PPA Profiles: Tom Meany
November 17, 2015
While many of the city’s runners are headed into the holidays with rest and rejuvenation on their minds, the same can’t be said for Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC) President and lifelong Brooklynite Tom Meany. With the help of a team of dedicated volunteers, Meany is busy preparing for one of the most beloved events on Brooklyn’s running calendar, the Turkey Trot, which has been organized by the PPTC since 1995 and takes place on Thanksgiving Day.
For many Brooklyn families, the five-mile Turkey Trot is a holiday tradition, with a dedicated—and diverse—core of annual runners. “You have a lot of kids home from college, local high school runners, people dressed up like pilgrims and turkeys, and even people who only run one race each year, this one,” says Meany.
While this year’s race is sold out, it is well worth coming out to watch the runners and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Meany recommends fans arrive before the 9 am start, and come prepared to cheer. “The best area for spectators is right around the LeFrak Center at Lakeside,” he advises, “where you can see the two-mile mark as well as easily watch the finish.”
A nine-time New York City one-time Boston marathoner (“New York City’s better, no contest”), Meany’s passion for both running and Prospect Park are infectious, especially when speaking about the Park’s transformation in the years since the founding of the Alliance. When Track Club was founded in 1970, its namesake park was rarely utilized as a training ground. “Guys were afraid to go into the Park but there weren’t pedestrian lanes on the surrounding streets, it was chaos,” recalls Meany.
After years of working with the Alliance, most notably as a member of the Park’s community committee and on a road-sharing taskforce, Meany says club members now delight at the running oasis the Park has become. Not only does the 3.35-mile Drive and its rolling hills challenge athletes, but also, he says, "it’s just beautiful."
The PPTC hosts races, group runs, social outings and more. Meany encourages those interested in joining PPTC to visit their website. Members range in experience from beginning runners to elite-level marathoners, and all are welcome.