The second-annual NYRR Kids’ Boardwalk Run at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half welcomed nearly 900 kids to Coney Island to zoom up and down the boardwalk and have a blast.
The series of races for kids ages 7-18 started and ended at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half finish line. The out-and-back mile course paralleled the Airbnb Brooklyn Half homestretch, giving the youth runners a boisterous cheering section. Parents, friends, and NYRR youth programs coaches clapped and cheered as the boys and girls ran races for ages 7-10, 11-13, and 14-18. All finishers received a medal and the top three boys and girls in each age group received a pair of tickets to KidzBopKids on July 17.
Many of the kids were part of NYRR’s Young Runners and Mighty Milers programs. For some, this race was one of several NYRR Youth Running Series events this school year. “We’ve had teams at all the races but this is our favorite because it’s our home borough,” said John Sorocco, the coach of the Young Runners program at I.S. 223 in Brooklyn’s Borough Park.
“Running is what we do,” said Sorocco. “It’s part of our school culture.”
Running was a family affair for some of the participants, including 8-year-old Aleksandra Pieczykolan, whose mom, Kinga Kusion of the Polska Running Team, cheered her on after her own finish at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half.
“She loves running,” said Kusion. “She can’t wait to run longer distances!”
Though a mile is probably just about the right distance for now, a 13.1-miler with mom or dad could be in the future of many of these young runners. Just ask 17-year-old Sofia Tavella, who ran the Airbnb Brooklyn Half, her first-ever half-marathon, with her dad, Joseph Tavella, finishing in 1:46 to his 1:48.
“I felt great at 7 miles and not so great at 13 miles,” said Joseph. “She got me through it.”
“It was totally awesome to finish a half-marathon,” said Sofia, “and I want to do another.”