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The third annual NYRR Times Square Youth Run at the United Airlines NYC Half brought hundreds of kids ages 7-18 out on a chilly Sunday morning to dash 1500 meters—nearly a mile—through one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. Many of the kids are part of New York Road Runners’ Mighty Milers and Young Runners programs throughout the five boroughs, where they run several times a week as part of a PE or afterschool program. Others registered for this free race because they’ve previously run an NYRR NYRR Youth Running Series event, or wanted to give one a try.
All the kids, able-bodied and wheelchair athletes alike, had the experience of running alongside the 20,000 adult runners in the United Airlines NYC Half, as the half-marathon route parallels the youth run along Seventh Avenue. The Times Square Youth Run course is an out-and-back from 47th Street uptown to a turnaround near 57th Street and back, with a fast downhill finish.
The Mighty Milers and Young Runners participants were accompanied to the race by their coaches, many of whom were bringing teams to the Times Square Youth Run for the third year. Maureen Carson brought a team of 13 runners from the Bronx Little School, including fifth grader Alexa. “I love to run. It’s good for me and it feels great!” Alexa said after her chilly race. “I didn’t mind getting up early today—it felt just like a school day, with all my friends.”
“We know that many of them continue to run in middle school,” said Carson. “We hope the habit will last a lifetime!”
Parents and friends watched along the course, cheering the kids on. Miguel Petricioli traveled in from New Jersey to watch daughters, ages 12 and 13, in the Youth Run with another daughter, 8-year-old Maria. All the while, his wife, Karen de la Maza, was running the United Airlines NYC Half. “I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t run!” he said with a laugh.
The energy of the runners and their families and friends seemed to drive away the morning chill. “I wish I could do this every weekend,” said Daniel, age 9, from Queens. “I feel pumped!” All of the kids received pompom hats before the start, and all finishers received a medal.