Just as New York Road Runners is commemorating 20 years of free youth running programs this year, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, is spending 2019 in a year-long celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary. As part of that celebration, Sesame Street is embarking on a nationwide road trip, including a series of festivals with live performances and kid-friendly activities in 10 cities across the country.
The first stop on the tour was New York City—and how fitting, given that earlier this year, West 63th Street at Broadway was officially renamed “Sesame Street”—with the Road Trip festival taking place uptown at Riverbank State Park.
One of the goals of Sesame’s 50th anniversary celebration is to highlight how Sesame Street helps kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Rising New York Road Runners, with help from Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson, joined in to host fitness activities outside the main festival area.
After all, she’s proven to be one of the best when it comes to racing on Fifth Avenue, so who better to lead the way on Sesame Street?
When families stopped by the New York Road Runners tent after the festival, she taught the littlest parkgoers how to stay fit, guiding them through games and activity stations.
First up: A game of animal tag, where, once tagged, the player must stand posing like a specific animal until they can come back into the game. For this round, the animal was a flamingo—or, perhaps, given the theme of this event, the animal was Placido Flamingo.
Next up: The bean-bag toss. There, the Olympic medalist gave a few pointers on how to aim for the target, and then switched to playing catcher to help another group of students aim for the target.
Simpson continued taking turns guiding kids through each station, with hula-hoop games, bean-bag pick-up races, and more throughout the morning.
Of course, as with any type of workout, Simpson took a quick rest break in between sessions. During that time, The Run On staff asked her perhaps the most important question for a story like this:
Which Sesame Street character would she want to hang out with the most?
With a cast of dozens, if not hundreds, of Muppets that have appeared on the show over the past five decades, it’s no surprise that it was hard for Simpson to choose just one, but here’s how she broke it down:
For play time, it would be Elmo.
For snack time, she would have to go with Cookie Monster.
And for bath time, it’s all about Ernie. (ed. note: Who else could bring the rubber duckie?)
After the event, Simpson left for her own road trip—a series of races in Europe before she returns stateside for the national championships this summer, while the residents of Sesame Street continued on to Washington, DC for the next stop on their nationwide tour.
To learn more about the Sesame Street Road Trip and Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary celebration, visit sesamestreet.org/anniversary, and to learn more about New York Road Runners’ 20 years of free youth running, visit nyrr.org/youth/20-years.