you’ll still meet at Franklin Field). PRTC men and women are welcome to use the track after 7pm, but the majority of the group will be meeting at Lloyd Hall for a session beginning at 6:30pm.

4/2: Springtime on the Schuylkill
Traffic free running

It’s that time of year again! The first Saturday of April means car free, traffic free running on MLK Drive. Cars are prohibited on MLK Drive from 7am to 5pm each Saturday and Sunday from the beginning of April through the end of October.

In what has become a growing traditions, many of Philadelphia’s running clubs meet up on the first day of the road closure for a run followed by a picnic. The run is taking place on Saturday, April 2 at 9am meeting at Lloyd Hall. A potluck in the park will follow the run!

Meet everyone in front of Lloyd Hall at 9AM and we’ll split into pace and distance groups. The run will end behind the Art Museum in the Azalea Garden for a potluck picnic – food and drinks are BYO.

Groups are encouraged to coordinate their own pot lucks and to share. Runners who don’t bring a potluck item are encouraged to bring $5 to donate to the Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Danny Curran Invitational
Friday Night Distance Action

Several of the PRTC men’s team will be racing the 5000m and 10000m at the Danny Curran Invitational hosted by Widener Invitational on April 1-2. The meet costs $15 per athlete (meaning you can run in up to 5 events over the course of the Friday/Saturday collegiate track meet for the same price). The 5000m and 10000m races are both held on Friday evening with the rest of the meet taking place on Saturday. All are welcomed to join! You can register for the event by searching for “Danny Curran” on the Direct Athletics website. Registration is due by Wednesday, March 30.

Adrenaline 5K
Results are in!

The Adrenaline 5K kicked-off the 2016 USATF Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix racing schedule. Winning the Grand Prix will be no easy task. Although PRTC dominated the front of this race, the Grand Prix scores the results using (severely outdated) age grading tables. As a result, we generally get beat by several clubs that feature masters runners only (but the good news for PRTC is that Jason Vail – who in 2014 was forced to run on PRTC’s open XC opted to run in the Open Club XC race against a field with professionals rather than the masters event – will score us ten billion points at Broad Street). However, we did very well at Adrenaline and are sitting in SECOND PLACE. PRTC (427. 726 composite based on our top 5 across men and women) is closely sandwiched between Pine Creek Valley (428.342) and Athena (423.164) while the reminder of the 10 club field is a distant 20+ points behind.

We aren’t going to change the scoring rules overnight, but if PRTC continues to perform at this level throughout the rest year, we may get some credibility to propose a scoring change (e.g., separate scoring for open and masters runners) with MAUSATF for 2017. The continued dominance brings our attention to…

4/17: Revolutionary Run
Valley Forge 5 Miler

Sunday, April 17 marks the next Grand Prix event PRTC will go after (we are forgoing a strong effort at the half marathon in Delaware on April 3 as the Grand Prix allows to miss an event or two). This 5 mile looped course features very gradual inclines and declines until late in the race where runners are greeted with a steep downhill followed by an uphill finish. Approximately two weeks out from the Broad Street Run, this race will offer a great tune up.

Paul Matuszak ( is the race captain for this event. Contact him if you are interested in racing and need help getting to and from. Since this race falls on a Sunday, some of the group will likely go for an extended cool down to piece together a long run effort. Post-race refreshments will be packed in Paul’s Honda Fit to enjoy in the park after the cool down.


Get in touch with each other via the email list for runs this week. Access email distribution lists (if you are not currently subscribed) using the following hyperlink:

Here are the lists: [announcement only] [general running meet-ups] [mostly mens’ speed workouts] [mostly womens’ speed workouts] [social interactions + random posts]

Disclaimer about gendered lists:
We recognize some men might want to sign up for the women’s list (and women to the men’s list), and encourage this behavior. We didn’t want to start breaking things up by pace on the list as that could become overly complicated, but roughly speaking the women’s list will rarely have workouts any faster than 5:30 pace, and the men’s list will usually have workouts that are faster than 5:30 pace.

Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix

The Mid-Atlantic Association of the USATF holds a series of road races called the Grand Prix. Results are tallied for each race by assigning points based on age and gender to come up with a composite team score of each club’s top 5 runners from each race. Next to each race is the race captain assigned. Please reach out to them if you plan to run the race and would like to be kept in the loop on carpooling, warm-ups/cool-downs, post-race food/drink, etc.
· Haddonfield Adrenaline Run 5K on March 19: Jamie Morgenstern ( SECOND PLACE

· Caesar Rodney Half Marathon on April 3: NOT ATTENDING

· Valley Forge Revolutionary Run 5 Mile on April 17: Paul Matuszak (

· Broad Street Run on May 1: Jessica Fragola (

· Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K on June 4: Race captain TBD

If you have interest in racing one of these for PRTC, make sure to register for the club on USATF. Reach out to Paul ( for any questions on the USATF registration process. We are club number 08-0082 in the Mid-Atlantic Association.

2016 PRTC
Spring Track Schedule

This list is a work in progress, but here are some races that we will be having some club members compete at. Many of these are post-collegiate friendly outdoor track meets held at local colleges. Reach out to Kevin Brandon ( if you want to learn more about competing at college track races.

4/1-4/2 Danny Curran Invitational at Widener University
4/8 Sam Howell Distance Meet at Princeton University*
4/9 Rider Invite at Rider University
4/22-4/23 Widener Invitational at Widener University
4/28-4/30 Penn Relays*
5/16 Tuppany Twilight Last Chance Meet at Swarthmore College*

*Qualifying standards are or may be required


Running for two hours alone is boring, so tag along with the weekly long run. As always, the group meets at 8:30am each Sunday at Lloyd Hall.

Tuesday’s group workout will began at roughly 6:30pm at Lloyd Hall for PRTC. Franklin Field will not open until 7:00pm this week. Here are a few workout options if you wish to tag along with others:
· Penn Running Club – 3x3x400m
· Penn Marathon – 3x(2 mile, 1 mile)

· PRTC Men and Women – 3 (possibly 4)x2 Mile at Half Marathon pace (2:00 minute rest)

Make sure to communicate on the new men’s and women’s track/workout based email sub-groups. The men have been meeting pretty regularly on Friday evenings.

New group run option: Philadelphia Runner (the store) has nearly 100 people show up at 8:00am on Saturday mornings at Lloyd Hall. While there aren’t many of those 100 runners holding a pace faster than 8 minutes per mile, it may be a good recovery run for those that need to run something easy on Saturday mornings. Plus, you may catch somebody that just moved into town that found out about the Saturday group but doesn’t know of any other group runs. NOTE: this coming Saturday’s run is being coordinated with the 9am Springtime on the Schuylkill event.

Want company during other runs over the course of the week? Be sure to stay active on the new “easy run” email sub-group.

(What was Paul drinking?)

Three Coors lights, two Lagers, caffeinated Dunkin Donuts coffee and tap water.

Member Spotlight
Jessica Fragola
Interviewed by: Kevin Brandon

1- Jessica, welcome. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you end up in Philadelphia and how did you come to join PRTC?

I moved (back) to Philadelphia partially because my husband Craig worked here. But really because we love this city (I’m a reformed New Yorker) and wanted to make it our permanent home. I Facebook and Google stalked PRTC for a while before I got the guts to ask if I was fast enough to run with Philadelphia’s Fastest Running Club. I do, admittedly, have an occasional flirtation with the Fishtown Beer Runners.

2- Compared to other runners in the club, you took the sport up a bit late. Tell us about your progression from non-runner to race lover. What drew you to the scene and what keeps you going?

I started running about 3 years ago, at 31 or so. Like many, I started running in an effort to stay fit. In October 2013, I signed up for a 5k and decided to “train” by sprinting as far as I could every day starting about 2 weeks before the race. I ran a very unimpressive 22 minutes and something, but it was worth second place, so it whet my appetite for more.

I’m old-ish for a new runner – and I worry about the day when I get my last PR – but I love running for its own sake. I highly recommend Haruki Murakami’s “What I talk about when I talk about Running,” the closest thing I can think of to a runner’s gospel. I hope I’m 85 and decrepit and still enjoying the feel of the sunshine and breeze in my face as my arthritic legs propel me forward.

3- You recently won the Adrenaline 5k (and took home a nice cash prize!). Tell us about that experience. At what point in the race did a win seem possible?

I don’t think I’ve ever been at a start line quite like that race! Hundreds of really fast looking people thronging the start line and taking off at a breathtaking pace. Adrenaline was the right word for the start. I might have had more adrenaline at the end if I knew Margaret was just a few seconds behind me!

4- As a follow-up, I know you have a few other wins to your name. Is there a particular race success that you feel proud of?

Races are strange – I prefer big races where a lot of people beat me but give me someone to chase. I think the happiest I ever was at a race was when I finally broke 20 minutes for the 5k (after a year of thinking that sprinting intervals at goal 5k pace was the right way to train) in the context of a 10k race.

5- Aside from cash, what is your ideal race prize?

I tried to win the Chick-Fil-A 5k race to get free chick-fil-a for a year and I lost. I think this is my biggest running regret.

6 – You’ve competed in races as diverse as the 5k and marathon. Going forward, do you hope to focus on a particular event? What running goals do you have for the future?

I really just want to see what my limits are, within the context of being full-time employed. I’m a little superstitious and don’t want to name time goals or anything like that. I thought I was more of a slow twitch marathon type but then I ran a big 5k PR of 16:59 recently so I’m not sure. I want to continue to run a variety of races and see what happens.

7 – You graduated from Harvard. What’s your preference: University City or Cambridge? Philadelphia or Boston?

Philadelphia hands down. It took me a few years to really appreciate the irony of it’s moniker “city of brotherly love” but I embrace it wholeheartedly now.

8 – I’ve met many local runners involved in the field of healthcare. So far, you’re the only veterinarian. Was this a childhood dream? What’s the best part of being a vet? The worst?

I was amazed to find that most of the PRTC women are in the medical field, but I think it’s because medicine and running tend to attract the same sort of (slightly obsessive) personalities. The best part of being a veterinarian is the day to day excitement. OK that’s a lie – the best part is getting to play with kittens. The worst part is when you can’t save your patients.

9 – Some people enjoy training their dogs as running partners. Is this something you approve of? If so, what breed would you most recommend?

This is my favorite question. The answer is the Philadelphia Terrier (also known as the pit bull). Medium sized mutts are also generally a good choice. My bias for shelter dogs aside, you want to avoid brachycephalic (short nosed) dogs because they cannot breathe very well with exertion. I’d also avoid very thick haired dogs due to overheating. As far as purebreds with the stamina – Viszlas, Weimaraners, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds are great energetic dogs. But if you are planning on getting one in a city apartment you better be prepared to run with them at least 5 miles a day!

10 – I know you, along with your husband Craig, have traveled to some interesting places around the world. As a runner, is there a trip you especially enjoyed?

The best running tourism I’ve ever done was to run around the entire circumference of the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia at sunrise. And you can get a post-run hour-long massage for under $10.

11– Is there anything else you’d like to share with PRTC?

I am taking a brief (1 year) vacation to Madison, Wisconsin for work. I’ll be back for long runs on weekends at least once a month and am not giving up my status as a Philadelphian!

Club Results

Ocean Drive Marathon

We missed this one from last weekend, but Iain Ridgway and Breandan Lyman ran the marathon and 10 miler, respectively, on Ocean Drive down at the Jersey Shore. Both races are point-to-point and end in Sea Isle. The marathon begins in Cape May.

For those that were not near a shore point last weekend, you may not have been aware of how windy it really was. Unfortunately for this point-to-point course, Ian and Breandan ran into the storm blowing from the Northeast the entire run! Ian placed a third in 2:57 just a minute behind second and 5 minutes behind first. In the 10 miler, Breandan won in 60:40 – a time he likely ran for his casual 10 mile distance run earlier in the week in calmer weather.

Iain, who ran over 20 minutes faster during his 2014 Chicago Marathon, reports: It was horrific. Head winds and 30 mph gusts for 26 miles. Almost running on the spot on places. The most unenjoyable race of my 50+ marathons and ultra’s..

Phillies Charities 5K

The Philadelphia Phillies hosted there 6th annual charities 5K at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday. In his first fast session post-marathon, Paul Matuszak was able to comfortably win the event for his fourth time in 15:53. In second place, another Archbishop Ryan High School alumni (Phil C) was able to outkick third and fourth place on the final straight in 16:38 despite running just two days a week!

Race results note: unfortunately, the email team isn’t that great at stalking the internet for results. So please send us your results or let us know when you are racing!

Final Thoughts

  • Fake Philadelphia sports fan alerts: I’ll be honest. I watch way too much baseball. There are some years I regretfully have to admit I’ve watched at least parts of all 162 Phillies’ games. I watch the Eagles, because I only need to commit to 16 to 20 games a year. Other than those two teams, I don’t really give a shit about the other local team. Unless they make the playoffs and/or are making a title run. For those similar to me, let me direct you to two bandwagons to jump on so you can start building up excitement for a potential championship riot and parade:
    • Flyers: They picked up two crucial points tonight in an overtime win. Start following them now so you know a couple players names before the playoffs start.
    • Wildcats: Final Four appearance. Search through your Facebook account and find out how many friends from Villanova you have. Get ready to tell fake stories at the bar that start with, “Yeah, me and my buddy at Villanova played beer pong with the basketball team. I root Nova all the way!”
  • Are you running the Boston Marathon this year (as in 3 weeks away!!!!)? Feel free to send Justin Simard a note if you are ( He will get a tread together for those racing if you want to discuss logistics. Logistics are critical for this race. Many of the group has travel plans lined up and many are even past participants of the race – so pick their brain if you need advice.
  • I have an awful habit of starting a section of this email, not completing it, and jumping to another section. I try to not make this happen. But if you read anything above and are thinking, “did he forget something”?, the answer is likely “yes”. Some may say that proof reading would catch these errors. I would agree with those people, but I’m