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Thomas Jefferson Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, November 6, 2003

RUNNING FOR PARKS, PARKIES FOR RUNNING


The presence of runners has always been beneficial to parks, but this year, with ING’s new sponsorship of the New York City Marathon, running was directly linked to park improvement. Through ING’s innovative "Run for Something Better" program, four of the world’s top female marathon runners competed not only to win the marathon but also to raise money for parks in both New York City and in their hometowns. In Sunday’s race, Lornah Kiplagat represented McCarren Park, Ludmila Petrova represented Thomas Jefferson Park, Jen Rhines represented Red Hook Park and Marla Runyan represented Astoria Park. Lornah Kiplagat, who finished with a time of 2:23:43, was the winner. As a result of her great race, McCarren Park will receive funding for a major capital improvement within the park.

As ING continues its multi-year sponsorship of the marathon, all four parks will receive funding both for programs and for park improvements. In the future, ING will fund capital improvements for one park per year in the parks represented by the winning runner. The parks chosen for this year’s "Run for Something Better" program are currently home to City Parks Foundation’s track & field program, which provides free track and field coaching to children ages 8-14. Over the next few years, track and field programs will be have the ability to serve more and more children throughout the city.

The City Parks Foundation also received a second windfall from the global sports brand FILA. The company had a special wager on its running team: if Team FILA took both the women's and men's titles at the Marathon, FILA would make a $100,000 contribution to City Parks Foundation. Thanks to Kenya’s (and FILA’s) Margaret Okayo and Martin Lel, the women’s and men’s marathon champions, the City Parks Foundation was also a winner on November 2. Martin Lel’s winning time was 2:10:30, while Margaret Okayo’s time of 2:22:31 broke the 2:24:21 course record she set in 2001.

Finally, the City Parks Foundation gained from the sweat and tears of Liz Greenstein, City Parks Foundation’s Director of Development. In her sixth marathon, she raised over $1,500 for CPF, finishing with a time of 4:46:00. "I saw a lot of my colleagues cheering for me along the route—that really helped me finish the race."

Liz Greenstein wasn’t the only Parkie to make it through 26 grueling miles. NRG’s Meredith Freimer ran a phenomenal race: she was the 96th female finisher, crossing the finish line with a time of 3:16:08. A second time New York City marathon runner, Meredith said she found the race easier this year. "If I started to get tired, I would concentrate on the people cheering or the bands playing."

Joseph Trimble, Director of Labor Relations, was also a second time marathon runner. "My time was 4:29:50, which was exactly how I ran it four years ago. The weather affected me, but it was still a good race. The crowds were a lot larger than normal and that helped." Marielle Anzelone, another runner from NRG, also found the crowds uplifting: "There are perfect strangers cheering for you along the whole route. There are designated refreshment areas but people also take it upon themselves to come out with their own snacks. People bring paper towels to wipe your head and give you pretzels to make sure you have enough salt." She finished the race with a time of 4:34:19. E-government’s Andy Wilson also ran a very respectable race, finishing with a time of 3:55:31. Finally, former Parks & Recreation employee Jake Cooper, who got his start running marathons through Parks & Recreation, turned in the impressive time of 2:43:25, finishing 111th overall and 94th among men.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,

That ever was I born to set it right!"

William Shakespeare

(1564-1616)

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