Open Run Spotlight: Manhattan’s Bryce Walsh Joins the 100 Runs Club
During 2019, we’ll highlight NYRR Open Run participants, volunteers, and groups whose stories and accomplishments have had an impact on their neighborhoods and communities.
Bryce Walsh, a 14-year-old from Inwood, seems like a normal kid. He spends his weekends watching Twilight Zone reruns and jamming out to his favorite rock bands. He prefers bagels with butter from his neighborhood spot and can no longer call math his favorite school subject with a straight face now that it’s evolved to pre-algebra.
Spend a Saturday morning with Bryce at NYRR Open Run, though, and you’ll see he’s far from typical. Over the last two years, Bryce has become Manhattan’s first member of Open Run’s exclusive “100 runs” club, and one of just a dozen or so across the five boroughs. His sense of accomplishment was obvious when he proudly roared, “I feel like a god!” after running through the milestone finish line on December 1, 2018.
Bryce attended his first Open Run on a rainy Saturday in 2016. He ended up walking the final portion of the course to meet his mom, Jennifer, who’d finished before him. Jennifer saw her son’s reaction to the experience and told him he didn’t have to come back the following week if he didn’t want to.
But Bryce did come back, again and again, motivated by friendly competition with his peers and by listening to his favorite playlists while running. With AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” or Queen’s “It Will Rock You” in his ears, it was easier for him to keep his feet moving. He felt himself improving, one mile at a time. He’s cut 10 minutes off his best Open Run performance and has gone from chasing his mom to beating her. Next up, he wants to consistently beat his dad, a New York City firefighter training for an Ironman, and to someday complete a marathon. He runs four times a week and sees himself running for the rest of his life.
Ask Bryce how he felt about running when he first started and he succinctly replies, “I hated it.” Running now gives Bryce confidence, helps him clear his head, and alleviates his stress from school.
Bryce’s story is reminder that progress is incremental, but that anyone can achieve a goal with commitment (and the right playlist). Sometimes it just takes a little support from your community, something Bryce found and is now helping to foster at Inwood Park’s Open Runs every Saturday morning.