GREENWICH, Conn. – Superstorm Sandy last fall inspired Greenwich’s Mickey Yardis to rework the Greenwich Cup Series for recreational athletes with new events, new venues and something for everybody.
“When we had to move the Bushwhack race last November, it lit my creative side,’’ Yardis said. “We were going to cancel it altogether, and one of my staffers at Threads and Treads said, ‘Don’t go down without a fight.’ We had the race at Camp Simmons, and it forced us to scramble. But everyone is excited about the new events.”
The new sponsor of the Greenwich Cup is Betteridge Jewelers of Greenwich. The events are presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery of New York. New events include the YMCA of Greenwich 1-mile swim on March 3, the Greenwich Half Marathon on April 7 and the CancerCare Walk/Run For Hope on May 5.
Yardis eliminated a run-bike-run biathlon, an event that had been held for 20 years. All of the other favorites will return, including the 49th annual Jim Fixx Memorial Day Run, the Greenwich Point Mile Swim, the Betteridge Greenwich Cup Triathlon, the Tour de Greenwich bike race and the second Muddy Up For Kids 5K run. The complete list of events is available on the Threads and Treads website.
“The decision to cancel the biathlon was tough, but I’m listening to the will of the people,’’ Yardis said. “I’m the conduit and reacting to what the gang is asking me for.”
The swimming event in March is a unique event. Yardis said he will reach out to schools, clubs, junior swimmers and masters and hopes to get 300 to 400 participants. Olympic gold medalist Donna de Varona will be the co-chair for the event.
The centerpiece of Yardis’ new events is the half-marathon. The 13.1-mile distance has become a favorite for runners, and he promises they will love the course in Greenwich. The race begins at Tod’s Point.
“It’s 98 percent flat as a pancake, and we’re going to follow it up with a pancake breakfast,’’ Yardis said. “People have been asking for this for two or three years. There’s already a huge buzz about it.”
The CancerCare 5K run May 5 takes the place of the biathlon and will include a walk, a run and a kids run. “I know some people are going to miss the biathlon,’’ he said. “But it just doesn’t have the cache that it once did. It just kind of shrunk and doesn’t have the demand.”
The Muddy Up for Kids drew a terrific response in its first year last September, and the event returns to Camp Simmons on Sept. 29. The Back Country Bushwhack will also be run at Camp Simmons on Nov. 10. The race held been held at various locations over the years. When Sandy ravaged Tod’s Point last fall, Yardis nearly canceled the race.
During a visit to Camp Simmons, he said he was on the verge of leaving when the sound of chainsaw made him re-evaluate.
“I met a worker named Juan Carlo, and within two hours I knew that it could work,’’ Yardis said. “He was like Zorro with a chainsaw.”
Now he’s anxious to get started. “Last summer, I got a re-energized a little bit by jumping into some of these events,’’ he said. “Now I see why people come out and do this. I suddenly had this little creative burst. It’s going to be fun to mix it up.”