More than 100 participate in tenth anniversary of 5k run
On the morning of the 10th annual Hunts Point Hustle, the skies were filled with clouds and weather predictions called for rain, but that didn’t stop the 113 runners who came out to run the 5k race. By 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, Hunts Point Riverside Park was packed with runners stretching on any and all spare spaces, volunteers setting up snacks and beverages, and supporters giving pep talks and helping runners get ready. .
A decade ago, Hunts Point Riverside Park was just a year from its former existence as an illegal dumping ground. In those 10 years, a lot has changed in the neighborhood, and perhaps there is no more distinct change than the open spaces created along the waterfront. In fact, this month, the city broke ground on a $20 million project that will finally connect the South Bronx gap in the Bronx River Greenway.
The Hunts Point Hustle was created “to bring the community together, get people moving and promote greener space,” said Irene Branche, the event director. Created by Sustainable South Bronx, a local organization that was founded to address economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx, the race was meant to get people to come out and see all the things that have changed and also assess what still needs to be done. This year’s race also marked one year since Sustainable Bronx has collaborated with the Hope program, a leading job placement program.
“The one thing that remains the same is our commitment to a greener, more sustainable Bronx,” Branche said, finishing up her speech before telling the runners to take their places at the starting line.
The corner of Lafayette Avenue and Edgewater Road then quickly became flooded with runners and supporters cheering from the sidewalk. With a cheer of “on your mark, get set, go!” from Branche, the runners were off.
Activities such as face painting, food and community rowing provided by Rocking the Boat followed the race. Rocking the Boat took community members down to the mouth of the river to learn about the wildlife along the Bronx River and take in the views of the borough from the water.
Queens residents Katerina Lennon, Erika Geis and Martina Prikrylova were sitting on a rock waiting for their friend to finish up the race. They were persuaded by a former boss to run the 5k. “I didn’t train but I’m very proud of us.” Prikrylova said. “I feel like I can run a marathon,” she joked.
Drawing people from other boroughs proves the race has come a long way.
“The race is a real celebration of Hunts Point,” said Branche. “We’re bringing people out and seeing what’s beautiful in the Bronx and what still needs to be done.”