July 8, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The organizers of the New York City Marathon want to create weekly running events in Astoria.
New York Road Runners, which was born in the Bronx in 1958 and has been organizing the famous marathon since the ‘70s, will host its first Astoria Park Open Run on July 18 at 9 a.m.
The run is free and intended for participants of all experience levels.
Beginning at the comfort station between the track and the tennis courts, the Open Run will consist of three laps around the interior of Astoria Park. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the run begins at 9 a.m.
“People can get active, it’s free, all you have to do is show up,” NYRR assistant manager of community events Paul Leak said.
According to Leak, the Astoria Park Open Run marks the first of what NYRR hopes will become a weekly event directed by locals.
“What we want is for people from the community to foster this,” Leak said. “We want to have a free run in Astoria Park every week – the people from Astoria then create what that run means to them.”
A NYRR spokesperson said this transition would entail local volunteers eventually stepping in to direct the open runs – for example, making sure they continue to hold the event and promote it within Astoria – with NYRR offering expertise and training to these volunteers.
Astoria’s will be the second Open Run initiated by NYRR; a similar event has already taken place in Saint Mary’s Park in the Bronx.
Jared Mestre, president of the local running club Hellgate Road Runners, said, “as far as I’m concerned, I’m for it,” also noting that he hopes the event might be able to have a competitive aspect in the future as well.
He added that he will encourage runners in his group to post feedback on the Open Run at the Hell Gate Runners Facebook page.