Posted by Dan Slattery on September 26, 2018 at 12:00:

September 26, 2018

Greetings Melrose Running Club!

Almost a year has flown by since I became the President of MRC, hoping to maintain the great work and leadership provided by Don Keren, and all the Presidents who have come before him.

Having been an MRC club member for over 20 years, I hope I’m able to speak to what makes the MRC the best running club around, and it has little to do with running. Corny as it is, it is the people, the camaraderie, and the friendships that endure. While most of the world waits for the weekend, Tuesday nights hold a special place for us, to get a run in, and perhaps connect with fellow runners over a beverage. Time flies, these moments that force us to pause, reflect, and laugh, are important.

While Tuesday nights represent the core of the Club, our influence isn’t just felt on that day. Jim Carson has been coordinating and running Sunday Long Runs for many of his 20 years in the MRC. How many of us have run multiple 5K’s to Marathons and everything in between, thanks to the training sessions? Tom, Lois, Audrey, Hank, and others are constants at the water stops, something that we do not take for granted.

MRC’s influence is showcased internationally as well with marathons and half marathons run in Ireland (Mike and Judy Dolan), Liverpool (Amy Giuliano), Iceland (Rob Busby and Courtney Koschei), Amsterdam (Rob, Courtney, and Mike Urquiola), Hawaii (Andrew Nagelin), France (Walter Drag), and MANY more!

Mike Urquiola coordinates Thursday night track workouts each year from Spring to Fall, and if you’ve taken part, the grind, and Mike’s expertise, are invaluable, to improve your speed and mix up your routine.

New Initiatives
When I began my term on the first Tuesday in November, I initiated a new program, the MRC VIP. The intent is to recognize a different member every two weeks, some of whom perhaps by choice like to stay in the shadows. Outside of having to open a home equity line of credit to pay for the beers (just kidding), it has been a success. When the outgoing winner announces the new recipient, they are encouraged to tell us why they have chosen that member. While it may represent progress in running time, ability or that they just recently took up running, it can also speak to the person’s charitable work or efforts in the community. There are no specific criteria, but it hopefully causes us to pause and appreciate others in the Club for what they individually bring to the group, both to MRC and our community in general.
Lois Carmona Parker was the inaugural winner and who can argue with recognizing someone so selfless and humble!

Another new addition to my MRC Announcements when posted after Tuesday is “Name That Runner”. We are more than just people that run, and the hope is that we gain a glimpse into the person outside of running, while giving them a moment in the spotlight. I promise to make them just a bit harder moving forward!

Hank Murphy, Nick Lamberti, and I met with the Mayor of Melrose, Gail Inferna. We wanted to impress our commitment to the City, while exploring ways to get more involved in joint ventures. A number of these came to fruition, and we’ll look to maintain that bond with the Mayor’s office.

For the first time ever, MRC participated in the Melrose Memorial Day Parade. Another example of how great this club is was the last-minute appeal to see if anyone would help carry the MRC banner - 12 people showed and more than represented…!

First Tuesday Donations are a staple of the Club and help A Servant’s Heart Pantry. We had Joan Dean of the food pantry, speak to the Club and express her gratitude for our monthly generosity, after she, Julie Galvin, and I worked to prioritize the items most needed at the pantry.

Highlights over the past year:
November: The MRC Thanksgiving baskets helped around 5 or so families in the area and are another way this club gives of their money and time. The Thanksgiving Day Run also makes us feel a tad less guilty when having that second piece of pie later on Bird Day!

December and January: The Courtney Show! (Lights Run, Solstice Run, and Holiday Party), and kudos to David Penn who has stepped in big time with the coordination of teams for the Mill Cities Relay.
Brian Slater and Paul Donahue do an outstanding job each year at the helm for The Assault on Mount Hood. They never know if it’s going to be snowing, freezing, or beautiful with golfers – nothing fazes them from overseeing a great race.

February and March: The highlight of the Winter Running Session is the 22 miler from Hopkinton to BC. If you’ve seen Jim’s spreadsheets and work he does to have it run smoothly, the run may then seem like a walk in the park.

April: This year we were awarded 3 numbers from the BAA for the Boston Marathon. The lucky winners were Cynthia Berger, Tara Murphy Beardsley, and Mary O’Connell and, along with other MRC members who either qualified or ran for charity, represented the MRC quite well in what amounted to a monsoon!

Nick Lamberti has been a great friend and mentor to me. Most of you know him as the Leader of the Walk To Run program. In addition to his role as Co-Membership Coordinator with Lesley Moss (always a big help on Tuesdays identifying new members), together they put in a ton of time starting in April to run the MRC Walk To Run program. Thanks to Derm leading the Saturday morning WTR run, the 2018 WTR group does not take a back seat to any other year. Thank you to Keith, Camille, Judy, Samantha, Barbara, Lynne, and all the others who have volunteered and stayed with us to become full time members. To the WTR’s and all New Members - we are richer with you as a part of our family!

May: It’s all hands-on deck with the Melrose Run for Women or as many refer to it, the MRC Mother’s Day Race. Expertly led by Liz Tassinari with the help of her many captains: Katie, AJ, and Thuy, they have all their volunteers carrying out their duties like a well-oiled machine.
This run just celebrated it’s 21st year and supports a great cause, the Melrose Alliance Against Violence. MAAV is a domestic violence prevention and education organization in Melrose. Since the races inception in 1998 the Melrose Running Club has donated over $170,000 to MAAV.

June: From the Summer Solstice Run in June, to the WTR Graduation Run and Summer BBQ in July, there’s no summer’s off around here, and we just put a bow on the summer (calendar wise) with the EMARC Race and Victorian Fair – thank you to all those volunteers!

Outgoing Board Members
It’s easy to deflect any praise, because, well, it’s appropriate, when we talk about the MRC Board and all the members who volunteer throughout the year. It is a group effect and dynamic that makes this club run, figuratively as well as literally. Outgoing members Courtney Koschei and Diarmuid Cahill were our Event Coordinators this past year. All of us who have ever grilled in the backyard probably took a page from Derm, with his focus and love of his craft. Beyond the Summer Party, Derm hosted the Chili Cook Off and when Jen Elise Prescott won, she received a smoked salmon, large enough for a flatbed truck, to take home.

What can I say about Courtney? Her enthusiasm and infectious energy spark the good times. If you’ve sipped a cocktail from her Dad on the Christmas Lights Run, walked the red carpet at the Holiday Party, or had a blast with the challenges at the Summer Solstice Run, Courtney’s influence and handprint were all over it. We hope to have you two stay involved this coming year, as you both are, pardon the cliché’, tough acts to follow.

A huge thanks to all the folks on the Board – Jim Carson, Charles Brinkman, Andy Nagelin, Nick Lamberti, Liz Carmona Tassinari, Lesley Moss, Matt Sazama, Mike Sikkema, Lisa Tysall, Nikola Tysall, and outgoing members, Courtney and Derm. Noteworthy appreciation to Andy for his work on the 2018 Budget, Matt (from Clinton, MA!), for photos and board meeting notes, and the Tysalls for their efforts and enthusiasm. You guys are the best!

Thank you to the folks at the Knights of Columbus including Mike Quigley, our K of C liaison, Mark Hall, and all the bartenders for keeping us “hydrated”!

MRC Bylaws & Renewals
Finally, a major undertaking this year was the updating of the club Bylaws. Chaired by Nick Lamberti, the Bylaws sub-committee was composed of Charles Brinkman, Jim Carson, Andy Nagelin, Larry Donoghue and myself.

The Bylaws will soon be posted on the club website and you be asked to ratify them in the upcoming months. In addition to updating our Bylaws the sub-committee developed a Code of Conduct, a Photo/Video Consent & Release Form and reviewed our liability wavier.

Please keep your eyes open for the Membership Renewal Drive email coming soon to a computer or device near you (probably by the 2nd week of October with a link to!! You’ll be signing off on the liability waiver, the photo waiver, and the Code of Conduct as part of the By-Laws update. The ratification vote of the Bylaws is tentatively set for December of 2018.

In Closing
While we all strive to be better and challenge each other along the way to push our perceived limits, remember that life is short. Cherish family and friends. When I graduated high school, I used an anonymous quote that I think is always apropos. “In the race to better or best, miss not the joy of being.”

Dan Slattery
President, Melrose Running Club

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