Monday, June 6, 2011

Holiday Marathons offer path to grass-roots racing

Fast or slow, everyone in this race was wearing No. 1.

And that's not all the 150 or so runners in the Memorial Day Marathon in New York City's Van Cortlandt Park had in common. They also were running for free and far from the Big Apple's crowded streets.

"This is more of a community event," said David White, a 41-year-old runner from Manhattan. "It's just a small-town kind of thing. This is the love-of-running type thing."

Welcome to Holiday Marathons, a series of races in New York City's fourth-largest park that forsakes the electronic timing, extensive swag and large entry fees common at the corporate-sponsored events that populate the running calendars across the country.

"This is the anti-New York Road Runners race," said Kate Donovan, a Van Cortlandt Park regular who lives in the Bronx. "It's for free and for fun."