Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks Washington Heights 5K

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Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks Washington Heights 5K

March 3, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Sandwiched between two snow storms, the Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks Washington Heights 5K caught a lucky break this day. Sun rays peeked through the multiple story walk-up’s around the Armory Track, providing needed relief from the Northeast winter chill in early March. Many like myself opted to seek refugee in the Armory where our limps were kept loose and toasty while I marveled at this state-of-the-arts indoor track facility and avoided the narrow corral for as long as possible. Marking the first club points race of the 2019 NYRR season, this 21-year-old race brought 225 teams of all abilities, colors, shapes and sizes to the northern tip of Manhattan, including our very own, Bergen Runners from the opposite side of the Hudson River. Budding yet hopeful, observing yet optimistic, 36 of the Bergen Runners made our debut on this day at this very race to begin our journey together as a NYRR team.

Many of our teammates began earlier that morning in Fort Lee to take advantage of the opportunity to warm up as we crossed the picturesque GW Bridge. The real start actually took place days before as planning (e.g., advanced bib pick up, the best-photographer-any-team-can-pray-for, the meet up logistics and the support team) took place days earlier as it has always been with all key Bergen Runner events and races under the superb guidance and attentive care of our team captains, Renny and Kai.

For some of us, the race was a welcoming departure from Central Park and other better known NYC venues. Starting from 173rd Street and Fort Washington Avenue and looping through the hills of the Fort Tryon Park and the historic Cloisters (which is home to one of the best collections of medieval art in the US), the start of the route was congested until 180th Street but came alive with the sound of rhythmic salsa, soulful blues and upbeat Irish tunes. But truth be told, despite the melodic embellishments along the route, the race was hilly and painful at times. Seeing the faster folks on the left ascending as the course became two way was encouraging, though my lack of lung capacity prevented me from giving anyone a shout out. Shortly after the comedic reminder that I was passed by many, by many I mean a lot (A WHOLE LOT) of people, the natural beauty of the Hudson River provided a scenic backdrop and a distraction from my struggle at the midpoint as I was already making a mental plan to return when I am not running a 5k.

What set this race apart from other NYRR is that it was as much about running as a celebration of diversity (granted merengue and bagels could have been included in the race name given that Washington Heights is a largely Dominican and Jewish neighborhood). As a predominately Chinese running group, this race spoke to us and to the recognition of minority culture, heritage and contribution. This is a particularly special year for us as well as we celebrate the contribution of our Chinese forefathers to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in the U.S. 150 years ago. This race also exemplifies the meritocratic spirit of our country – may the best man or woman of any color, shape, size wins! To that, we are proud to take home the 22nd place in the Overall Women category and 25th place in the Overall Men category in our debut run. A special shout out to our Masters who took home some top honors! We look forward to continuing to encourage a supportive environment where we bring each other closer towards individual goals. Our next NYRR Club Points Race will be the Popular Brooklyn Half on 5/28.

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March 3, 2019
9:00 am - 10:00 am
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