NYRR's Top Moments for Youth in 2017
We recently celebrated NYRR's top moments of 2017—and now we're doing the same for our youth events! Help us celebrate an incredible year by taking a look back at the top 10 highlights from youth events and programming in 2017.
February 11: NYRR Millrose Games Youth 800 Meters
Minutes before world-class professional runners competed in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games, students in NYRR's youth programs competed in 800-meter races on the famed Armory track. Bringing students from across the city to the starting line, these young athletes had the chance to race before a sold-out crowd, with the boys' race featured on the national broadcast on NBC.
May 10: Launch of Rising New York Road Runners
Throughout the spring and into the summer, NYRR youth events began to follow a new format, offering more ways for kids to get active at NYRR events.
While previous events offered races of short distances based on children's ages, NYRR began to incorporate drills, games, and other fitness activities into youth events, aiming to introduce the ideas of physical literacy and long-term athlete development into its youth programs.
In September, these changes rolled out in full with the launch of Rising New York Road Runners, NYRR's new youth programs platform. Combining prior programs like Mighty Milers and Young Runners programs, Rising New York Road Runners continues to offer free running events for youth athletes, while also aiming to educate them on ways they can stay fit for life.
June 7: Kids Celebrate Global Running Day
NYRR hosted events throughout New York City to celebrate Global Running Day, and youth runners were no small part of the day's festivities.
Icahn Stadium played host to a day's worth of track races and fitness activities for kids, with nearly 2,000 students taking part.
Kids from around the city could also join in on an NYRR Open Run, with special editions taking place at parks in all five boroughs.
That night, a group of Rising New York Road Runners had the opportunity to run around the warning track at Yankee Stadium alongside Meb Keflezighi. The 2009 New York City Marathon champion and 2014 Boston Marathon champion ran from the bullpen to the mound to throw the first pitch before the Yankees–Red Sox game.
July 8: NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 4M
While many runners have a sizeable collection of race T-shirts and souvenirs from years past, few (we imagine) can say they've received a pair of shoes as their race giveaway—but NYRR did just that, with help from New Balance, at the first-ever NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 4M on July 8.
For this four-miler in Central Park, each registered runner received a pair of New Balance shoes—along with a special shoe-shaped race number—and New Balance donated a pair of shoes to NYRR's youth programs to match.
The race continued the momentum of the 1 for You 1 for Youth program*, in which New Balance donates a pair of shoes to NYRR youth programs for every pair sold at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the NB Run Hub.
August 26: NYRR Run for the Future at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run
Each year, students in NYRR's Run for the Future finish the seven-week program by running their first 5K race at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run. This year, 85 rising high school senior girls took on the 3.1-miler through Harlem, each accompanied by a race buddy.
One notable race buddy was Shalane Flanagan, who became an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador the week of the race, while also announcing that she would be running the TCS New York City Marathon that November. (And in case you haven't heard, she won the women's open division.)
September 12: Jenny Simpson Joins Rising New York Road Runners
Fresh off of her victory at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile—the sixth of her career—Jenny Simpson announced she would become a Rising New York Road Runners Special Ambassador and Advisor. To kick off her new role, she helped outfit some young runners with new pairs of kicks at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the NB Run Hub.
Simpson was back in New York during TCS New York City Marathon week, where she accompanied five Rising New York Road Runners Youth Ambassadors—one from each New York City Borough—in the lead vehicle on race day. The students served as Grand Marshals at the event.
September 18: New Balance Shoe Distribution with Brett Gardner
A week after hosting a shoe distribution at the NYRR RUNCENTER with Jenny Simpson, NYRR had another celebrity guest appearance, this time from Brett Gardiner of the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers' outfielder stepped off the diamond and into PS 043X in the Bronx to hand out shoes to students at the school.
Later that day, Gardner went 3 for 4 in a 2-1 win for the Yankees over the Minnesota Twins, so maybe shoe distributions are a good luck charm?
October 30: As One Playground Opens, A New Project Begins
During TCS New York City Marathon week in 2016, NYRR announced a partnership with The Trust for Public Land which would rehabilitate three playgrounds at New York City schools. The partnership's initial three sites included CS 154 in Harlem (Manhattan), PS 120 in Flushing (Queens), and the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex, which houses three schools—PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371—on a shared campus in Throgs Neck (Bronx).
A year later, NYRR celebrated the opening of the new playground at CS 154, with Jenny Simpson breaking a tape on the playground's track alongside a group of Rising New York Road Runners from the school. Here's a look at a before-and-after image of the space:
The partnership between NYRR and The Trust for Public Land will continue in 2018, as NYRR has committed to an additional $1 million contribution, with the ultimate goal of refurbishing spaces in all five boroughs.
November: Youth Events Keep Kids Running Throughout Marathon Week
Kids opened TCS New York City Marathon week at the Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree Presented by Tata Consultancy Services, and kept on running all the way through to Marathon Sunday.
On Saturday at the Jamboree, students took part in fitness activities, as well as individual and relay races around the Armory track. On Monday, students at CS 154 in Harlem took a few laps around their new playground's track, thanks to the partnership between NYRR and The Trust for Public Land (see above).
Friday saw professional athletes cheering on young runners in Central Park at the TCS Run with Champions, where kids could race 400 meters or 1500 meters along the final stretch of the TCS New York City Marathon course.
Then on Sunday, they took on a little more of the Marathon course at the Rising New York Road Runners Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon, a 1.7-mile race through Central Park, along Central Park South, and up to the Marathon finish line at Tavern on the Green.
In total, Marathon week events welcomed more than 3,000 youth athletes from all around the city to be active and to be a part of the biggest marathon in the world. It could be just a matter of years until some of them go the full 26.2!
2017: Team for Kids Ambassadors Lead the Way
Runners on NYRR's Team for Kids add meaning to their miles by supporting NYRR's free youth programs, and in 2017 a select group of professional athletes, serving as Team for Kids Ambassadors, promoted NYRR's mission on grand stages.
In March, Molly Huddle claimed her third-straight win at the United Airlines NYC Half, and her first as a Team for Kids Ambassador.
In June, five-time New York City Marathon winner Tatyana McFadden helped pace participants at the Girls' Run at the NYRR New York Mini 10K, handing out medals to finishers afterward.
At the TCS New York City Marathon in November, one Ambassador made history while another closed one chapter of a historic career.
Shalane Flanagan, who had served as a Race Buddy at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run in August (see above), ran all on her own through Central Park, breaking the tape in 2:26:53; the victory made her the first American to win the women's open division of the race since 1977.
Part of her inspiration came from her fellow TFK Ambassador, Meb Keflezighi, who was racing his 26th and final competitive marathon. "Today I just thought, just be like Meb as much as you can. He's the person that you would want your kids to emulate, and I want to emulate Meb," Flanagan explained post-race. Keflezighi, the 2009 New York City Marathon champion, finished his 11th race through the five boroughs in 11th place, running 2:15:29.
If you'd like to run like one of our ambassadors, you can still earn a spot in the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half or the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon with TFK—sign up today!