One hundred New York City youth runners will sprint 100 meters in a “100-100-100” Times Square exhibition race at 1:00 p.m. this Wednesday, June 6, as the centerpiece of an event honoring the centennial year of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the sport’s global governing body,
Most of the 100 youth runners, ages 10-14, are members of New York Road Runners youth programs. They will be joined by the 7- and 8-year-old finalists in the adidas Fastest Kids competition, a local highlight of the world-class adidas Grand Prix track and field event set for Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island this Saturday, June 9.
At the meet on Saturday, NYRR will be title sponsor of the men’s 1500-meter race, featuring two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat; Augustine Choge of Kenya, the 2012 World Indoor silver medalist at 3000 meters; Craig Mottram of Australia, the 2005 World Championships bronze medalist at 5000 meters; and 2009 World Championships finalist Leonel Manzano of the U.S.
The young athletes on Wednesday will be led by 2008 double Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, with IAAF President Lamine Diack announcing the new American members of the IAAF Hall of Fame. A surprise special guest is also expected.
“Having 100 children run 100 meters to mark 100 years is an appropriately symbolic way to celebrate the IAAF Centenary,” said Diack. “The IAAF was born in 1912 and the strength of our sport today, as it was 100 years ago, is its appeal to the youth of the world.”
A similar event was held on May 13 in the Central Piazza of Beijing Olympic Park, where 100 youngsters were joined by a trio of Chinese Olympic champions (photo courtesy of IAAF/Chinese AA/Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports).
The Times Square exhibition will be among the many NYRR-affiliated events celebrating National Running Day, an annual event held on the first Wednesday of June.
Dibaba, the 2008 double Olympic gold medalist (5000m, 10,000m) and eight-time World Champion, will serve as ambassador for the event and lead the youth runners in the exhibition. Dibaba will compete in the adidas Grand Prix at 5000 meters, a distance for which she holds the World Record.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg