A Real Slam Dunk: NYRR and NBA Join Forces to Promote Health and Wellness

Rachel Pratt, Ron Harper. Michael Capiraso, Beverly Ramos, and Josh George

In 2019, New York Road Runners celebrates 20 years of free youth running and fitness programs, and as part of the year-round celebration we are collaborating with the NBA to promote the importance of health and wellness—whether it’s on the roads, on the court, or anywhere else.

To tip off NBA FIT Week presented by Kaiser Permanente, NYRR visited the Rising New York Road Runners site at PS 187 Hudson Cliffs School with NBA legend Ron Harper and 2019 United Airlines NYC Half pro entrants Beverly Ramos and Josh George.

The Rising New York Road Runners kids had the opportunity to run and play alongside Harper, a five-time NBA champion, and Ramos, a two-time Puerto Rican Olympian and the Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor to Puerto Rico.

Beverly Ramos showing Rising New York Road Runner participants different exercises

“I owe everything I have in my life today to this sport, and it doesn’t end here. When you set out to do something great, it’s important to give back and reach out to your communities and share the things you can accomplish through running,” said Ramos.

Additionally, the kids got to try out a racing chair with instructions from George, a five-time Paralympic medalist and the winner of the inaugural NYC Half wheelchair division race in 2014.

“It’s so exciting to share the sport of wheelchair racing with the participants of Rising New York Road Runners. This program is all-inclusive and it’s important to raise the awareness of the sport amongst runners of all abilities,” said George.

Josh George showing Rising New York Road Runners how to use a racing chair

NBA FIT Week is the league’s annual celebration of the work teams and players do to help communities lead healthy and active lifestyles. During the week-long celebration, which runs from March 14 to 21 this year, the NBA engages with its players, fans, and partners to host special events and highlight the importance of a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

“We’re excited to once again collaborate with the NBA to kick off NBA FIT Week and race week for the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half. Our shared commitment to promoting the importance of leading a healthy life and creating the necessary access for people of all ages and abilities to stay active for life makes the NBA a natural partner for NYRR,” said Michael Capiraso, NYRR’s president and CEO. 

Ron Harper showing Rising New York Road Runners some exercises

In 2015, NYRR partnered with the NBA to create the NBA All-Star Relay at the TCS New York City Marathon. The relay featured 24 NBA and WNBA legends and personalities, including Commissioner Adam Silver, paired with youth from NYRR’s youth programs, running through the five boroughs alongside the thousands of marathoners.

“We want to get our youth to understand that exercising and getting outside is a part of growing up,” explained Harper. “It’s time to put down the laptop, put down the tablet, put down the phone, and exercise.”


Matt Singer

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2017 United Airlines NYC Half

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