Checking in with Central Park’s NYRR Striders
New York Road Runners’ Run 5, Give 5 challenge invites runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to share what they love about the sport by posting photos on social media that fit with each week’s theme—this week’s is run with your favorite group.
While there are so many running groups that make up the NYRR community—NYRR Team for Kids, NYRR Open Run, and Rising New York Road Runners, just to name a few—we’re always extra inspired by our NYRR Striders, a group of older adults who take part in coach-led walking sessions in senior centers, community facilities, and neighborhood parks across all five boroughs of NYC.
In celebration of this week’s #Run5Give5 theme, we checked in with some Striders who are regulars at our Central Park walking sessions. Here’s what they love about exercising with their favorite group.
Christine Walevska, 72, has been walking with the NYRR Striders since the day after September 11, 2001. She felt so distraught and saddened by the tragic events that she needed a return to nature within Manhattan’s concrete jungle. Though she lived a block from Central Park’s 90th Street entrance and had a view of the park from her building, she’d never taken advantage of its paths for walking and exercise.
When she entered the park on that day back in 2001, she approached an NYRR kiosk and asked for a map. She was told to come back the next day and walk with a guide and a group. Ever since, Christine has been a regular at Tuesday or Thursday morning Striders sessions.
While Christine is a professional cellist and travels around the world performing, she looks forward to her routine whenever she’s back in NYC. She says she is "religious" about her walks through the bramble and that the group never takes the same route. Sure, her building has a gym and a lap pool, but it doesn’t have a community of familiar and supportive people that keep Christine walking week after week.
Judith Levine has been walking with NYRR Striders since 2004, and having been a social worker for more 30 years, she knows the benefits of being part of a community.
At 87 years young, Judith counts the Striders among her most valued group of friends. Meeting with them two days a week in Central Park is not only about fitness, it’s about getting involved and staying relevant in her community. Judith loves that she’s able to walk out her door and meet a friendly and warm group of people to walk with. She credits the group with getting her out and exercising: "If it were not for the NYRR Striders, I would not do one mile, much less three!” she says. After every walk, many Striders go out to have breakfast and coffee together. Judith really enjoys the diversity of the group and the many "hats" her Strider's group wears.
Coach Myna Majors is the motivating force behind a great group of NYRR Striders who meet at Harlem Meer every Tuesday.
A former parole officer, Myna’s been working with NYRR Striders for four years. Her philosophy is offering the “total package” to participants in her group: Myna is a stickler for form and technique and has an assertive yet caring coaching style. She starts her sessions with stretching and walking, and then some participants turn it up a notch with hill repeats and short-distance running if they’re preparing for an upcoming race.
Myna shows each member how to be their best during every workout. With her, the group has an incredible banter and functions much like a family, encouraging one another during designated Striders sessions and outside of Tuesday workouts as well. Many members bring new people from their own networks to join them in getting fit and building friendships in an active and social setting.
Learn more about NYRR Striders, including how to find a walking group in your neighborhood.