The New England Walkers explored ways to attract young participants, discussed a bid for a 2015 national championship, and elected a new vice president and member-at-large at the group’s annual meeting Oct. 19 in Groton, MA.
Club president Ed O’Rourke identified his primary concern as promoting racewalking and reaching young athletes who are already participating in track. Tom Menendez said his experience in Maine underscored the need to show youths the value and the opportunity in racewalking events. He discussed the lack of available indoor tracks in Maine, and Ed Vaitones talked of similar challenges in New Hampshire.
Ed O’Rourke offered a goal of compiling a 12-month calendar of workouts and clinics throughout New England. He, Ed Vaitones, and Rich McElvery will try to produce a schedule. Steve Vaitones said he has found little interest in racewalking among youth track and field groups in the Boston area, and said one-time clinics seem not to help. He said localizing events for youths is vital and developing personal relationships with high school coaches can advance the cause. Ed O’Rourke noted that a clinic scheduled for that morning on the Groton rail trail drew no one, although announcing the event in the local newspaper was easy to do.
Steve said he is able to schedule races that precede track meets at MIT because he and Justin Kuo manage the meets. He said it is also possible to add a racewalk to a track meet at the Reggie Lewis facility at Roxbury Community College.
Members discussed bidding to host the national one hour championship for 2015. If that race is not open for bid, perhaps the club could bid for the 10K or 15K, Ed O’Rourke said. Steve said the 10K or 15K would require more amenities than the one-hour, and the club would need to find a suitable road course. Members discussed Devens as a possibility.
The club will continue the New England Grand Prix in 2015 with the established schedule of races.
Members voted to increase the annual dues to $10 for an individual and $15 for a family.
Ed O’Rourke said he wants to continue the monthly conference calls with other club officers to further our agendas.
Rich McElvery was elected club vice president, succeeding Brian Savilonis, who chose not to continue in the position because of other commitments. Ed Vaitones was elected member-at-large to succeed Rich. Continuing in their positions are Ed O’Rourke, president, Justin Kuo, treasurer, and Charlie Mansbach, secretary.
Attending the meeting were host Ed O’Rourke, Tom Knatt, Annie Montgomery, Joanne and Bill Harriman, Anne Neuburg, Brian Savilonis, Rich McElvery, Ed, Steve, and Valia Vaitones, Joe Light, Tom Menendez, Kayla Allen, and Charlie Mansbach.