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If you needed some motivation to work out this cold Sunday in NYC, all you had to do was head to the Heights for instant inspiration. Seniors from the Union Settlement Association’s Jefferson Center in Harlem were raring to go; Mary Lapetina, 87, and Josie Cruz, 70, pinned on their bibs for their second consecutive Washington Heights 5K.
“We walk it out,” said Cruz, referring to the motto of their seniors fitness club, which has a partnership with NYRR’s community programs. “We exercise together all the time,” said Lapetina. “We go to Asphalt Green, and we come here, too.”
Warming up right next to the seniors were approximately 700 children from 40 different schools and teams across the five boroughs. Think it’s hard to get kids out of bed to do something healthy? Many of these kids from the outer boroughs met at their schools at sunrise, and took buses to the Heights to run this morning.
Brandon and Ryan, both sixth graders at I.S. 223 in Brooklyn, were at school at 6:30 a.m. “We take our running seriously,” said Ryan. “They’ll announce our names over the loud speaker and hang our pictures on the wall,” Ryan enthused. These Young Runners will be rewarded with their pictures and race times in the school principal’s trophy case this week.
The EA Flyers team from the Bronx included some repeat runners and some team members who were doing their first race. One nervous-looking Young Runner said his friends convinced him to join them. With three coaches leading the way, the kids were prepared to hit the course!
Another group of children, from P.S. 59 in Manhattan, warmed up in the Armory before their race. These fourth graders were no newbies, having taken part in Jamborees at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. Dylan, Leila, Kaneesha, and Anna wore their blue marathon shirts proudly today.
From the youngest to the oldest competitors, every participant had a goal. Domingo Quilems, 69, the lone man in the group of Jefferson Center seniors, completed his first 5K today and said, “If I can dream, I would do the marathon.”