Open Run Spotlight: Volunteering Puts June Johnson at the Center of the Action

During 2019, we’re highlighting NYRR Open Run participants, volunteers, and groups whose stories and accomplishments have had an impact on their neighborhoods and communities.

June Johnson at Shore Road Park's Open Run

June Johnson, left, with Yanira Sanchez at Shore Road Park’s Open Run in May.

Ask any participant at one of the 18 NYRR Open Runs in New York City and New Jersey why they are there, and most will say that in one way or another, they attend Open Run to get fit.

Ask June Johnson that question, though, and you will get a different response. “People always ask me, How many miles do you run? How far do you walk?” June says with a laugh. “Then I tell them I don’t run or walk—I just like to help out and volunteer!”

A mainstay at Shore Road Park Open Run since the site launched in May 2018, June comes out to support the community as a volunteer every Saturday. Despite the fact she does not participate as a runner or walker, she is motivated by the positive effects Open Run has on her and her community.

“What I really love about Open Run is that usually people come by themselves the first time, but they keep coming and they become friends with the whole group,” says June. “I participate in a lot of events, and usually it’s just for a certain age group. But Open Run is great because it’s really for everyone.”

June Johnson checking in runners at Open Run

June checks in runners and walkers as part of her volunteer role.

A former school secretary, June has been a member of Community Board 10 for 25 years. She understands the importance of taking a role in the betterment of her community and was an ardent supporter of bringing Open Run to Shore Road Park to enhance her neighborhood even further.

“You don’t have to be the fastest or the best,” June says with a smile, “you just have to come out and try.”

Shore Road Park Open Run group

June, front row second from right, poses with Shore Road Park Open Run group prior to their run.

Volunteering at Open Run gives June a chance to share in the experience of every participant, whether she’s timing runners and walkers, checking in participants, or watching bags. Each role provides a different outlet, though she feels one endears her the most to her runners and walkers.

“I always bring donuts,” June says coyly. “It’s the way to people’s hearts.”

Check out opportunities to support your neighborhood and community like June by volunteering or participating with Open Run today.


Will Koessler

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