The celebration of New York Road Runners’ 60th anniversary continues as Peter Ciaccia, president of events of NYRR and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon, takes a look back over the 40-year history of the NYRR Queens 10K (formerly the Queens Half Marathon) and the efforts of one individual who helped build running in the city’s second-largest borough.
Roots in the Community
The NYRR Queens 10K evolved from a half-marathon founded 40 years ago in the close-knit community of College Point, Queens, a neighborhood hugging the shoreline north of the race’s current location in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. College Point traces its running roots back to the founding of the College Point Athletic Club in the early 1960s. Many club members were active in both track and field and road racing, and some competed in championship events such as the Colgate Women’s Games. One member, local resident Tom Nohilly, was the 1989 NCAA champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase and placed fourth in that event at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Trials, just missing a spot on the U.S. team both times.
The Man Behind the Scene in Queens
The College Point Athletic Club later became the College Point Road Runners. One of the its key figures, Leo Nicholas, began to organize road races in and around the community, and in 1978 he put on the first Queens Half Marathon on the roads in College Point. In that first year, approximately 400 runners crossed the finish line in MacNeil Park.
The Event’s Evolution
Over the years the Queens Half Marathon slowly grew in popularity, and around 1990, with the support of local heating oil company Skaggs-Walsh, a 5K was added. In 1994 Nicholas asked New York Road Runners to help support the event, and thus began our relationship with the College Point Road Runners and the Queens Half Marathon. The races took place every year in College Point, usually in the early spring. In 2010, due to the increase in participation, the Queens Half Marathon moved to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
A Race in an Iconic Park
The popularity of running through iconic Flushing Meadows Corona Park spurred the growth of the Queens Half Marathon, but with that growth came challenges. NYRR always strives to provide the best event experience, so after thoughtfully reassessing the date and distance, we felt a 10K in June would be the right solution—flat, fast, and fun. The race became part of the NYRR Five-Borough Series in 2013 and now includes a Rising New York Road Runners youth event with dashes and fun activities for kids.
A Milestone and Many Thanks
On Saturday, June 16, 2018, we will see the 100,000th runner finish the Queens 10K. That’s quite a milestone! Thank you to all who have supported this event over the years and a special thanks to Leo Nicholas and the College Point Road Runners for introducing us to the great borough of Queens.
See you in Flushing Meadows!