Thousands of runners wearing black ribbons, "I Run For Boston" T-shirts and back bibs, Boston Marathon jackets, and more Red Sox caps than have likely ever been seen in Central Park at one time came together in a show of support and solidarity today at the City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks and Kids' Races. The four-miler, an annual event, was the first major running race in New York City since the tragic events of last Monday's Boston Marathon.
Many runners, including Scotty Crowe of Los Angeles, wore commemorative shirts or jackets from Monday's Boston Marathon. He’d already planned to visit family in New York City after running his first sub-three-hour marathon in Boston Monday, but once he arrived and heard about the Run for the Parks, he knew he had to participate.
"To know that this race is dedicated to Boston, with everyone wearing the shirts and the bibs—it's amazing," said Crowe. "It feels like the running community is now a bigger, stronger thing. For an individual sport, it doesn't feel so individual anymore. There seems to be a real emotional gravity to running right now and that's a powerful thing. "
City Parks Foundation was a worthy partner in an event that celebrates health ad fitness in public places. "There's always great enthusiasm at this event, but double that today," said David Moore, chairman of the board of City Parks Foundation. "[The Run for the Parks] is a key event for us every year. It showcases Central Park, showcases running, is a qualifying event for the NYC Marathon, and just brings out great people and great enthusiasm."
In addition to sponsoring the four-mile race—and supporting runners with applause and high fives, as Moore did—the City Parks Foundation runs free programs for more than 600,000 people in 800 parks throughout New York City each year, including a track and field program for more than 2,500 NYC children.
Many youngsters cheered their parents to the finish line of the four-mile Central Park loop, and then switched places with mom and dad for the Kids' Races. The sunlit scene of families enjoying the Big Apple's greatest park was a picture of the pillars of the City Parks Foundation's mission: enthusiasm for the parks, athletics, health, and well-being.
"Running is such a great sport because you don't need anything but yourself and your own discipline to do it," said finisher Nora Lanning of Manhattan. "It's a great way to get healthy and get involved, so we're not just supporting the kids doing it—we're doing it ourselves."