Bishop Loughlin Runners Traverse a Colorful Path

The annual New York City Marathon winded its way around the five boroughs last weekend.

Bishop Loughlin M.H.S. opened its new track right before this year’s NYC Marathon.

And as it did, the potential future marathoners of Brooklyn were testing out their brand new running track.

Bishop Loughlin M.H.S., Fort Greene, recently completed the renovation of its new track and schoolyard. The facility features a 201-meter purple and gold rubberized track with an inner portion complete with athletic field lines for the school’s various sports.

Last December, the first phase of the project took place as the schoolyard was resurfaced to prevent cracks. Work on the new track ramped up as the school year began in September.

“Our yard that was originally done in 1989, it deteriorated,” said John Klemm, the school’s director of development. “From the beginning, we had problems with cracks, and they developed and grew and grew. We patched them, but it became an unsafe environment for the kids.”

The work on the track was contracted out to Copeland Coating Company, an upstate New York-based company that has been a leader in paved surfaces since 1945. The new track is two layers – an adhesive base layer and a layer of rubber pellets – and is 10 millimeters in thickness.

Brian Connolly, a 1973 alum of Bishop Loughlin, graciously made the donation to pay for the painting of the new track in the Lions’ school colors: purple and gold. The color scheme has created quite the excitement among the school community.

“I think when everybody sees the final product, they’ll be very happy with it,” said Ed Bowes, who coached track at Bishop Loughlin from 1964 to 2003 and still maintains a track office at the school. “Other than Central Islip on Long Island or LSU (Louisiana State University), there aren’t many purple and gold tracks. I think the kids will enjoy it and be proud of it.”

The team, comprised of a total of 32 boys and girls, is also eager to have their track directly represent their school and its colors.

“It’s going to feel good knowing that we have our school colors on the track,” said sophomore Jaida Green. “I think it will motivate us, and I think it will be more comfortable for us to practice on. We have our own track now.”

“Knowing that we have a purple and gold track, I think it’s going to push all of our athletes,” said junior Brian Stracha. “They weren’t really focused on the track because it wasn’t in the best condition, but now that it’s purple and gold, I feel like the team is going to be better.”

Though the facility itself may not be solely responsible for the track team’s improvement, there’s no doubting that it can increase morale, which in turn could certainly have a positive effect on team performance.

“I think it will definitely be a motivator,” said the team’s head coach Mary Mells. “They’ve (the student-athletes) been asking about it already. They’re really excited about it.”

The Bishop Loughlin track program which has a proud and successful history, has been called the “Notre Dame of high school track.”

With each step these runners take on their new track, the purple and gold will constantly remind them of the history of the track program they have joined.

Contact Jim Mancari via email at

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