Global Running Day took place yesterday all over the world, and runners in every time zone celebrated the sport we all love. Here in NYC we had a jam-packed schedule of runs of all sizes, speeds, and varieties, from our NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 5K race at 7:00 a.m. in Central Park to a Rising New York Road Runners Field Day at Icahn Stadium, as well as group runs and events throughout the day at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the Run Hub.
NYRR’s president and CEO, Michael Capiraso, summed up the spirit of #GlobalRunningDay in a heartfelt email to our running community. “Every day I feel extremely fortunate that I get to be a part of our amazing global running community as well as an organization that creates limitless opportunities for life-altering experiences, transformations, memories, and inspiration, today and every day,” he wrote.
Here's a rundown of the day’s events throughout the five boroughs:
NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 5K, Central Park, 7:00 a.m.
More than 1,900 runners kicked off Global Running Day in NYC by running a 5K. Every registered runner received a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit shoes, and thanks to NYRR and New Balance’s 1 for You 1 for Youth initiative, an equal number of deserving kids received new shoes as well. The entire NYRR staff pitched in to put on this unique race. “Today, we get to inspire people by doing what we do best, and the whole team is here to help,” said Jim Heim, SVP of event development and production and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.
Rising New York Road Runners Field Day, Icahn Stadium, 10:00 a.m.
Soon after the NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 5K was wrapping up in Central Park, young athletes were flocking to Randall’s Island for the Rising New York Road Runners Field Day at Icahn Stadium. After a warm-up 800-meter run around a soccer field and the track, students could take to the infield for fitness activities like potato-sack races, obstacle-course relays, and the old gym-class favorite, the parachute.
Joining in the fun were two professional athletes, Emily Sisson and Stephanie Bruce, who shared their thoughts on what running has given them before leading kids through a few activity stations.
“It’s given me a lot of opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise—travel to places I haven’t been before, meet people I would never have met. Opportunities like going to school—I probably would never have gone to the college I went to [without running]. It’s given me the ability to challenge myself in my different ways, and push myself to new limits, and handle adversity so many—honestly, I don’t even know where to start! I can just name a bunch of different things! But it’s taught me a lot about myself and given me a lot of opportunities that I’m pretty thankful for.”
“Running has changed my life. It has given me the opportunity to meet different friends and people all over the world, and I’ve been able to compete all over the world, so it’s brought me to see different places, different cultures. It’s kind of this common bond you have with so many different people, regardless of what level and ability you’re at; it doesn’t matter where you run, why you run, what you run—it’s just that you run.”
And now let’s hear from some of the Rising New York Road Runners themselves, on what they get out of running:
“Well, the thing I get out of running is, I feel like I work hard, I get a lot of exercise—I just want to keep being an athlete. I play football and track, and all I want to do is make new friends, win a lot, and just impress people.”
—Dean Tirado, IS 25, Queens
“What I get out of running is more experience outside, because some people, they mostly stay on their computers and play around, but now when I go running, I feel more active, I’m doing more—I want to go outside instead of playing inside. So that’s the best part about running, and you also experience a lot of things, like right now: I’m in games, activities, and everything with other people, and I like to see other people running.”
—Erick Paul, MS 137, Queens (right, pictured with classmate Mohamed Haniff)
“What I like about running is that it gets me to be able to exercise, and I get to do stuff that I don’t normally get to do at home, because I don’t have much space there, so I get to play around with friends and exercise at the same time.”
—Maya Lewis, IS 59, Queens (right, pictured with coach Rosetta Graham-Nairne)
Meeting the Rising New York Road Runners on the track was a group of NYRR Striders, NYRR’s free walking program for seniors. The group walked from Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan to Icahn Stadium, and included in that group was Willa Mae Henry, a frequent participant at Striders walks in Marcus Garvey Park and Harlem Meer. Here’s what she had to say about taking part in Striders:
“When I wasn’t doing anything, I couldn’t hardly do anything. Now I’m able to walk, run, and it’s just a great pleasure for me to be associated with the Road Runners.”
1-Mile Run at New York City Hall + NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M Run, 10:00 a.m.
NYRR staffers joined local runners for a one-mile jaunt from New York City Hall to the midpoint of the Brooklyn Bridge and back, with a number of them recording their mile for the NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M in the company of other runners. “Global Running Day is an opportunity for us to get out and be fit and healthy and connect with our communities,” said Michael Williams.
“I run on Global Running Day to celebrate my significant weight loss several years ago and connect with my friends,” said Shana Wernow. “I can’t begin to tell you how many wonderful people I’ve met through running and today I celebrate all of them and this sport that brings us together.”
You can still register for the free NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M, log your mile by Sunday, June 9, and see how you place on the Strava leaderboard.
Global Running Day Lunch Run, 12:00 p.m., NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub:
Midday saw runners flock to the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub for the Global Running Day Lunch Run. With the option to run either 2 or 3.5 miles, runners were able to socialize while getting in their Global Running Day miles, and afterward celebrate with pizza! Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“I wanted to do the lunch run because I believe this should be a national holiday for everyone, so I didn’t go to work and came here to go on an amazing run. Global Running Day means absolutely everything to me. It connects me to community, to amazing social and civil rights causes, and just helps me be connected to the world in a way I couldn’t possibly be in any other way shape or form.”
—Vanessa Gamarra, The Bronx
“I love being able to run and I love that running is for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, what size you are, or where you come from, it’s accessible and makes you feel good!”
—Yasmine Obie, Hoboken, NJ
“I chose to do the lunch run not only for the pizza, but to have fun and meet new friends! Global Running Day to me is to inspire others and to stay healthy physically and mentally.”
—Cheryl Bogusz, Jersey City, NJ
“I decided to run today on global running day to inspire my children!”
—Benus Diaz, The Bronx
The threat of severe weather led to the cancellation of a few Global Running Day events in NYC, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs to #GetOutToRun on this day of worldwide celebration.
As the day wound down, runners could pop in to the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub for number of social events.
Global Running Day Happy Hour Presented by New Balance, NYRR RUNCENTER, 5:00 p.m.
The United Mexican Runners of NY were one local club who met up for a group run before hanging out along the RUNCENTER steps. One of the team’s runners, Mario Dimas, stopped to tell us what he gets out of running, as he’s preparing to run his ninth New York City Marathon this year:
“First of all, it keeps me healthy, and it keeps me active, so I don’t get stressed out and so I enjoy what I do. It keeps me young—I’m 37—so it keeps me feeling younger. And the good thing is that it keeps you active every day. It’s a sport you can practice anywhere—in the park, in the street—and it’s free, and you can share your experience with your teammates or anyone who wants to start running.”
NYRR Book Club: Running to the Edge, NYRR RUNCENTER, 6:00 p.m.
Also on the RUNCENTER calendar that night was an NYRR Book Club talk with New York Times Deputy Sports Editor Matt Futterman, promoting his new release, Running to the Edge.
Here’s what Larsen said about what running has given him throughout his lifetime:
“I think running gives you balance. I think going for a run every day is like rebooting, and it’s a wonderful feeling. When you’re under pressure, which you are a lot, in many ways—especially coaching, like at UCLA and with the running groups we’ve had—to be able to get out and run, or to get up in the morning and wake yourself up with a run, or to go on a run later in the day when you just need to get away from everything and out on your own, it’s a wonderful, wonderful moment. So I can’t imagine a life without exercise, and running, for me, is the best type of exercise.”
With so many types of athletes coming together to take part in Global Running Day, the daylong celebration proved that running and staying active is open to everyone, regardless of age, ability level, or any other factor. It's a worldwide community of people all focused on making themselves better one step, one mile at at time.
And speaking of "one mile at a time," prior to Global Running Day, we had the opportunity to speak with Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador and Special Advisor Jenny Simpson, a world-class miler herself, about what running means to her.
Before she would compete in an IAAF Diamond League 1500-meter race in Rome on Thursday, Simpson celebrated Global Running Day as a member of the new NYRR Virtual Racing Team, completing the NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M on a warm-up track. Stay tuned for more on how her mile and her teammates' miles went as they vied for spots on the worldwide Strava leaderboard.