Meet the Running Club Behind Those Famous Banana Costumes
If you’ve ever spotted a banana running or cheering at a New York Road Runners race, there’s a good chance the person inside is a member of Crown Heights Running Club—the group refers to its banana-suited bunch as #CHRCNegativeSplits on social media.
But behind the a-peel (sorry) of this light-hearted race-day tradition is a club that embraces the diversity of its members and their Brooklyn neighborhood. CHRC was formed by a small group of women in search of a hyper-local running team. They adopted the theme of “running royalty”—a play on Crown Heights—and quickly grew membership to more than 300 men and women.
“We are a friendly community, diverse in our fitness, diverse in our running experience, and diverse in our running goals and motivations,” says CHRC’s Jester of Many Hats Sunny Kasabwala—yes, that’s his real title. “We come together from all over Brooklyn, primarily based in Crown Heights but also Prospect Heights, Bed Stuy, Clinton Hill, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and beyond. And we have a lot of fun when we do!”
CHRC hosts a variety of group runs each week, open to all levels. Club favorites include the “Friday Five,” a 5K or 5-mile loop in Prospect Park—whichever runners are feeling up for, and Saturday morning “Long Ones” that let runners explore the best of Brooklyn.
On the social side of things, the club organizes hiking and camping trips and a monthly Meet & Greet event, where runners can get to know one another in a non-running setting—namely, a local bar.
Many CHRC members also give back to the running community through Girls on the Run. Allison Hauser, executive director of GOTR's New York City chapter, is a member of CHRC, while other CHRC members are GOTR coaches, volunteers, and board members. When the girls race, you better believe there are bananas cheering on the course!
And the best news of all: the club is looking to grow its community. Interested runners can join any group run, attend a new member run and orientation, or get to know CHRC over a drink at a Meet & Greet event. Check the club's website for event dates and times.
“We are also always looking for more ways to support our neighborhood,” says Kasabwala, who encourages readers to reach out to the club if they know of projects or initiatives that CHRC members can help support.
To learn more, check out Crown Heights Running Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.