Are you a three-sport athlete looking to stay fit in your off season? There is a club for you.
Not the team-sport type, but want a fun exercise regimen and a place to make friends after school? There is a club for you.
Perhaps you’re a lightning-fast track star who likes to compete in races? This could be your club too.
And, by the way, if you’re a mom or dad who likes the idea of running outdoors with your children, this just might be a club for your whole family.
Now in its sixth year, the roster at the Greenwich Track Club (GTC) has grown steadily if not exponentially. Mostly through word of mouth, GTC has evolved into a four-season, family and service-oriented program that embodies aspects of both club and team. To that, add a dash of outdoorsy reinvent-yourself summer camp experience and you have a most unique program.
“On a nice spring day you’ll see a hundred of us out for a run,” said club Director Bill Bogardus. Indeed, GTC has also become a noted feeder program for track and cross-country teams.
The club started as a collaboration of longtime club manager Lucy Langley and her friend Debbie Lamoureux who approached Bogardus, a Greenwich Public School PE teacher and 2007 Teacher of the Year recipient, about starting a running club outside school. “We wanted a club where every kid could reach their potential and have fun,” said Bogardus, who recalled how the initial 15 public school members spread word of the club to friends in private schools and even neighboring towns.
“We don’t turn anyone away and we help each kid reach their potential. We let them try it out and run that day and with the group. Most of them sign up as a result,” explained Bogardus.
"Very early on we approached Robert Guerrieri at in Old Greenwich about a possible sponsorship,” said Bogardus. “He offered us weekly bagels and cream cheese, and we built our Sunday morning family runs around that. People kept coming for a run and breakfast,” he said. The club has since added Golden Logos, , , Pinkberry, and to the sponsor list.
Modeling Sportsmanship, Community Service and Charitable Giving
Bogardus doesn’t so much talk about sportsmanship as model it. He often refers to “we” and “our club,” and goes to great lengths to list every coach and volunteer by name and describe all their individual accomplishments.
GTC will serve as race director for upcoming May 20th mini marathon for Save the Children. GTC also rallies behind coaches who run marathons for causes like Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Last spring GTC sponsored
Be Inclusive, Strive for Your Personal Best
The club is nothing if not inclusive. “We have kids with a huge range of ability, including some very fast kids. We’ve had members whose goal was to complete a single lap around the track,” explained Bogardus.
At any given workout the older kids can be seen helping the younger ones. When they age out of the program after middle school, they often come back to GTC for their high school community service hours. After high school and college, they still come back, serving as coaches and volunteers.
GTC’s strength and conditioning coach, Jeremy Boland, who also doubles as a Greenwich Public Schools PE teacher and , leads the twice-weekly winter workouts in the gym at the Greenwich known as “Snowflake Fitness.”
“Between the time spent on technology and the hours of homework, parents have got to get the kids moving,” said Boland. “You have to have them try things. Try everything. You have to find something they like, a way to exercise that they enjoy.” To that end, Boland makes his twice-weekly winter workouts fun. On a recent after-school session, about 50 kids ranging from seven to 14 worked up a sweat but were mostly smiling.
“No two workouts are ever the same,” said Boland. “Because of the variety in every workout, we address strength, speed, ability, conditioning and flexibility.”
Spring is in the Air
Registration for spring GTC spring session starts this week. The mid-March to mid-May session meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Havemeyer track, with the popular Sunday morning family runs taking place at Camp Simmons.
GTC website has details on club membership, spring and summer registration, and fees, as well as upcoming events like the May 20th Save The Children mini marathon and the June 10th Kids Triathalon.
“And like us on Facebook,” suggests Bogardus. “That way you’ll receive club news alerts automatically.”
One gets the impression Bogardus is constantly brainstorming new fitness opportunities and offshoots of GTC. “Oh, we’re starting a group for adult runners,” he mentioned as he unpacked medicine balls for the Snowflake session at the YMCA. “It’ll be for adults who want to train and race together. We’ll run one to three times a week. Maybe towel off and hit a local restaurant like afterward. It’ll be social and friendly.”
Club manager Lucy Langley can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bogardus can be contacted at email@example.com