All-star week marked not only a major league baseball attraction among the best from the American League against their counterparts from the National. It also marked the bringing to New York people who not only viewed the game at Citi Field on Tuesday night, but also the best and even beginner athletes who can run.
An idea sprung up almost three months ago to stage a road race of 3.1 miles in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which attracted persons of all ages and even a fun run at a shorter distance, especially for the kids.
It was put on by Major League baseball in cooperation with the New York Road Runners, who stage the New York City Marathon and countless other races of various distances. This first event was extremely successful.
In the feature race, Thomas Young of Old Lyme, Connecticut broke away from Jerry Faulkner of Sunnyside after the second mile in a close field and captured the 5K race benefitting last year’s Sandy’s Relief Storm in a time of 15:24,
Justice Scheid of Sparta, New Jersey wound up third in 16:01.
“Jerry and I tried to run together pretty much for the whole way,” the winner said. “And it was a training race for me. Running in this race is a great experience. I maybe running in a marathon during the fall.”
The race attracted people both interested in runners of all kinds including beginners, and baseball, for numerous former Mets were in attendance to have a good time and sign autographs especially for the kids.
Included in the huge field was Crown Heights resident Neil Caesar, who runs unattached and was a former 400-meter runner at Murray Bergtraum High School. Now 43 years of age, Caesar, just loves to run especially in Prospect Park.
“This is home for me,” Caesar said after the race. “(In fact) my father is a native of Trinidad where he used to run. He lived there until he was a teenager. He never taught me any thing about running as I picked it up on my own. He told me just keep running.”
Caesar, who runs a lot and puts in about 20 miles a week, is headed for the Queens 10K run this weekend in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. Meanwhile, Vivien Wadech, who came to New York from California, lead all the way, was timed in 18:02, became the initial female finisher to cross the line and wound up 20th overall.
“I had a pretty good start,” she said after the event. “After the downhill I just took off and didn’t look back.”
Overall, there were over 7000 entrants who came out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to make the first of this kind of race a tremendous success. The race stayed within the park itself. Both the staff of the New York Road Runners Club and of Major League Baseball put on an excellent show as part of all-star weekend here in New York.
“Everyone had a great time,” said Peter Chacha, of the NYRRC and one of its organizers, “It’s great doing work with Major League Baseball.
Some New York Met legends were on hand to showcase and support the athletes who tested the course. Included were New York native John Franco, another pitcher Dwight Gooden both of whom went into the Met record book, and Ed Kranepool and Art Shamsky, along with front office personnel, supported the action. It was a great event for a great cause,” said Franco, who pitched mostly in relief, and is now a team ambassador.