New England Walkers Annual Meeting Minutes, Saturday, December 16th

The New England Walkers began making plans for hosting the 2018 national 5K championship during the club’s annual meeting Dec.16 at MIT.

Members also discussed improving their outreach to racewalkers, outlined the Grand Prix schedule for the coming year, and reelected a slate of officers.

Club president Ed O’Rourke listed three prospective sites for the June 10 national 5K event: East Boston Memorial Park, which was the location for the 2011 USA-Canada Junior Racewalking Match; the Staples headquarters in Framingham; and the New Balance headquarters at Boston Landing. Ed characterized the New Balance location as potentially the most attractive option, with the availability of the new Bruins facility for showering and post-race festivities and the possibility of New Balance sponsorship. Conducting the event will cost  $2,300.

A prospective NB sponsorship is complicated by the fact that another shoe company, Nike, is the sponsor for USA Track & Field. Ed is querying Nike to see if it would allow NB sponsorship of our event; once that issue is resolved, Ed wants to pursue holding our race at Boston Landing. The race could be something of a test run for NB, which he said is excited about having frequent sports activity at its burgeoning campus.

The event could involve separating faster and slower walkers and conducting two races. This would prevent congestion on the course and make lap-counting easier for volunteers. Ed said he was confident that we could furnish enough volunteers to handle lap-counting, water stations, registration and other tasks. We would call on club members, family, friends, and perhaps members of the Waltham Track Club and other organizations we are involved with.

Members talked of finding a sponsor, perhaps a local restaurant, for a post-race buffet, and of approaching the WCVB-TV program “Chronicle” about doing a story beforehand.

On the matter of communicating, members saw a need for making our Facebook page more interactive, for sending notifications of events, and for improving the racewalking component of the USATFNE website.

Ed raised the matter of supporting athletes by paying for their travel and perhaps even offering per diem expenses when they compete nationally. He said he will try to draft a list of criteria for such support, including the walkers’ times and rankings. When asked whether the offer should be extended to anyone, regardless of past performance, he and others said that setting goals and strive for such sponsorship would be good for the athletes’ development.

Rich McElvery listed these events for the 2018 Grand Prix:
That day’s Tom Knatt Indoor Mile at MIT
Dartmouth Relays, Jan. 5-7
Greater Boston Track Club 3K, Harvard U., Jan. 21
East Region/NE Masters 3K, Providence, Jan. 28
NE Indoor 3K, Harvard, Feb. 18
Seacoast 5K, Portsmouth NH, May
National 5K, hosted by NEW, June 10
Bay State Games 3K, July
NE Outdoor 3K, July
An 8K and perhaps a 20K, Groton rail trail, September
Connecticut Racewalkers 10K, November

Club members reelected their five officers:
Ed O’Rourke, president; Rich McElvery, vice president; Ed Vaitones, member art large; Justin Kuo, treasurer; Charlie Mansbach, recording secretary.

Attending the meeting, conducted in a first-floor lounge area of the MIT athletic building where the Tom Knatt mile was held shortly afterward, were Ed O’Rourke, Rich McElvery, Ed, Val, and Vera Vaitones, Tom Knatt himself, Bob and Hilary Keating, Maegan Allen, Melissa Monaghan, Sophie and Michael Riegel, and Charlie Mansbach.


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