The Races, Faces, and Places of 2019: NYRR's Year in Review

2019 was a year of big races, debut faces (and some familiar ones), and brand-new places for our programs. We look back on the year that was for NYRR. 


January 1: 2019 kicked off with the NYRR Midnight Run, a rainy, blustery affair. NYRR’s Ted Doyle said it made him feel better about the year ahead, though. Runners who didn’t feel like getting wet had the option to participate in the NYRR Virtual Resolution Run 5K. 

January 29: Jenny Simpson and Tiki Barber visited the original school in what is now the Rising New York Road Runners program, PS676K in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Students received free shoes, played games with the two pro athletes, and were able to ask them questions

NYRR began a yearlong celebration of the 20th anniversary of our Rising New York Road Runners children’s programs. These programs benefit 250,000 children at 1,300 sites nationwide.

The 1 for You 1 for Youth program distributed its 20,000th pair of shoes to a child this month. If you want to support this program, purchase a pair of New Balance shoes at the NYRR RUNCENTER. New Balance will in turn donate a pair to a child in an NYRR-supported youth program.

January 31: NYRR observed the 100th birthday of its founding president, Ted Corbitt. Corbitt, the first African American to run the Olympic Marathon and a pioneering ultramarathoner (in fact, he pioneered the use of the term “ultramarathon”), died in 2007 at 88, but his legacy lives on in our office. A 15K race in his honor is held by NYRR each December.


February 13: Rising New York Road Runners expanded into Puerto Rico.


March 4: NYRR launched our new website,

March 17: The United Airlines NYC Half had a new start line in Prospect Park. This was the second year the race covered two boroughs, Brooklyn and Manhattan, but its first starting in Brooklyn’s famous park.

Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya won the women's open division of the United Airlines NYC Half in 1:10:07 on what was her very first trip to the United States. Belay Tilahun of Ethopia, wearing a non-elite number, surprised to win the men's open division in 1:02:10. 


April 14: A Women Run the World panel of five women, focusing on leadership and empowerment, kicked off the SHAPE Women’s Half Marathon weekend. 


May 5: New York Road Runners expanded outside the five boroughs for an event in New Jersey: The Newport Fiesta 5K, held in Jersey City. 

May 15-18: For the first time, NYRR staff liveblogged a major event, the Popular Brooklyn Half. We covered the pre-party as well as the race itself and the post-party at MCU Park. The liveblog was so successful that we repeated the project for the TCS New York City Marathon in November, where we liveblogged the first day of the race expo, the marathon itself, and Marathon Monday.

May 18: The Popular Brooklyn Half was the largest half-marathon in the United States with 26,841 finishers. 


June 1: NYRR staffer Katie Manzi began her series reviewing the classes for runners held at the NYRR RUNCENTER. So far, in addition to salsa, she has taken strength training for runners, yoga for runners, and a HIIT class.

June 5: Runners filled Central Park at 7:00 a.m. on Global Running Day for the 1 for You 1 for Youth 5Kthe first race NYRR has ever hosted for Global Running Day. Each participant received a new pair of New Balance sneakers, and in turn, New Balance donated a pair to a child. The event was captured live in Central Park by “Good Morning America.”

June 8: Sara Hall won the USATF Women's 10K Championship in 32:27. The race was held as part of the NYRR New York Mini 10K, the longest-running women-only race in the world. Susannah Scaroni won the wheelchair race in 22:22, a world best in the 10K.

June 29: The Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run set a world record for the largest Pride charity run with 10,200 finishers on a hot, humid day in Central Park.


July 27: Distance Project NYC won the women’s open title at the 2019 NYRR Team Championships, a first for that club. West Side Runners took the men’s title.


A father after the Summer Community Run with his child in their stroller

August 18: New York Road Runners’ first-ever stroller heat took place during the NYRR Summer Community Run on August 18 in Central Park. 


September 9: Jenny Simpson won her eighth (and seventh consecutive) New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on September 9, extending her record streak. Nick Willis broke the men’s record for the most wins, breaking the tape for the fifth time.

Twenty-nine heats of runners, mostly divided by age, raced in the event. Jonathan Mendes, 98, won the George Sheehan Memorial Mile for runners 60+. The FDNY beat the NYPD in their annual challenge, and The New York Times Running Club won the FuelCell Media Mile team title. 


Happy finishers at the Staten Island Half

October 13: The last 2019 race in the Five-Borough Series, the Staten Island Half, was held. The race has more than doubled in size since its inception, and nearly 10,000 runners crossed its finish line this year.

October 31: Marilson Gomes dos Santos, Meb Keflezighi, Ingrid Kristiansen, and Mary Wittenberg were inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame on October 31. Jenny Simpson won the Abebe Bikila Award and Lindsay Crouse received the George Hirsch Journalism Award.


November 3: The TCS New York City Marathon was the biggest race in event history, as well as the biggest marathon in the world, with 53,637 finishers. As for the pros, debut marathoner Joyciline Jepkosgei won the women’s open race in 2:22:38, the second fastest women’s result on the course. Geoffrey Kamworor won the men’s open race in 2:08:13, his second win in three years. Daniel Romanchuk won his second consecutive men’s wheelchair race in 1:37:24, and Manuela Schar won her third consecutive women’s wheelchair race in 1:44:20. 

This was the first marathon to include finishers who gained entry by completing the TCS New York City Marathon - Virtual 26.2M Powered by Strava in 2018. For 2019, the virtual marathon expanded to include four entry tiers. One 2019 virtual marathoner found herself surrounded by pros when she crossed her finish line in Central Park!  

At the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance held at the Javits Center from October 31 to November 2, three brothers, Paul, Stephen, and Matt Izzo, ran on treadmills for three days straight, for a total of 375 miles all combined. Then they each ran the marathon. Piece of cake. And they did it all to raise money for Team for Kids, NYRR’s charity.

Micah Herndon, a retired Marine whose agonized crawl across the Boston Marathon finish line in April received national media coverage, finished the New York City Marathon in 3:05:50 alongside his NYRR coach Roberto Mandje. Herndon runs in memory of three friends who were killed by an IED in Afghanistan 10 years ago.


December 7: The Ted Corbitt 15K was dedicated to a celebration of Corbitt’s contributions to NYRR. The NYRR RUNCENTER hosted a coat drive and a panel discussion called “Celebrating First-Generation NYRR History and Ted Corbitt Birth Centenary.”

December 17: Joyciline Jepkosgei, the winner of both the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half and the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon, was named NYRR’s Pro Performer of the Year

Author: Lela Moore

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