END-OF-SUMMER SPRINTS TO THE FINISH

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CHARITY EVENT DRAWS MORE THAN 10,000 RUNNERS FROM NEW YORK TO SHANGHAI
By Adam Bloch

Even with the occasionally oppressive summer heat and thousands of city residents on vacation, August was a pretty good month for in New York. The month climaxed with a unique new international event called The Human Race, a charity event which was sponsored by Nike in 26 cities around the world, from Shanghai to Sao Paulo.
Competitors in New York set off on the evening of Aug. 31, making two loops of Randall’s Island before reaching the finish in Icahn Stadium for a total of 10 kilometers.

Evance Rotich, Photo curtersy of New York Road Runner

Evance Rotich, Photo curtersy of New York Road Runner

More than 10,000 runners participated, with John Henwood turning in the top time of 32:39. Among the women, Jill Vollweiler placed first in 39:35.
New York finished 15th among all the cities with an average time of 1:02:07. That was behind Madrid’s pace of 56:34 but far ahead of Istanbul’s time of nearly one hour and 19 minutes. In all, more than 1 million runners participated, covering more than 3 million miles.
Two weeks earlier, New York Road Runners held its annual Team Championships, pitting male and female clubs against each other in a five-mile race in Central Park. The Westchester Track Club (WTC) owned the day, blowing the field away in both events. In the men’s race, it placed six runners among the top 11 finishers. Evance Rotich took the top spot in 23:29, edging out WTC’s Girma Tola and Worku Beyi. The Manhattan Track Club, buoyed by top-20 efforts from Jeff Rios and Chris English, came in second, followed by the Nike Central Park Track Club and West Side Runners.
The women’s race was much closer, with WTC just barely beating New York Athletic Club (NYAC). The Nike team came in third, with Running Divas New York earning fourth place. Aziza Aliyu, Buzunesh Deba and Sebleledet Mariam, who finished one-two-four, led the Westchester crew to victory. Muluye Gurmu was the top finisher from Manhattan, while Lesley Higgins and Caroline Bierbaum paced NYAC by placing sixth and seventh.
Gurmu and Bierbaum also finished first and second, respectively, on Sunday morning in the Fitness Games four-mile race. On the men’s side, Henwood placed first in 19:31, with Dereje Hailegiorgis one second back.
Up next for New York Road Runners is the second long training run for the New York City Marathon, scheduled for 7 a.m. in Central Park on Saturday, Sept. 13. The 30th Queens Half-Marathon will follow on Sunday.

The Chase Is On-Dozens of two-person teams will gather Saturday morning for a “unique urban adventure” named City Chase that defies easy description. A combination of a race and scavenger hunt, it will take participants around the city and through innumerable obstacles in search of “Chase points.” The winner will move on to the national championship for the events. See www.CityChaseUSA.com for more information.

The Paralympics Begin-The 2008 Summer Paralympics started in Beijing this week, and there are at least three Manhattanites among the participants. Andrea DeMello, formerly a duelist for Brazil, became a U.S. citizen in 2003 and will compete with the epee in wheelchair fencing. Nick Springer is a member of the wheelchair rugby team that begins play on Friday. And Danielle Fong, a high schooler from the Upper East Side, finished 19th on Sunday in the 10-meter air rifle.

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