Celebrating the Past and the Future in Harlem

Celebrating the Past and the Future in Harlem

On a perfect late-summer morning, thousands of runners and walkers came together for the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run, 1.5-mile walk, and kids’ races. The events were part of Harlem Week, a month-long celebration of the past, present, and future of this amazing neighborhood. An accompanying festival featured DJ music and dancing.

The event honors Percy Sutton (1920-2009), who as Manhattan Borough President in the 1970s, championed running and the expansion of the New York City Marathon into a five-borough race.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand at the start of the 5K and walk to welcome runners and celebrate health, fitness, and the history, culture, and diversity of our city.

Among the more than 4,800 finishers in the 5K were 85 NYC rising high school senior girls who took part through NYRR’s Run for the Future program. The free program offers girls with little to no previous running experience the opportunity to get fit, develop leadership skills, and earn money for college. The girls trained several times a week all summer with NYRR coaches in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Today, each girl had a race buddy for camaraderie and encouragement along the way. 

One of today's Run for the Future race buddies was Olympic silver medalist Shalane Flanagan. The American four-time Olympian will run the TCS New York City Marathon on November 5; she finished second in the 2010 New York City Marathon, her debut at the distance.

guys! it's shalane flanagan! (at #percysutton5k / with @teamforkids)

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Also taking part today were participants in the NYRR High School Cross Country Training Series, which prepares high school runners for the fall season with four weeks of workouts and coaching.

The race was part of the NYRR club-points series, so it’s no surprise that competition was intense at the front. First across the finish line was Aduna Lelisa Gemechu of West Side Runners in 14:58, followed closely by Gian-Paul Caccia of New York Athletic Club (NYAC) in 14:59 and Matt Rand of Central Park Track Club New Balance (CPTC) in 15:01. The women’s winner was Harriott Kelly of Urban Athletics in 16:53, followed by Rolanda Bell of CPTC in 17:11 and Alexandra Cadicano of NYAC in 17:15. The ideal running weather led to fast times for many, as runners gear up for the fall racing season. 

The 1.5-mile Percy Sutton Harlem Walk accompanied the 5K run and featured participants from NYRR Striders, a program that offers free weekly walking sessions for seniors throughout New York City, with adults of all ages welcome. Kids’ races for ages 2 to 12 followed the run and walk, helping to ensure that the next generation of runners is getting started on the right foot. 

We’ve got lots more great races coming up, including the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on September 10, the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile on September 24, and the NYRR Staten Island Half on October 8. And check out our Rising New York Road Runners Youth Events for fall, taking place all over the five boroughs for kids ages 2–18.

I survived🏃💪 #Percysutton5k #Harlem

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