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Group of Rising New York Road Runners to participate in race-week festivities and ride lead vehicle on race day with Olympic medalist Jenny Simpson
More than 3,000 kids will participate in TCS New York City Marathon race week events, including the Rising New York Road Runners Youth Invitational on marathon day
New York, October 24, 2017—Five New York City students, one from each of New York City’s five boroughs, have been named Grand Marshals for the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5. The Grand Marshals are all participants in Rising New York Road Runners, a free youth fitness program launched by New York Road Runners at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
During the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon race week, Grand Marshals, accompanied by Olympic medalist and Team New Balance athlete Jenny Simpson, Ambassador & Special Advisor to Rising New York Road Runners, will participate in race-week festivities, including the opening of the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance on Thursday, November 2, and the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines on Friday, November 3. On marathon day the group will ride in the official Grand Marshal vehicle through the 26.2-mile marathon course with Simpson, and Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners (NYRR) and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. Spectators will be able to follow the Grand Marshals’ race day journey through New York City on social media, as they and Simpson host a Snapchat takeover on @NYRRsnaps.
The Grand Marshals who will be representing the Rising New York Road Runners from their respective boroughs are Staten Island’s Oluwaseni Johnson, 12, from New World Preparatory Charter School; Brooklyn’s Jaylen Reid, 12, from The Dock Street School; Queens’ Peter Manekas, 9, from PS 232 Walter Ward School; the Bronx’s Hope Khazraishokatkhou, 10, from PS 66 School of Higher Expectations; and Manhattan’s Emma Albert, 14, from The Beacon School.
This is only the fifth time in New York City Marathon history that the event has featured a grand marshal. The marathon’s first Grand Marshal was Czech running legend Emil Zatopek, who was given the honor in 1979. In 2003, Grete Waitz, nine-time New York City Marathon Champion and member of the NYRR Hall of Fame was honored with the distinction. In addition to being one of the most celebrated marathoners in history, Waitz also served as founding chairwoman of the NYRR Foundation, which today has evolved into NYRR’s free youth and community programs. In 2015, Brooklyn-raised filmmaker and quintessential New York sports fan Spike Lee served as Grand Marshal, and has since become a member of the NYRR Advisory Council. Last year, the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team, including Team for Kids Ambassadors Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan, served as Grand Marshals. Keflezighi and Flanagan will be joining fellow 2016 Grand Marshal Jared Ward in the pro field of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, while Des Linden will run the 2017 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships on Saturday, November 4.
The Rising New York Road Runners’ role as Grand Marshals will highlight the enhancements made by NYRR in 2017 to their free youth running and fitness programs. Earlier this year, NYRR evolved their current youth program offerings into Rising New York Road Runners, a single, comprehensive program that is based on the latest advances in physical education research. Similar to the ways in which other subjects are taught in school, Rising New York Road Runners’ curriculum is designed to allow the growing participants to fully develop their sports and movement skills, and begin a lasting and healthy attitude towards health and fitness. Since 1999, New York Road Runners has offered free youth running programs to young runners across New York City’s five boroughs and nationwide, and annually serves more than 267,000 youth.
In addition to the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon Grand Marshals, more than 3,000 young runners of all ages will participate in youth running events during race week and on race day, including the Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree Presented by TCS, TCS Run with Champions, and the Rising New York Road Runners Youth Invitational.
On Saturday, October 28, New York Road Runners will welcome over 1,500 New York City public school students from the five boroughs to the famed New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory, for the Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree Presented by TCS. The free event is open to students from pre-K through high school, and will feature a variety of track and field events. More information on the Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree Presented by TCS can be found here.
On Friday, November 3, the 18th annual TCS Run with Champions will bring together 1,000 Rising New York Road Runners with professional athletes and celebrity Team for Kids Ambassadors participating in the 2017 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5k Championships, and the TCS New York City Marathon. Hosted by Simpson, the event features a series of fun runs that start and finish at the iconic finish line of the TCS New York City Marathon. Two special participants are Caleb Wang and Jadeyn Madhere, the recipients of the 2017 Rising New York Road Runners Youth Ambassadors of the Year Award, who will be presented with their official award by Simpson at the event. More information on TCS Run with Champions can be found here.
On race day, Sunday, November 5, 1,000 youth runners will race in the third annual Rising New York Road Runners Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon. The young runners will start on the East 72nd Street Tansverse, race along the final stretch of the marathon, and finish at the finish line of the TCS New York City Marathon, as the 50,000 marathon participants start their race in Staten Island. More information on the Rising New York Road Runners Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon can be found here.
As part of the youth running festivities throughout race week, Team for Kids Ambassador Tatyana McFadden will be honored at NYRR Night of Champions for her commitment to NYRR’s free youth running and fitness programs. McFadden, who is an avid supporter of Rising New York Road Runners and the NYRR Youth Wheelchair Training Program, is one of the world’s most celebrated wheelchair athletes, with 17 Paralympic medals. In her third year competing as a Team for Kids Ambassador, McFadden will return to the TCS New York City Marathon on November 5, to vie for her fifth consecutive, and sixth total win.
Team for Kids is NYRR’s charity running team, which raises funds for NYRR’s free youth running and fitness programs. In addition to McFadden, representing as Team for Kids Ambassadors in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon are professional athletes Keflezighi and Flanagan, former New York Giants Running Back Tiki Barber, model and body activist Candice Huffine, and WABC Channel 7 Meteorologist Amy Freeze, who will be reporting live from the course.
The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised on Sunday, November 5, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tristate area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.
NYRR’s youth programs are supported by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the Premier Partner of NYRR and NYRR youth and community programs and the title sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon; New Balance, the Official Athletic Footwear and Apparel Partner of NYRR; the New Balance Foundation; and the Fairway Community Foundation. For more information on Rising New York Road Runners please visit rising.nyrr.org.
About the TCS New York City Marathon
The TCS New York City Marathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the largest marathon in the world. Over 1,000,000 people have finished the race since its first running in 1970 with just 127 entrants and 55 finishers running four laps around Central Park. The race expanded to all five boroughs in 1976 and just celebrated its 40th year as a five-borough affair. Held annually on the first Sunday of November, the race features over 50,000 runners including the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. Participants from approximately 125 countries tour the city, starting on Staten Island at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and running through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before ending in Manhattan. The NYRR Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon covered 1.8 miles of the race course in Central Park, beginning near mile 24 and finishing at the famed TCS New York City Marathon finish line. More than one million spectators and thousands of volunteers line the city streets in support of the runners, while millions more watch the television broadcast in 175 countries and territories, including viewers in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, nationally on ESPN2, and via various international broadcast partners. The race is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, which features the world’s top marathons—Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York—and crowns the top professional male and female marathoners each year. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, is the premier partner of NYRR and the title sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon. The 47th running of the TCS New York City Marathon is set for November 5, 2017. To learn more, visit www.tcsnycmarathon.org.
QUOTES FOR EDITORIAL USE
“I am very honored to join the TCS New York City Marathon Grand Marshals for this once in a lifetime experience. Most exciting is that I’ll be participating alongside our five Rising New York Road Runners. I hope it’s a fun day for them and helps to inspire the next generation of runners.”
-Jenny Simpson, Olympic Medalist, and Ambassador & Special Advisor to Rising New York Road Runners
“We are excited to announce that the Grand Marshals for this year’s TCS New York City Marathon are five students from New York City Schools. The role of the Grand Marshal is to lead and inspire more than 50,000 runners as they race through the streets of New York City. What better group for the job than five young Rising New York Road Runners, one from each of New York City’s boroughs, to represent the race and the city on this great day.”
-Peter Ciaccia, NYRR President, Events, and Race Director, TCS New York City Marathon
“Earlier this year New York Road Runners launched its enhanced free youth fitness program, Rising New York Road Runners, which is designed to help students in NYC and across the country develop positive and lasting attitudes towards health and fitness through running. We’re so excited that these five Rising New York Road Runners will be a part of the TCS New York City Marathon festivities representing their peers as Grand Marshals, and that they will get to see how rewarding determination and goal-setting can be as the runners complete their 26.2-mile run through New York City at the TCS NYC Marathon.”
-Michael Capiraso, NYRR President and CEO
“Every year, I watch the New York City marathon at home with my dad and sister. I'm inspired by it because it shows me that people will push themselves to do more, even if others think they won't be able to do it. I really hope I'll be able to run the TCS New York City marathon one day since I enjoy running. If I run the marathon I would want everyone I know to run the marathon with me so they would be able to push themselves to their limits and be their best selves. I am inspired by the marathon and its runners because it shows people can accomplish things if they set their mind to it.”
-Oluwaseni Johnson, 12, from New World Preparatory Charter School in Staten Island
“Even though I am a sprinter, and I am aspiring to be the next Usain Bolt, I still love the marathon. This event inspires me because you see runners of all abilities who have one mission, to finish. When I grow up I want to run the TCS New York City Marathon. I don't have to win. I just want to see how it feels. I know it will be a little out of my comfort zone because I am used to short distances, but I am going to do it anyway.
-Jaylen Reid, 12, from The Dock Street School in Brooklyn
“I’m a professional TCS New York City Marathon cheerleader, for my Mom. I cheered for her at four New York City Marathons, and countless other races. My usual cheer spot is in downtown Brooklyn, on Flatbush Avenue near the Barclays Center. Every time I cheered for my mom, I wondered where she was, as I looked onto the course. I knew she was coming, but I didn’t know exactly when. Sometimes, as my mom runs the marathon, I run on the sidewalks and think, ‘I’m going to beat her to the corner.’ Not sure if that inspires her though.”
-Peter Manekas, 9, from PS 232 Walter Ward School in Queens
“I love the TCS New York City Marathon because I am inspired by all of the runners who commit to finishing. Everybody looks so excited and cheers each other on. I like shorter distances but maybe one day I will run the TCS New York City Marathon.”
-Hope Khazraishokatkhou, 10, from PS 66 School of Higher Expectations in the Bronx
“Racing has impacted my life in such a positive way, and I am looking forward to continuing this program especially at the TCS New York City Marathon, as well as many other events this upcoming year. I am extremely grateful and humbled that the New York Road Runners had faith in me to represent them as a Youth Ambassador as well as allowing me to be a part of their Youth Racing Program, where I have had the privilege to meet many other inspiring individuals. I hope to continue to grow and push myself as a racer and someday possibly compete in the TCS New York City Marathon and many other races around the world.”
-Emma Albert, 14, from The Beacon School in Manhattan