By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO Each week the members of the Sullivan Striders Running & Walking Club partake in a fun run, either at a public location or at a member’s house.
Last Thursday evening, about 30 Sullivan Striders members had the opportunity to run on a track which usually features Lamborghinis, Porsches and other sportscars traveling at speeds well in excess of 100 mph.
Monticello Motor Club Director of Track Operations Tony Funicello recently invited the Striders to run at the club on Cantrell Road. On Thursday night, the Striders took Funicello up on his gracious offer.
Prior to beginning their run, the Striders gathered around Funicello and listened closely as he told them a little bit about the Monticello Motor Club. He explained that the club has two tracks, the North Track and the South Track. The North Track is 1.8 miles long and the South Track is 1.6 miles long.
Funicello told the Striders that they had two choices for their run. They could stay on the North Track for a 1.8-mile run or they could continue on a portion of the South track to run a total of 3 1/2 miles.
This is the first time a group of runners took to the Monticello Motor Club’s road course. Funicello said that since opening last summer, the club has invited sheriff’s deputies, police officers, restaurant workers and bartenders to visit the facility. Since they have jobs where they interact a great deal with the public, they can help inform the community about the club.
After running on the tracks, the Striders became big fans of the club.
“It’s a great course,” Tim Billias said.
“It’s an incredible course,” Tom Manza said. “There are no hills and it’s very fast. The scenery along the track is very nice.”
Bob McPhillips agreed with Billias and Manza.
“It’s hard to believe something like this is in the area,” McPhillips commented. “It’s awesome and fun.
“For the Monticello Motor Club to invite us to run here tonight kind of boggles the mind,” he added.
Striders President Dennis Toscano was also impressed.
“I thought the track was very lovely and scenic,” he said. “It definitely brings some prestige to the area.”
While nothing has been officially discussed, there is the possibility of the Striders holding an actual running race at the Monticello Motor Club in the future.
“I think it would be a very big thing for our club and the community in general,” Toscano said.
“We’re treating tonight’s run as an experiment,” Funicello said. “We see how it goes and take it from there.”