North Brooklyn Runners: A Community Running Group Serving Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, and Beyond!

NBR Busy Bees

The Volunteer Race Award (from now on known as the Busy Bee Award) is a way to give back to those of you who make NBR such a wonderful running group. I see the dedication, the camaraderie and the sincere care that you have for others regardless of background, socioeconomic class or speed.

On any given day, the run leaders are at their assigned locations ready to take members through a workout. When I volunteer at an NBR water station I see the cohesive unit in its glory: the stacking of cups, the cheering for runners (regardless of team), the caring demeanor for all involved in this endeavor we enjoy so much. While the VRA concept was in the works prior to Hurricane Sandy, our actions post-storm proved to me that we needed an award to acknowledge the efforts we make to better our community and our running group.

With that said, I would like to thank Aja, Misha, Katie Winther and Michael Finelli Brown. Your input helped get this idea get off the ground and become a reality. Thank You.

What is the VRA award?

It’s an award given to a member who has given back to the community (local or running). These are people who have acted in a spirit of generosity by contributing their time, their ideas and their hard work to the group or to the group’s goals.

Criteria to win the Award

You must be an active member of NBR. You must demonstrate enthusiasm and abide by the NBR Code of Conduct.

What the Recipients receive and must follow up on

The recipients will receive a Busy Bee Patch, some NBR love on the NBR website and a $25 award which can be used for a race of their choice (or the award can be gifted to another runner). The recipient will in turn write a race report which will be posted on the NBR website.


Recipients to Date:

February 2015 – Katie Winther

Winther is Coming! (Game of Thrones reference, anyone?)

katie w croppedThis is a phrase we all love to hear. Why? Because it means that we will soon have the honor of spending time with such a genuine and fun person. This month, we present our Busy Bee award to our very own, Katie Winther. Whether it’s the annual Gala, Track Meet, Field Day, or Donut Run, you’ll find her hard at work putting together an unforgettable event. As one of our original NBR members, Katie is also one of our most dedicated. She was a TNT run leader, Team Captain, Social Coordinator, an avid volunteer etc etc etc. Need more proof? Patches don’t lie. She is one of only seven members of our team to receive EVERY SINGLE leadership patch that we have and now we can finally round it out with the Busy Bee patch. It’s no coincidence that five of these seven are also Busy Bee patch recipients. Katie is always working hard behind the scenes to make NBR a better and more fun organization. You can recognize Katie by her infectious and unique laughter and a smile that lights up a room. She is an incredible runner (you can find her at some of the runs leading the fast pace groups!) and a loyal friend. This award has been a long time coming for our Katie and the Volunteer Committee is proud to finally present it to her for the month of February. Congratulations, Katie!

January 2015 – Cherie Yanek

cherieBB2015“I can’t think of any better way to ring in the new year and bring back the Busy Bee award than with presenting this award to one of the most dedicated members of our team. For the month of January and our very first Busy Bee of 2015, we would like to honor Cherie Yanek as a CHERIshed member of our team. Not only is Cherie a national level ultra runner with an apartment lined with trophies, not only is she the Race Director for the Burning Man 50K Ultramarathon, not only is she dedicated to the community through her writing in… I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Cherie has been a run leader and committed NBR for over four years. She’s coordinated events, held workshops, invited speakers, etc, and about anything ranging from hot weather running to taking care of your feet. On a personal level, Cherie is known for being able to push you farther than you’ve ever thought possible. Don’t think you can run an ultra? Tell that to Cherie and she’ll convince you that you’re wrong.

Cherie encompasses the true spirit of NBR. She is a mentor, a motivator, a doer, a talented and passionate runner, and a SERIOUSLY good baker. Thank you, Cherie, for everything you do and congratulations on being this month’s Busy Bee!”

July 2014 – Raymund Riparip

Hold onto your shirt, call ahead for tacos, and then hide your cell phone. Because the Busy Bee for July is non other than the illustrious Raymund Riparip!

To commemorate this occasion, we present the clasic limerick – Ode to RiparipBusyBeeRaymund

This Houston transplant is one of a kind,
When he’s around we all unwind,
He’s caring and smart and funny as hell,
He’s NBR in a nutshell.

He volunteers whenever he can,
And always there to lend a helping hand,
For water tables or gardening his hand is raised,
And at the Donut Run, he orders glazed!
Social coordinator, run leader, and so much more.
He is someone we all greatly adore.
Twice the winner of NBR “Best Bod,”
And a frequent member of our wonderful Cheer Squad.
He’s a planner of sorts– team brunches and field day,
He’s been an active member since back in the day,
Tuesday Night Tempo with tacos to boot,
Without him as run leader it would be moot.
He lights up the track, the bridges, and Kent.
A party would follow wherever he went.
So this month we cheer and celebrate,
A Busy Bee that is so fantastic and great.
Our dear Raymond we present to thee,
The perfectly deserved July’s Busy Bee!

Thanks for all you do Ray! You help make this group a fun welcoming place!

June 2014 – Meg Duffy

Put on your fancy-pants! Because the Busy Bee for June is none other than Meg Duffy!

BBMeg04Meg is a loved and well-known part of NBR. And if you haven’t met her before, there are a few ways to help recognize her: Look for someone with ecumenical kindness and an infectious enthusiasm. Look for someone unique and fiercely creative, who runs in fabulously-funky, self-styled gear. Look for someone personable with a great smile that greets new and old members alike. Look for someone fearlessly fun, who’s willing to instigate a dance party at almost any moment. Look for someone who is devoted and caring enough to take responsibility for the Tuesday Night Tempo (TNT) for one whole year! …Because that’s how NBR recognizes Meg!

Meg joined NBR in 2011 after moving to Brooklyn from another state. She started slowly connecting with members who shared her interest in running. She trained, raced, and regularly participated in NBR group runs. Through her participation, Meg found inspiration among others who also shared the same goaBBMeg03ls, challenges, and celebrated her accomplishments. But Meg didn’t just limit her involvement to running, and that was not her only connection. Soon she found herself getting more involved — volunteering with NBR at races, community events, and cheering on others. As her friendships grew, so did her desire to give back. Then in 2012, Meg acted on that desire by committing to lead TNT, a post that she served well for 1 year. During this time, we all saw Meg’s natural leaderships skills. Her presence was moral boosting. And her open, friendly attitude inspired so many to reach their goals.

NBR is all about people. We are a big and diverse group. Our members join for different reasons and choose to connect with the group in different ways. Our group culture is flexible to meet these diverse needs. In leadership, Meg has demonstrated this flexibility with kindness, enthusiasm, and style. But it is her commitment that makes her a Busy Bee. In passing, Meg has mentioned how NBR was one of the best things that happened to her since moving to Brooklyn. Today NBR has replied: Dear Meg, the feeling is mutual!

If you see Meg around, congratulate her on this accomplishment!

April & May 2014 – Miguel Rivera and Cristina Cartagena

It’s a family affair! For April and May the BUSY BEE goes to Miguel and Cristina!!

Miguel1Perhaps you have been wondering “What ever happened to the Busy Bee Awards?” Well fear not! The institution of the Busy Bee is alive and well! However, the committee that edits these articles has been a busy with planning various summer events. But enough about that…on to the announcement!

NBR is often characterized as a big surrogate family. And like all families, we have our “ups” and “downs”. And while this is true, there are people who continually set positive examples within the group. So, for April and May, we decided to acknowledge an actual family that represents NBR so well! Miguel Rivera and Cristina Cartagena were married long before they joined, but together they have inspired and set a great example for many of us.

Miguel currently volunteers for two official NBR roles – Race Coordinator and Wednesday Night Run Leader. He is a devoted father, dedicated athlete, and welcoming member of NBR. On the weekends, he and his wife teach young school children how to run. And while being a skillful runner, Miguel still finds time to volunteer at the races he is not running in. He strives to lead by example and likewise has been embraced by other men in the group. However, it is notable that Miguel would not be part of this group if it were not for his wife Cristina.

Miguel2.jpgCristina, celebrated in her own right, joined NBR long before bringing her husband into the fold. She is known all over NBR for her devotion to the group. She volunteers as Gear Master – a role that makes her responsible for planning and supplying our coveted singlets, fleeces, and other wears. She is also one of the best Gear Masters NBR has ever had! On the weekends, she can often be found with her two sons, decked out in NBR swag. Cristina is known for her volunteerism, her devotion, and her thoughtfulness. She is known as being one of the best cooks in NBR, thanks to her legendary work at the Father’s Day Post-Race Brunch.

Cristina and Miguel are both generous people. They offer their dedication and unique gifts to the group. They are different, but complimentary—and in this they offer a great lesson to the group: It’s our differences that give us the ability to inspire and support each other. So if you see them around, feel free to congratulate them!

Cristina and Miguel, you have both inspired so many in NBR. Your efforts (both individually and combined) have shaped perspectives and experiences within this group. So we acknowledge you both with this distinguished honor!

The Busy Bee April and May belong to you! However, you will have to fight amongst yourselves to determine who gets which month (we may or may-not be betting on Cristina here).

March 2014 – Max Frumes

I’d like to FORMally introduce our March Busy Bee… Max Frumes!

BusyBeeMaxMax is the kind of guy that gives…a LOT. And he puts himself into everything he does. He has led the Wednesday Night Form Run since before heel striking was a thing. If you have questions about your line of vision while running or want to crush an ultra marathon– Max Frumes is your man-in-the-know! Even when the weather is brutally cold, Max will still gather his daring WNFR crew over to the frozen tundra that used to be Prospect Park and proceed to teach the merits of Ice Running. That’s right. We said, Ice Running. So now, we know two things

  1. How to run on ice
  2. Max Frumes’s gumption may rival that of Ernest Hemingway

We could easily digress about Max’s drive and how it helps him learn more about running and winning races (e.g. winning a 100K race ). However, we would be remiss if we didn’t highlight the fact that Max chooses to also use that drive to help others. Not only does Max regularly devote his time and energy to teaching members how to avoid running injuries, he also volunteers whenever and wherever needed. When another beloved NBR member needed volunteers to help staff a volunteer program benefiting the homeless (see Back on My Feet), Max was there. When Hurricane Sandy decimated much of the Rockaways in 2012, Max was one of the first NBR members on the scene, and later inspired others to join him. He also continued to help with the cleanup weeks after the storm. Max is dedicated. Max values his community. Max is NBR!

And we are so proud to have him on our team!  Thank you, Max!

February 2014 – John Slaski

ANNOUNCEMEEEEEENTZ!!!! The Busy Bee for February is non-other than NBRs very own – John Slaski!

NBRBusyBeeJSMany of us know John from one of the roles he fulfills in the group and his often warm, always unique personality. John has a big heart and madcap-outspoken zeal for all things North Brooklyn. …And the feeling is mutual!

Born and raised in Greenpoint, John Slaski is both a piece of old-school Brooklyn, and of old-school NBR. Over his years of running with the group, John started to form friendships and slowly make contributions. Today, he is a regular. You can find him most Wednesday evenings directing runners through the once-mean-streets of the hood. In his downtime, John also volunteers behind-the-scenes, helping with NBR web-presence (, The GoogleGroup, FB, etc.). During the spring, John enjoys sharing his passion for cycling with other members in the group by leading 140-mile Brooklyn-to-Montauk rides (see NBRiders Group)! New members describe him as both generous and caring.

Like many members of NBR, John is a person of conviction. But his convictions drive him to support other people and their efforts within NBR. It is for these supportive actions that John is receiving this distinguished honor. Support is an important part of any community. And we want to thank John for all the support he has offered through the years.

Keep it real, John!! And congratulations!

January 2014 – Sole Mendez

The First Busy Bee of 2014 goes to….Sole Mendez!!!

BusyBeeSoleSole is someone who truly embodies the spirit of generosity. Weather she is volunteering as a run-leader, handing out water at a race, or considering ways to help the homeless, Sole is one cool, down-to-earth lady. She is indeed one of the least judgmental people you will ever meet, and values openness. For NBR, she brings her natural enthusiasm and brightness to the group.

Generally, she is almost always the first person to jump at the chance to volunteer! She was the most enthusiastic person at the NYC water table and you can see her smile from a mile away. In addition to her kind heart, she has an unmatched element of strength. Even though Sole no longer works at Marathon Sports in Boston, she still goes every year on Marathon Monday to lend a helping hand. This year was no different and when the bomb went off, she was there, at the finish line, inside of Marathon Sports. She could have run and gotten as far away from the chaos as possible. But instead, she kept her cool and helped her coworkers make tourniquets to help some of the victims. This was only the beginning for Sole. A few weeks later, she joined a few other NBRers to go back to Boston and run the BAA 10K, the first BAA race since the bombings.

Sole, you have consistently embodied the spirit on NBR through your positive actions and generously attitude. Thanks for making the contributions you make and for being such a shining example for us all! If you see her around, be sure to congratulate her!


January 2013 – Logan Yu

177202_542365089140_1660040825_oLogan is an example of all that NBR stands for. He is a thoughtful young man who if not racing or training can be found at an NBR Volunteer event or training with you just because he loves too. During the post Sandy cleanup, he could be found digging up basements and helping many of those families in need.  He was still able to finish the Brooklyn Marathon when an asthma attack hit him at mile 2. All the hard work came to fruition during the 2013 Coogans 5K when Logan scorched the pavement with a 17:24 (5:37 pace) on one of the toughest courses. We are proud to announce Logan Yu as the first ever recipient of the Busy Bee Award . Congratulations and continued success.


February 2013 – Russell Marks

549571_10151196917716518_461958342_nSince Russell has been a member of NBR he has extended himself to the club in many ways. Whether it was picking up gear for a club points race, giving guidance to a runner (did I mention he is a certified coach), taking a vital role during our first track meet, volunteering at one of our many fluid station or helping toss trash from a Rockaway residence after Sandy. This transplanted Cheese head from Wisconsin has made a positive impact amongst his fellow NBRiors. Russell continues to lead by example and it is the selection committees pleasure to present him as the recipient of the February Busy Bee Award. Congratulations and continued success.


Russell has opted to defer his winnings to fellow team member Eduardo Aponte.

March 2013 – Anna McCusker

547038_10151121273348314_1903754501_nAnna has been a staple of NBR almost since inception. She has led the Monday night run since I can remember and she currently holds the title of Race Coordinator. She has coordinated team outings to Citi field for her beloved NY Mets. She single handedly facilitated post Sandy relief efforts on behalf of NBR combining her passion for New York and her generous spirit. NBR members could be found in Red Hook, Rockaway and Breezy Point all because of our favorite Red head! Way to go Anna! The selection committee is proud to present her with our March Award.



April 2013 – Lauren Su

314446_10102447847156493_1100144919_n“Whether she’s crunching registration numbers for the track meet, lending a hand at one of our water stations, or up on stage as one of the Achilles, Lauren always gives selflessly and with a smile. She was absolutely instrumental in organizing the registration in the weeks leading up to the track meet and heading up the team on the day of. In many of NBR’s community and volunteering activities she is always willing to help and does so with a warm and graceful spirit.”




May 2013 – Brian Cicero

BrianCHeadShotMirror mirror on the wall who’s the busiest one of all?

He runs around from spring to fall, from track meet to gala ball

He throws a brunch and we all go, inspired by the fab photo

Never stop, always go, lets give it up for Cicero (Brian! Brian! Brian!)





June 2013 – Mike Hill

Mike Hill Busy BeeMike’s good nature embodies the giving back attitude that the NBR Busy Bee award represents and he exemplifies the communality driven roots of the club.    His smile and warmth is always lending an ear or hand.  He is open to all members and is generally a great example of what makes this group so cool.  He is not only a fierce competitor, but also always has more cowbell when you need it.  He is willing to risk extra chaffing so our Scotland Day is more genuine.

Mike is actively involved in all aspects of the club.   He is a great asset to have at a hectic water station or while gutting a basement in the Rockaways.  There has not been a volunteer opportunity that he has missed.  Injury prevented him from running the recent Brooklyn Half Marathon, but he was seen cheering, cowbelling, and watering his NBR teammates to some fast times. Mike can be found training on any given night and/or on a food hunt run like this past weekend’s Doughnut Run!

July 2013 – Jennifer Daniels

nbrclubawardsJenJennifer Daniels is July’s Busy Bee because of her long standing commitment to NBR. She has been with NBR since January of 2009 and has continuously shown what is good with NBR. She has been co-leader of the Thursday night run (Nesting included) since it’s inception in 2009. (Over four years!) These workouts are geared towards team races and she along with the other co-leaders work hard to set up the right workouts for the races ahead.  She also served as our running fashion guru on our gear team for over two years.

When she is not leading a run she can be found on the course running a race and placing for the ladies team. If not racing you can find her on the course cheering her teammates on with words of encouragement. It amazes us that she still finds the energy to volunteer out our various fluid stations during the year. Last year she was at The Brooklyn Marathon cheering and handing out water to our runners as they ran multiple loops of Prospect Park. It is with great pride that the selection committee awards Jennifer Daniels the Busy Bee Award for July 2013.

August 2013 – Michael Stermer

578966_10151126560948314_144738788_nMichael is a regular at NBR’s events, regularly participates in group volunteer efforts, and is a key member of NBRs crack graphic-design squad! That’s right! This is the guy who is responsible the NBR flag, and much of the artwork and design you see at proms, and everywhere! …cool, right?! When he is not tearing up the track he is regularly seen at all club points races, or clocking you at our track meet. Sometimes he is incognito behind a mustache and cummerbund.

But beyond the mustache, Michael is an awesome team player, a good friend to many, and always a phenomenally positive contribution to both NBR and the neighborhood. And to top it all off, he’s humble!

Here’s to you Michael!!

Thanks for your generous spirit and ongoing contributions! You’re a great example to us all! Keep it up!

Wherever you see him, make sure to congratulate and thank him as the selection committee is proud to present him with our August Award.

September 2013 – Ben Starr

DSCN0631When it comes to teamwork, Ben truly lives up to his last name. He has taking on the responsibility of leading multiple NBR runs, often simultaneously (e.g. Saturday Bridge run and SFR)! But No…that’s not enough for Ben! …Because he also volunteers at almost *every* NBR event that he is not running in!, including, timing you at our track meet, handing you water at NYRR races, and making Greenpoint more green.  While Ben is not one to actively seek accolades for something like this, we think they are well deserved.

But wait, there is more! Since he joined us in 2010 Ben has been a warm & delightful person too! And this prestigious patch is being given in recognition of all he does for the club, and the kind-hearted hospitality he has continually extended to all our members — both new and old alike! So if you see Ben around, please give him a pat on the back and extend your congratulations! And if you don’t know him, he will almost certainly be welcoming!
Here is to you Ben!

…Oh boy. What a great and well deserving member! Whoever get the Busy Bee next month will have to be REALLY amazing to follow this guy!! Find out what happens on October 1st!!!

October 2013 – Sherry Rosenkrantz

DSCN0661Our Busy Bee for October is Sherry Rosenkrantz. If you have ever taken part in the Saturday Bridge Run or gone to a New Member Social, you have seen Sherry– she has been a friendly and inviting figure to these and many other events, and has been co-leading the Bridge Run for over 4 years. Sherry is a devoted runner who until recently never sustained an injury that made her miss more then one day of running since 1996, and equally impressively, has run over 15 NYC Marathons. An NBR member since the group’s infancy, she actively took on leadership roles and helped mold NBR into what it is today. Early on, Sherry helped to organize our growing membership by responding to emails from potential members, becoming NBR’s first Membership Coordinator, and in that role she also helped create our Annual Membership Survey. In November, she will add the title of Team Captain to the many hats she has worn for NBR.

Sherry has always been a devoted member of NBR and has put in countless hours to the success of this club and we can’t imagine NBR without her. Congratulations, Sherry on being selected as October’s Busy Bee!

November 2013 – Shane Clarke

ShaneClarkeBusyBeeWith the ides of November upon us we want to give a loud Bronx cheer to Shane Clarke our November 2013 Busy Bee Recipient! Shane has been a consummate teammate since joining NBR! Whether its volunteering at a fluid station, helping in relief efforts after Super storm Sandy, putting together the logistics of a camping trip to the Poconos in Mid-Summer or Volun-Cheering during a race out of state, Shane has been the ultimate Teammate! He did all that and still found time to train for the 2013 NYC ING Marathon were he ran a very respectable 3:03:08! To celebrate our Irish Lads accomplishment we Have a special Poem for Shane:

When Shane’s Eyes Are Smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring.

In the lilt of Shane’s laughter, you can hear the angels sing.

When Shane’s hearts are happy, all the world seems bright and gay,

And When Shane’s Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.

December 2013 – Ken Allen

KenAllenBusyBeePhotographers are often overlooked as they are rarely in their own photos. No one takes more photos then Ken Allen. Here’s a thousand words on Ken Allen.

Many of us got to know him early on when Ken Allen Studios hosted NBR meetings, Town Halls, Work-shops, and Fashion Show(s). The Studio even stored NBR gear for a year or two. He is always positive and always smiling; always generous and there for anyone and everyone.

Our favorite night of the year includes the incredible Ken Allen photo booth. These photos from the last three Gala Proms are easily some of the best pictures any of us have of ourselves. This is a huge production each year and he trucks over a lot of expensive high tech equipment. We are even handed the photos on paper before we leave for the night.

Ken is the famous K from the JK&L or JK&T. He has been Thursday Night Track co-leader for over two years. He is out there in the cold, rain, sleet, and snow. When not busy participating in racing events, he is usually volunteering at water tables with you, and smiling. Yeah, Yeah. Do you like waffles? Ken does, and he wants to share them with you. Ken created, hosted, and chefed NBR’s first Saturday Morning Bridge Run & Waffle Brunch this year.

His artistic lens has captured us at numerous NBR events, runs, & races. We had our first official NBR photo shoot courtesy of Ken. It was an ingenious and fun setup. The results are legendary. Ken doesn’t just run, he also bikes and swims and he wants us to join him. He co-presented this year’s NBR Triathlete Workshop as well as organizes swims, drives to swims, and bike rides for our triathlete community. He also continuously organizes and provides transportation, usually in van form, for numerous NBR races and events, including Boston Marathon Road Trips! He does have a slightly heavy foot! Make sure he has his Starbucks for the ride home. His vans (or yours) are usually easy to recognize with printed sticker graphics that he designs and prints. In fact, Ken provides many posters and signage for our track meets. Has he ever accepted a payment for any of these generous products? We can ask, um, Ken, as he brings his amazing business insight to the team position of treasurer.

Ken’s generosity isn’t limited to just the NBR community, he was hands on in volunteer efforts immediately after Hurricane Sandy and later on in restoring affected families’ photo albums via Operation Photo Rescue. Ken even rescued everyone’s favorite greyhound and boarders a fellow NBR.

Will we ever forget the epic NBR NYC Marathon After-party he hosted this year at his home?!??!

Will you be the next NBR Busy Bee?

-Volunteer Coordinators  (Any Questions. Ideas?, E-mail us here.)

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