Tag Archives: New York Road Runners

Queens Courier reporter challenges Queens 10K

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy NYRR

A challenge of speed this was not.

I quickly realized the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Queens 10K would have talented, serious marathoners when about 9,000 runners gathered at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sunday despite a night of rain and threatening gray skies above.

Thankfully the forecasted showers held off, but my finish time of 48:52 shouldn’t be considered fast when the male first-place finisher Ayele Megersa Feisa clocked in at 30:14 minutes and female winner Etaferahu Temesgen finished at 33:16.

I ran in part to see if the NYRR met its self-regulated goal to produce a race that promotes and represents the borough. And kudos to NYRR for keeping the 6.2-mile race in Flushing Meadows for more than two decades as it highlights many of Queens’ jewels on the course.

“The park has so many beautiful iconic structures,” said Peter Ciaccia, NYRR’s president, events and TCS New York City Marathon race director. “To go through the whole course and see the museum, see the Unisphere, run past Citi Field, it’s pretty cool.”

Running around this landmark-filled green space is like a trip to a museum, and this year competitors raced through a transforming park.

We passed the expanding Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and enormous cranes roofing Arthur Ashe Stadium. We saw the New York State Pavilion, which is being rehabilitated, and curved around Meadow Lake, which is being restored.

Then there’s Citi Field, where the New York Mets have been rebuilding for some time, and towards the end, we wrapped around the revitalized Queens Museum, and passed by the Unisphere — the “World’s Borough’s” symbol — before coming to the finish line.

It is undoubtedly a fun race that showcases much of what the borough has to offer, but the truth is the Queens 10K can still do more to accentuate Queens.

Those familiar with Queens know its famous structures well, but for foreigners of the borough, if some signage existed along the course maybe it would help runners develop further interest in them.

And while the Queens 10K serves as the borough’s representative in the Five-Borough Series, I found it weird that Queens — the largest borough by land mass — has the shortest race. I was told for logistical reasons it wouldn’t be a good idea to expand the race in Flushing Meadows. But because it is smaller it is viewed as an easier event for some running clubs.

I had one problem with the actually course road itself: there were crater-size pot holes around the Meadow Lake section that we had to hop and dodge. The Parks Department should take care of that before next year’s event.

Post-race, there was a fun festival with games for children, a raffle and food vendors. It’s a brilliant idea, but while there was an array of food trucks that frequent Manhattan, I was disappointed that Queens’ reputation as being a hot spot for diverse food wasn’t highlighted by the inclusion of more local food businesses.

The 7 train’s reputation for being shoddy was witnessed by many runners though. The Flushing-bound line had delays that prevented some runners from getting to the starting line on time. This isn’t helpful to promote the race or the borough. While the NYRR is not at fault, it did acknowledge the problem and is trying to appease affected runners.

Recognizing that the race could use a tune-up, next year the NYRR will turn to local runners to find ways to add even more Queens spirit to the event.

“There are a couple of running clubs out here in Queens that are interested [in showcasing the borough more],” Ciaccia said, “so I want to work with them over the course of this year and see what tweaks they are interested in.”


Elmhurst girls impress at first-ever NYRR Kids Boardwalk Run

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy NYRR

Two girls from P.S. 102 in Elmhurst finished in two of the three top spots for their age bracket in the first-ever New York Road Runners (NYRR) Kids’ Boardwalk Run at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half on May 16. Hundreds of children, ages 7 to 18, from all five boroughs competed in heats based on age.

Skyi Velasco, 11, finished in second place, with a time of 6:10 and Kallie Sanchez, 13, came in third place with a time of 6:13 in the 11- to 13-year-old girls one-mile heat. They also placed third and fifth, respectively, out of nearly 300 female runners.

The out-and-back course started and ended at the half-marathon finish line. The kids ran in their heats and all participants earned a finisher ribbon as well as a set of bright green sunglasses. The top three finishers in each heat also received a medal and tickets to the New York Aquarium.

Both girls participate in the NYRR Young Runners youth program. The young runners program use team-based structure to help kids learn important lessons about how to set and achieve goals and to make activity a part of their daily lives.


Star of Queens: Maria Romano, volunteer running coach, New York Road Runners

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



BACKGROUND: Maria Romano, 56, was born in Brooklyn but has been living in Jamaica off and on since she was 16. She likes that Jamaica is a diverse neighborhood and that there are several parks offering good spots to run. She started running in the fall of 2009 and two years ago, she founded the Quick Silver Striders, a running club in Jamaica.

OCCUPATION: Romano works part time as a community service coach for New York Road Runners. She teaches walking and physical fitness to seniors.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Romano is a volunteer running coach with the Young Runners program of New York Road Runners. Through this program, she volunteers at P.S. 34, an elementary school in Queens Village, and at I.S. 223, a middle school in Brooklyn. She trains children on running techniques. It is important to know how to run, said Romano, because it works your heart and you live a better, healthier life. She also stresses the importance of healthy eating, thereby combating childhood obesity. Romano noticed that children in her program not only become faster runners, but also become more health conscious.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “My one achievement is that I founded Quick Silver Striders with 20 people two years ago. Today, we have 85 members,” Romano said. “One of my team members is this 47-year-old man, who ran in the New York City marathon. It was his first marathon but he qualified for Boston.” She adds, “The NYRR host 12 team point races throughout the year. Adding all the points, my team ranked No. 9 out of 100 teams in 2014. When it comes to kids, whenever I can get them to go to running camp, it is an achievement.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Romano said that many people come to her because they want to run, but getting them off the couch when it is really cold outside is a challenge. She faces this challenge only with new runners; seasoned runners know how to keep warm while running in winter.

INSPIRATION: “My students inspire me because the more they do, the more they enjoy living the lifestyle of running.”



Record numbers, heightened security at NYC Marathon

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of New York Road Runners

The safest place in the country may have been the route of the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday.

NYPD officers trolled the race, guarding runners and spectators alike, because of terrorism concerns caused by the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, in which three people died and hundreds were injured.

A record 50,740 runners from around the world competed in this year’s ING Marathon, which was cancelled last year due to tremendous damage by Superstorm Sandy.

“My point of view is you can’t live like that,” said Joseph Gordon, a Queens Village resident who ran the marathon for the first time. “Living in New York it’s dangerous just to step outside my house. The NYRR [New York Road Runners] did a good job being careful and improving security.”

The marathon, which travels 26.2 miles around the five boroughs, featured more police officers along the course than previous years, some with bomb-sniffing dogs. Officers also checked spectators’ bags at certain locations, among various other reported counter-terrorism tactics.

As a result the race proceeded safely and featured fierce competition, dominated by Kenyan runners.

In the men’s race, Geoffrey Mutai defended his NYC Marathon 2011 crown with another win. He finished with an official time of 2:08:24. Priscah Jeptoo won the women’s division with a time of 2:25:07.

Gordon said the return of the race brings the city a little bit closer to normalcy.

“I think it’s really important to New York, the fact that it’s in all the boroughs and a lot of people were affected [by Sandy],” he said. “It’s not something that New York needs, but that the people of New York needed. It’s like a morale booster.”



Boston Marathon bombing has races rethinking security

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Now that surviving Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev has been captured and charged with using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, some of the motivations behind the attack are becoming clearer.

Other questions about security and how to prevent future attacks at similar events are under heated debate.

“Thinking about the football season starting or baseball, I don’t think [security is] going to change dramatically,” said David Kearn, an assistant professor in government and politics at St. John’s University.

Sporting venues such as Citi Field and the National Tennis Center are contained locations, he added.

“If you have to go through doors, you can have metal detectors, you can have people doing pat downs, you can have different types of devices to make sure that people aren’t bringing in things that you don’t want them bringing in,” Kearn said.

But he added that an event like the Boston Marathon has large areas that are “virtually unprotected.”

Security measure that Kearn said officials could use in areas where people congregate include mandatory check points.

The JFK 5k Runway Run, an annual race at John F. Kennedy International Airport, already uses similar security measures.

Runners and spectators must pass through security in accordance with the airport’s standards, said Rudy Auslander of the JFK Rotary Club, the event’s sponsor.

He said while they do not have to remove their shoes, all entrants are screened. Buses take runners out to the runway, and spectators are kept in an area near the line where the race both starts and finishes.

Other races in the city are designed differently, with spectators throughout the route, making similar security measures difficult.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR), who organize races including the ING NYC Marathon throughout the year, implemented enhanced baggage security following the Boston attack.

Runners who want to check their bags at one of the races must place them in a clear plastic bag and leave them in a designated zone that participants cannot enter. NYRR also has the right to search any bag in or outside the baggage area at any time, and an unattended bag can be confiscated.

“The safety and security of all New York Road Runners’ races is and will always be our top priority,” the group said in a statement. “A number of significant measures have been put in place in recent years, and we will work closely with the NYPD over the coming days and weeks to further evaluate security at races. We will continue to work hand in hand with the City of New York and the NYPD as we plan for all upcoming events.”

Kearn said these security measures would “draw more resources and more man power. You might be able to have volunteers do some of that stuff in terms of just checking bags, but you will have to have more folks checking and looking around in the future.”









New York Road Runners Youth Jamboree held

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the New York Road Runners The team at P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway received hand-knitted running caps

The leaves are falling, but the kids are still running.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR) Youth Jamboree kicked into high gear at the Armory in Washington Heights on October 23 – and family fun was had by all as kids participated in a variety of track and field events including relays, runs, long jump and shot put.
Each year the friendly competition attracts sporty sorts from across the city, and this year they were joined by an icon in the world of adolescent fitness. For the first time ever, Sportacus from the television show “Lazytown” joined the NYRR team at the Jamboree to motivate and energize the kids with warm-up sessions throughout the day.
After the event was over and the awards were passed out, Sportacus paid a visit to P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway to congratulate some of the athletes on their amazing accomplishments.

Among the winners at P.S. 197 were Nylique Knight, 11, who won 1st place in the 55 meter and 200 meter; Lida Murrel, 9, 1st place winner in the 200 meter; Ny’hemia Steadman, 9, 1st place winner in the 55 meter; and Nashawn Wilson, 10, 1st place winner in the 55 and 200 meter.
The entire team of runners from P.S. 197 received donated wool, hand-knit running hats from Heather Bergstein, Mary Lou Risley and a group of volunteers. The school’s physical education teacher, Richard Reiss, received one with “Coach!” stitched across the front.
“The NYRR running programs give kids an opportunity to discover a lot about themselves,” said Reiss, who is in his 5th successful year with the Mighty Milers program. “It helps to build their self-esteem; they learn to eat healthy and stay in shape; and it exposes them to new things in life that they would not have access to. I am very fortunate to have found this program for my students.”

Those interested in NYRR’s many youth programs should visit www.nyrrf.org or call them at 212-860-4455.