In 2018 the NYRR New York Mini 10K, the world’s original women-only road race, included a wheelchair division for the first time. The winner was Team USA Paralympian and 2017 United Airlines NYC Half champion Susannah Scaroni. Finishing with a blistering time of 22:48, Susannah cemented her place in the Mini’s history.
This year, Susannah is returning to New York to defend her title, having recently competed at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Swtizerland. She chatted with us about her 2018 NYRR New York Mini 10K victory, what she’s looking forward to in this year’s race, and more.
Last year was the first time the NYRR New York Mini 10K included a professional wheelchair division. What is your favorite memory of that day?
My favorite memory of that day has to be waiting on the start line, knowing there were not only thousands of women behind me, but that the ones on either side were also contributing to the dreams of other women with disabilities. It's truly a feeling like no other to be a part of expanding another's idea of what they're capable of.
What are the biggest challenges of the course?
I like hilly courses, and this one is a mini snapshot of every possible thing. For me, I was dropped on Harlem Hill last year and expect that to be an area where I will have to give everything. At that point, the rest of the race is fairly technical, as you can gain a lot of speed on the turns. If I can make it to the top without losing much ground, I will need to be very smart about the following corners.
What was your favorite part of the course? Was it that last stretch knowing you were going to clinch victory?
I never like to look behind me, so I gave everything through the finish. I must admit that when I realized I was breaking the tape, it was an awesome feeling, and probably my favorite part.
Has your preparation for this year been different than it was last year?
I joined the Top End racing team last fall, and thus adjusted to a new racing frame. I had a good winter season learning the minute differences and am continuing to make adjustments, but it's been a great season for me so far, and very similar to last year's prep.
What is your favorite pre-race meal?
Before a 10K, as opposed to a marathon, I'm thinking about quickly digestible carbohydrates. NYRR always has amazing hospitality, including one of my favorite granola cereals. I will probably enjoy a bowl of that with soy milk, a chopped banana, and definitely coffee with a shot of espresso!
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s race?
I really am interested in how I will perform within such a strong field given the need to use so many different skills. It'll be very telling about my current level.
Returning as champion, does it add pressure?
I think it adds a fun element. I don't experience much race pressure, as the preparation beforehand is where I like to give my mental energy. So, I think coming back as the defending champion, there will be motivation from the rest of the field to beat me. That should make it an exciting day! I look forward to meeting that challenge and giving it my best.
Watch the 2019 NYRR New York Mini 10K featuring the USATF Women's 10K Championships live on USATF.TV. The webcast is scheduled to begin at 7:40 a.m. ET, with the professional wheelchair division starting at 7:50 a.m. and the professional open division starting at 8:00 a.m. This USATF.TV webcast will be free with on-demand replay videos after the event on USATF.TV+PLUS.