NYRR's Top Moments of 2018

NYRR's Top Moments of 2018

What a year it was for New York Road Runners, as we celebrated 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running, launched exciting new initiatives and expanded existing ones, and saw history-making performances by our amazing pro athletes. As 2018 winds down, join us in looking back over 12 thrilling months.

 1.       NYRR and the Running Community Celebrate 60 Years

Together with you, we celebrated NYRR’s 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running, highlighted by 60 finish lines on Global Running Day, June 6. A day each year when people around the world of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds come together to get moving, Global Running Day 2018 in NYC saw NYRR set up finish tapes around to five boroughs to symbolize the thrill of reaching a goal—no matter what that might be. Pro athletes—including 2018 Boston Marathon champ Des Linden—joined us, NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador and former pro rugby player Nick Youngquest and others cheered on Rising New York Road Runners youth at Icahn Stadium, and ordinary New Yorkers of all ages and abilities got in on the action all over town.


Watch the 2018 recap video and sign up to learn more about next year’s Global Running Day, coming up on June 5, 2019.

 2.       NYRR Virtual Racing Launches with 10 Events for Runners Everywhere

From the NYRR Virtual Resolution Run in January to the NYRR Virtual Turkey Trot 5K at Thanksgiving, our NYRR Virtual Racing Powered by Strava series brought thousands of new participants into our global running community and gave everyone more motivation to challenge yourselves and give back to the running community. All told, more than 25,000 runners from 106 countries and all 50 states took part in 10 virtual races throughout the year.

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Running an NYRR virtual race is simple—just register in your NYRR account, log and record your race on Strava anytime and anywhere during the specified window, and see your times on the leaderboard and in NYRR Race Results. Participants can also connect with other runners around the globe through the NYRR Virtual Racing Facebook page, and all proceeds benefit NYRR youth and community programs.


 Runners who completed the TCS New York City Marathon – Virtual 26.2M, held on TCS New York City Marathon weekend, earned guaranteed entry to the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon, and those who completed the NYRR Virtual 6 program earned entry to the 2019 Popular Brooklyn Half!

You can register now for our first virtual race of 2019, the NYRR Virtual Resolution Run 5K.

 3.       New Course, Expanded Field at United Airlines NYC Half

NYRR unveiled a new course at the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half, starting near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, crossing the Manhattan Bridge to Lower Manhattan, running through Times Square, and finishing in Central Park. The largest finisher field in race history, 21,965 runners, gave the new route rave reviews.


The 2019 United Airlines NYC Half is set for March 17, and you can grab a spot by signing up to run with NYRR Team for Kids.  

4.       Pro Runners Make History with Amazing Performances

The NYRR Pro Racing Series brings world-class athletes to race through the streets of New York, and this year delivered superlative performances to match the quality of the fields.

The spring season kicked off with Ben True becoming the first American man to win the open division of the United Airlines NYC Half, prevailing in a three-man sprint finish. In April, Rhonex Kipruto of Kenya won the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in 27:08, setting the fastest time for a road 10K on U.S. soil. Susannah Scaroni led the first-ever professional wheelchair athlete field at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June, finishing in a world-best time of 22:48.


In September, Jenny Simpson won the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile in 4:18.8; the win marked her seventh time breaking the tape at the event, extending her own record for the most wins by any athlete in event history.

Competitive fields at the TCS New York City Marathon led to all-time performances, with Mary Keitany (2:22:48) and Lelisa Desisa (2:05:59) running the second-fastest times in event history for the women’s and men’s open divisions. (Keitany, who also won her third NYRR New York Mini 10K title, was voted by the public as the 2018 NYRR Pro Performer of the Year.) Daniel Romanchuk, at age 20, became the youngest men’s wheelchair division champion in New york City Marathon history with his victory in 1:36:21.


 5. NYRR Programs Expand Across the Five Boroughs

 After starting in Central Park and Prospect Park in 2016, and stepping out into Astoria Park in 2017, NYRR Group Training began operating in all five boroughs in 2018, launching sessions in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and in Staten Island’s Clove Lakes Park.


The expansion continues NYRR’s efforts to serve communities across the five boroughs of New York City. Other initiatives this year were the opening of three new NYRR Open Run sites—in Manhattan’s Morningside Park, Shore Road Park in Brooklyn, and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx—as well as groundbreaking ceremonies for new school and community playgrounds, through NYRR’s partnership with The Trust for Public Land.


One more new initiative for 2018 came through the first-ever installment of NYRR Mile Markers, which marks running and walking path measurements for park visitors. The program launched in Astoria Park in May, with plans for additional installations in other city parks.

6. Rising New York Road Runners Comes to Puerto Rico

Rising New York Road Runners, NYRR’s flagship youth program, provides nearly 250,000 youth with free fitness programs and events nationally. In a groundbreaking effort, Rising New York Road Runners launched its first sites in Puerto Rico this year. Joining in the kickoff celebration was Puerto Rican Olympian Beverly Ramos, who will serve as a Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor to Puerto Rico. Ramos follows in the footsteps of another Team New Balance athlete, Jenny Simpson, who became the program’s first Ambassador & Special Advisor in 2017.


These students aspire to follow in Ramos’ and Simpson’s footsteps, as they took part in a 1 for You 1 for Youth shoe distribution, which gives a free pair of New Balance running shoes to Rising New York Road Runners students, as part of the program’s launch. NYRR and New Balance have given away over 5,000 new pairs of shoes as part of the program.


7. Record Numbers Finish NYRR Premier Races

The 2018 TCS New York City Marathon saw a record number of runners—52,811—cross the finish line in Central Park, making the race the largest running of any marathon in history and breaking the record previously set at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon.


The marathon was not the only record-breaking NYRR race in 2018. In March, 21,965 people raced 13.1 miles through the NYC streets at the United Airlines New York City Half. In June, a record 11,446 runners finished the NYRR Queens 10K. The races are part of NYRR’s Five Borough Series, a celebration of what makes each borough unique, inspiring, and an amazing place to get out and get moving.

8. Team #MovedMe Inspires Marathoners and Fans

In the buildup to the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, New York Road Runners unveiled Team #MovedMe, a group of inspirational runners who embodied the transformative power of running. Team #MovedMe was part of NYRR’s “It Will Move You” campaign. Participants shared their personal stories on itwillmoveyou.nyc, in the TV broadcast of the race, and through social media.


Members of the team included NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver; air traffic controller Patrick Harten, who helped guided the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing in 2009; brain cancer survivor Julia Khvasechko; professional wheelchair athlete Michelle Wheeler; and longtime NYRR member and volunteer Janelle Hartman.


9. Peter Ciaccia Retires as Marathon Race Director and NYRR President of Events

After almost two decades with the organization, Peter Ciaccia retired as president of events of New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. Following an emotional week, during which he received countless well-wishes and was inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame, Ciaccia stood on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and gave his iconic pre-race instructions one last time, before sending more than 50,000 runners on their way through NYC’s five boroughs.

Throughout his tenure as race director, Ciaccia celebrated the final finisher at every NYRR race—especially the TCS New York City Marathon. On November 4, Ciaccia waited for the final finishers before handing the baton over to Jim Heim, NYRR’s senior vice president of event development and production and technical director of the TCS New York City Marathon. This year’s final finishers were greeted by professional athletes and more than 100 spectators, staff, and volunteers in the late hours of November 4 as they crossed the famed finish line.


In his final blog for NYRR, Ciaccia wrote: “It has been a wonderful run and I trust that I have not disappointed those who have gone before me or our runners in carrying on this mission with equal professionalism, courage, and passion.”


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