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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 25, 2011

Fast kid from Brooklyn
Carducci coaches and organizes local races

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

ALTAMONT — Running is Phil Carducci’s life.

Last week, he helped direct the 5K race in Voorheesville. Next week, he’s organizing the 5K in Altamont.

At 62, Carducci has been competing for 51 years.

He started at age 11. “You have to run fast in Brooklyn,” Carducci said with a chuckle. “I was a skinny little guy, terrible at basketball and everything else.”

Growing up in New York, he’d sneak out to go to track meets, taking the subway on summer Saturdays. “My grandmother thought I was at the playground the whole time,” he said.

He was on both the cross-country and track teams at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn. “When I was running back in high school,” Carducci recalled, “no one was out there jogging. If you were out running, people thought you were nuts.”

He used to run from Wall Street in downtown Manhattan all the way north to Washington Heights and back. For high school meets, he and his teammates would take the subway and arrive at the meet individually; there were no team buses.

“I got good because of my coach,” Carducci said.

His coach, Frank McCartney, was tough. “He wouldn’t coddle you,” Carducci recalled. “He made you run hard. If you felt like you couldn’t do another one, he’d make you do it. The day I actually won something, I found out I could do it.”

Carducci won his first race as a sophomore in high school. As he was running, he recalled, “It was very silent. I turned around and no one was near me.” He liked the feeling. “That woke me up,” he said.

After graduating from high school, he joined the Navy, serving on a submarine. He then went to Bard College for three years, studying film and creative writing. “I wanted to run with faster people,” he said. So he transferred to Valparaiso in Indiana, moving from a Division 3 school to a Division 1 school.

Having switched majors to physical education, he was at Valparaiso for two-and-a-half years.

“I learned a lot and got faster. I won a lot of road races,” said Carducci. “I woke up again; it was my second coming.”

He is still running in races. “It keeps me in shape,” said Carducci.

He also helps coach at Voorheesville and organizes local races. “I like to help the kids and watch them get better,” said Carducci. “Video games are OK to a point, but it’s important to get kids active.”

He models his coaching on that of his own high-school coach, Frank McCartney.

“Sometimes,” said Carducci, “it’s good to be tough.”

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