As the NYTimes reported just 2 days ago – reprinted below – one of my favorite races in NYC is in danger of disappearing. The main cause seems to be a dramatic increase in the fees charged by the NYC police for their work closing streets on the course – which is the same problem that caused the NYC Marathon to nearly double it’s entry fee.
If you live in NYC and are upset about these changes, contact the Mayor’s office, and also ask the NYCRR to help produce this wonderful 5K. Thanks!
Manhattan Race in Jeopardy as Its Organizer Steps Aside By KEN BELSON
September 13, 2012
New York Road Runners, the Armory Foundation or another organization could take it over, but so far there have been no takers, Walsh said. If no one steps forward, the race, held in early March, will disappear.
The Coogan’s Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K & Kids’ Races were started to help introduce children to the sport and promote safety in the neighborhood. Race day blossomed into a festive event, with music acts along the hilly course, which followed Fort Washington Avenue north from West 173rd Street to Fort Tryon Park, and back.
“I made a personal commitment for 14 years of getting up at 3 a.m. on race day,” said Walsh, an owner of Coogan’s restaurant on the corner of Broadway and West 169th Street, near the finish line of the race. “We made the streets safer in these 14 years.”
In late 2010, the New York Police Department told organizers of sporting events that use city streets that it would begin charging for traffic control and other policing costs. Walsh said the police were requesting $45,000 going forward, many times more than he had been paying.
Coogan’s, a popular hangout with track fans and athletes, served breakfast before the race and was packed with runners afterward. Walsh raised money to help cover race costs from Con Edison, New Balance, Columbia University, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and other sponsors.
Road Runners provided logistical assistance for the race, which was finished by nearly 5,000 runners this year. Points were awarded to the top finishers, a big reason running teams vying for annual titles liked the race.
“It’s one of the very best races in part because it’s a different locale and a different neighborhood, but also because it’s a difficult course,” said Bill Staab, the president of the West Side Runners’ Club. “The basic treatment is great, with music along the way.”
Whether the race will continue under different leadership is unclear. The Armory, which hosts a full calendar of indoor track meets in the winter, has not indicated a willingness to take it over. Road Runners has not announced its race schedule for next year, but it could take a bigger role to preserve it.
“Peter Walsh did a phenomenal job in building this race with support from N.Y.R.R. and the Armory,” said Richard Finn, a Road Runners spokesman. “We hate to see Peter not involved. We are looking at all options to continue and keep this runner and community favorite on our 2013 race calendar.”