More than 4,500 people of all ages and fitness levels started 2014 on a healthy foot at the 35th annual NYRR Midnight Run Presented by Emerald Nuts. Held in Central Park, the event includes festivities in and around the Bandshell—a party with a DJ dancing, a costume contest and parade, and plenty of general merriment—that lead up to a four-mile unscored run that begins at the stroke of midnight, which also marks the beginning of a spectacular fireworks display.
Participants in the run (which features a small elite field of runners who strive to start the year on a speedy note; see accompanying story) include hundreds of kids, most of them running with parents and sharing a fun and fit beginning to the new year. Many runners don costumes, blow horns, ring bells, and whoop it up, encouraged by spectators lining the course to cheer them on.
“It’s fun no matter who you are and how much or how little you currently run,” said Ellen Casey of Manhattan, who ran the Midnight Run “years ago, when I was young and single,” and tonight took part with her 8-year-old son, Ryan.
Emerald Nuts, a longtime sponsor of the Midnight Run, enhanced the celebrations by having butlers offer “a little taste of the good life”—snacks served on fancy trays—to runners and spectators before the run. Other special aspects of the event this year were flashing bracelets for all participants (which some runners wore on their ankles) and a tunnel of technology featuring laser lights, located at the two-mile mark on the 102nd Street Transverse.
There was also the ever-popular sparkling cider refreshment station, also on the Transverse, which offered runners a chance to catch their breath before pushing on to the finish, located at the start on the 72nd Street Transverse.
“Are you having fun?” a group of spectators called out to runners—who included a banana, several cows, and bottles of ketchup and mustard—as they headed back down the west side. The happy chorus of positive replies said it all: 2014 was off to a great start.