The first annual Memorial Day Marathon in NYC was hosted by the Holiday Marathons in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Runners went off the beaten track to experience the only trail run in New York City.
Runners did not have to pay a fee to enter the NYC Memorial Day Marathon. Holiday Marathons has a donation-based system to cover the cost of the races.
The Holiday Marathons website indicates their initial mission was to stage community supported races on the major holidays. Race director Mike Arnstein indicates they wanted to “bring together our local running community and promote exercise, nature and healthier habits instead of barbecues on holidays.” Seasoned runners and first timers come together to enjoy running on holidays “running the way were were meant to run! Free!” Holiday Marathons in New York City bring runners together to encourage a national movement for healthier habits.
The Washington Post reports Kate Donovan, a Bronx resident and Van Cortlandt Park regular, said, “This is the anti-New York Road Runners race. It’s for free and for fun.”
The Holiday Marathons Facebook page said they would honor the men and women of the armed forces, past and present, during the Memorial Day Marathon at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30, 2011. It stated, “Alongside invited members currently serving our country, come test your speed and endurance on the only trail marathon in New York City.”
Yoni Lazarus posted on the Holiday Marathons Facebook wall, “It was really fun today! Thanks so to all those that helped put it on! Despite the brutal heat I made it around 2 loops and I’m feeling great right now. Events like this are how running was meant to be.”
The Holiday Marathons are the only NYC trail marathons in existence. Runners show up to run long distance or short distance runs and have a scenic adventure in the deep Bronx woods. The event is free with no fees, no sponsors and no officials organizers. There are also no qualifications or cut off times.
The trails are well-maintained with packed dirt, small rocks and leaf surfaces. There are flat sections, climbs and descents. The course is marked with white flour powder, directional signs and orange ribbons as well as mile marker signs.
unners can choose the 10Km, ½ marathon or marathon relay. The 10Km is a 6.56 mile race loop. The ½ marathon is 2 full loops. Marathon relays are a team of 2 or 4 runners.
Here is the 2011 Holiday Marathons race schedule in New York City:
The New Years Marathon – Saturday, January 1
The Valentine’s Marathon – Sunday, February 13
The St. Patricks Day Marathon – Sunday, March 13
The Easter Marathon – Sunday, April 24
The Memorial Day Marathon – Monday, May 30
The July 4th Marathon – Monday, July 4
The Labor Day Marathon – Monday, September 5
The Halloween Marathon – Sunday, October 30
The Thanksgiving Marathon – Thursday, November 24
The Christmas Marathon – Sunday, December 25
Van Cortlandt Park in the northwest Bronx is the fourth largest park in New York City with over one thousand acres. The Park includes the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and a native oak and hickory forest surrounding the Putnam Trail.