What better way to kick off Global Running Day in New York City than a 5K in Central Park? And for more than 1,900 runners, that is how they got their miles in on this special day by participating in the NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 5K.
By signing up for this one-of-a-kind fun summer 5K, all runners received a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit shoes. And, as part of NYRR's 1 for You 1 for Youth initiative, a new pair of running shoes will be given to a deserving child.
As runners entered the park for their 7:00 a.m. start, they were greeted by the entire NYRR team, with staffers on hand to work baggage, act as course marshals, and provide post-race amenities and congratulatory high fives for finishers.
“This is very unique. It is the first time we have ever done this on Global Running Day,” said Jim Heim, SVP, Event Development & Production, Race Director, TCS New York City Marathon, moments before the race started. “Today, we get to inspire people by doing what we do best and the whole team is here today to help.”
Some staffers, including Heim, had a little bit of extra help on the day. Heim worked alongside special co-race director Suri Wong, 9, a Rising New York Road Runner ambassador. She assisted Heim, giving runners their final instructions before moving to the finish line for post-race duties.
“This is great. I have support from Suri as my co race-director and she has this thing down. She’s also going to give out thousands of high fives at the end.”
Over on the social media team, Frances Alvarado, assistant manager of NYRR’s social media team, had an easier assignment than usual as 12-year-old Wilfrin Fernandez-Cruz, another RNYRR ambassador, helped capture amazing content for NYRR’s social channels.
Professional athletes Emily Sisson and Deena Kastor held the finish-line tape for our first-place finishers Teddy Shum and Jennifer Donnelly.
For Sisson, a New Balance athlete, it was “awesome” to be in Central Park to witness the energy of Global Running Day.
“It’s such a unique start to the day. It’s really exciting as you can feel the energy in the park despite it being 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Everyone seems so excited to start Global Running Day,” she said.
Well before she turned professional, Sisson fell in love with running by just “getting out and going for a run.”
“Running serves so many purposes. For me, some days it can be very therapeutic and relaxing and a nice mental break from the rest of the day,” she added.
And being a New Balance athlete meant that the 1 for You 1 for Youth race was extra special for Sisson as she often sees the benefits of the program firsthand. “It’s an amazing company and it’s so cool to see New Balance join NYRR to give back to the communities they serve,” she said.
Shum took first-place in the men’s race in 17:01, with Central Park Track Club’s Jennifer Donnelly breaking the tape in the women’s race in 17:52.
For Donnelly, taking home first-place on Global Running Day was the “best feeling.”
“Global Running Day is all about being out there and getting a run in. What a day to break the tape,” she said moments after the race. “The park is so alive this morning,” Donnelly added. “A lot of my best friends were running and it was so exciting seeing the running community out there.”
The winner of the men’s race just moved to New York City in March. This was Shum’s fifth NYRR race and first time breaking the tape in NYC. “I run most days and would have ran [a regular run] today, but I saw the race [advertised] and it’s a great cause,” he said. “I’m very happy with the win.”
And team NYRR had a runner out on course who was celebrating a significant milestone as President and CEO Michael Capiraso ran his 300th NYRR race. Capiraso, a longtime Team for Kids runner, was given bib number 300 to commemorate the special achievement, ran alongside some Rising New York Road Runner ambassadors on what was a glorious day of racing on Global Running Day.