Harlem One Miler, New York, 18th June 2017

The intrepid Howard MacLennan has been running around New York (anything to get out of marshaling at Weetslade!) and sends this report:

This is the 3rd year this sell-out event has taken place, to help this broadening, changing diverse community to come together. The race is organised by Harlem Run, a free charity running Club that was recently created. I aim to train with them with in the near future.

The race is based at Marcus Garvey Park, nee Mount Morris Park, Harlem, New York. The area is currently undergoing huge development and refurbishment. It’s just situated North of Central Park, South of the famous Apollo theatre and very close to Columbia University – nee Kings College before the Revolutionary War. The University dishes out the Pulitzer Prize each year. Harlem – nee Nieuw Haarlem, was a Dutch village in the former Dutch colony of Manhatten, based on Haarlem in Netherlands. The park is pretty much 1200 square metres, so the mile race is one flat loop of the park with a bit extra to run. The park is surrounded by historical Harlem Renaissance Brownstone architectural buildings. Middle of the park has a solid rock/schist and during the American Revolutionary War it mounted a Hessian battery to control the area. The schist is surrounded by smaller parks for kids, barbecues, open theatre and pool, children’s baseball, dogs and squirrels only areas – a lot squashed in. At times you see a mother pushing her pram with a puppy dog inside.

The One Miler is a pretty big event in the US community, it mainly attracts the youthful college mustangs and obviously I fit into this hung category with my confusing muscular looks. I was drawn into the 2nd Heat Race – the fastest one for males only.

All the races was started by the Drag Queen Miss Shuga Cain, very close to the RuPaul colourful dress sense. From the word go, I was trying to concentrate on pace, but the first 400 I was struggling to breath with the humidity and heat. I had to drop a gear and hope for the best. The community was outstanding from the park; with support from the locals, the NYPD, those whom raced earlier and for the next two females, kids and family relay heats. I was definitely missing my usual Club Pacers – you know who you are, but passing each side of the park went far swifter than the Baltic course. The last 200 metres I just had to open up and sprint across the finishing line, then finding a floor trying to gain my breath. My chip time was 6 minutes 6 seconds – 6:06:75, coming 62nd and 8th by age group.

I just beat my PB by a whisker, previously at 6:07.

If I ever run this again, I noted the fastest male runner ran topless with their numbers stuck to their shorts. This fashionable option to reduce heat may help me to breathe more clearly and reduce much unnecessary heat. I just have to put this option into further practice – wink wink and all it’s Glory!

Importantly the race reaches out to Harlem United, bringing charitable monies to help the community for the prevention of AIDS and to help those suffering with AIDS. Regardless of their sexual orientation, race or social-economic status.

Tom Tinsley -