Charity Runners Take on Brooklyn

Charity Runners Take on Brooklyn

NYRR's dedicated volunteers welcome a Team for Kids runner to the finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

NYRR's dedicated volunteers welcome a Team for Kids runner to the finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Among the 27,000-plus runners in the Airbnb Brooklyn Half field, several thousand ran to raise funds for causes close to their hearts. Within that group, more than 3,000 athletes ran to support youth running by registering for the race with NYRR Team for Kids.

In total, TFK runners raised more than $1.3 million through the event. These funds will benefit New York Road Runners' free youth running programs, which serve more than 215,000 students in all five boroughs and across the United States.

We caught up with a few charity runners after the finish to learn about what inspired them to sign up, and how running for a cause motivated them throughout their 13.1 miles.

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Ryan Pardey, an Australian now living in New York City, celebrated a four-minute personal best in his first race with TFK. He explained what brought him to putting on the green jersey for today's run: "I started 2017 on a bit of a spiritual path—anything I do for myself, I don't do unless it can benefit someone else. Every time I run a race now, I try to raise money."

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Natalia McNamara, originally from Colombia, and Ben Vaschetti, originally from France, met through running with TFK, and celebrated together on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

After both had received their finisher medals, they spoke about the sense of community that TFK builds. "To have the coaches along the course, when you're struggling, it's good to see them," Vaschetti said. 

He added later: "To have coaches Sid and Asteria at mile 12, and then at the finish line, to get a 'Congratulations' from Michael Rodgers [NYRR's Vice President, Development and Philanthropy], that's very nice, and that's why we keep coming back to Team for Kids."

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Erin O'Rourke had raised funds with Memorial Sloan Kettering's Fred's Team for last year's TCS New York City Marathon, and she sported the orange once again to race her third Brooklyn Half. She customized her jersey by adding her name on the front and the hashtag #avastrong on the back.

The hashtag, she explained, was a tribute to her friend's 5-year-old daughter, who is fighting leukemia. "She pops in my head while I'm running, and there's no better motivation, you know? I can run, I'm healthy, so I've got to do it," said O'Rourke. 

Jackson (left) and Maresko (right) at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half After-Party at MCU Park.

Jackson (left) and Maresko (right) at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half After-Party at MCU Park.

After her first run with TFK, Alicia Jackson met up with her friend Amy Maresko to enjoy a traditional post-race hot dog at MCU Park.

Jackson explained that while this was her 13th half-marathon, the experience of running with TFK was unlike any race before it: "People notice the Team for Kids jerseys, and so you get a lot more cheers—it makes it a lot more exciting." 

If you're feeling inspired to run with NYRR Team for Kids at an upcoming race, you're in luck! Spots are still available for the NYRR Queens 10K on June 17, and if you'd like to take on the full 26.2, sign up to run the TCS New York City Marathon on November 5.

An Unforgettable 13.1 Miles in Brooklyn

An Unforgettable 13.1 Miles in Brooklyn

Hundreds of Kids Run the Boardwalk

Hundreds of Kids Run the Boardwalk