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NYIFC hosting third annual 5K in memory of former player to benefit food poverty non-profit

Photo courtesy of NYIFC

May 30, 2024 By Queens Post News Team

Soccer club New York International FC is calling on runners and community members to lace up their sneakers and join the club’s top athletes for a poignant cause.

The soccer club is hosting its third annual 5K run to honor the memory of Davide Giri, a former player whose life was tragically cut short in an unprovoked attack after a training session in December 2021.

The event is set to take off at 21-03 31st Ave. in Astoria at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, and will be held in partnership with Fit Club Astoria Physical Therapy.

All proceeds from the event will go toward the food poverty non-profit EV Loves NYC, which provides meals to Malikah Safety Center on Steinway Street, among other organizations.

Giri, a 30-year-old Columbia University Ph.D. student from Italy, was one of the first players to join NY International after the club was founded in 2019. He was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack near Morningside Park on Dec. 2, 2021.

Davide Giri. Photo courtesy of NYIFC

NY International Vice President Gary Philpott said the annual Astoria 5k helps to honor Giri’s memory and keep his spirit alive.

Philpott said the 5K becomes more important with each year as Giri’s death fades into the past. “The first year, there was more of an initiative to do things because it was so fresh and so close,” Philpott said. “But the grieving changes and life goes on and there are times when it’s not as present as it used to be. That’s why it’s even more important to hold the 5K now. If we skip it after only a couple of years, it will just die out.”

“Davide was a good friend and helped build this club,” Philpott added.

He added that there was an “incredible” outpouring of support and solidarity following Giri’s murder three years ago.

“Obviously, there can’t be any real positives because it was such a horrible tragedy, but the amount of people who showed up for the club and the messages of support that we received, the community aspect of it has been incredible. We’ve created so many relationships.

“Everyone grieves differently, but we showed up in numbers and gave him the support that he deserves. All of the new players who joins at the start of the season hears a story about Davide and what he meant to the club and what he still means to us.”

Participants from the previous 5K. Photo courtesy of NYIFC

Nicholas Alexandrakos, Director of Community Outreach at NY International, said Giri remains central at NY International three years after his death.

“You will see Davide involved in everything that New York International does,” Alexandrakos said. “The club does not want his life and his legacy to be overshadowed by tragedy. Instead, they want to make sure that they’re uplifting and celebrating his life and legacy.”

He added donations for the upcoming race are optional because the club is keen to shine the spotlight on Giri’s legacy.

“We really want to celebrate the life and legacy of Davide and we don’t want to alienate anyone who can’t afford the 15 or the 20 bucks to enter,” Alexandrakos said.

Alexandrakos said around 175 runners took part in the inaugural 5k for Davide in June 2022, but said numbers dropped to around 75 last year as the event was held in August when many people were away on vacation.

The event has reverted back to June in a bid to attract more participants, Alexandrakos said, adding that organizers hope there will be at least 100 participants in the upcoming race.

Philpott added that the race is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, stating that people as young as nine and as old as 70 took part in last year’s event.

Philpott said the club is donating proceeds to EV Loves NYC because the club enjoys a connection with the non-profit and said Giri’s family has approved the partnership.

David Giri. Photo courtesy of NYIFC

The inaugural 5k for Davide raised over $7,000 toward a computer science scholarship at Columbia University in Giri’s name and Alexandrakos said the university was so “touched” by the gesture that they are now privately financing the scholarship.

He said NY International subsequently pivoted to raising funds for EV Loves NYC while also shining a light on Giri’s legacy.

For more information and to sign up for the 5K, click here.

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