WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Hundreds of runners, from giggling fun-run kids to hardened half marathoners, gathered at the Westchester County Center and ran onto the Bronx River Parkway into the early-morning sunshine Sunday to celebrate Westchester Medical Center’s Seventh Annual Running Festival.
“This is my first race of any kind,” said Shannon Fennell of Yorktown, who ran the quarter-marathon with college roommate Kelly McDermott of Monroe, N.J. “I was never a runner, never thought I’d be doing this, but it’s about being healthier and enjoying being out here. If my college friends and professors could see me running they would never believe it.”
More than 1,200 runners, a new record for the event, ran the 13.1-mile half marathon, 6-1-mile quarter marathon, half marathon walk and ‘Kids Fun Run’ for children 12-and-under. With temperatures just hitting 60 degrees when the race went off, runners enjoyed the cool morning.
Rye High School senior Tyler Breckenridge, who plays soccer and runs track for the Garnets, was one of several runners decked out in green T-shirts representing with the Tourette Syndrome Association of Hudson Valley.
“I’m running to support the Tourette Syndrome Association and my buddy Nicholas, who I mentor,” the 18-year-old runner said after posting a time of 45.22 minutes in the 6.1 mile run. “I have dealt with Tourette Syndrome growing up, so this is one way of raising awareness and helping other kids. Running has always been something I enjoy. I’ve done this run three times before and also run for Rye.”
Pelham’s Steven Schindler, a fitness trainer with New York Sports Clubs who said he wasn’t much of an athlete during his teen years while at Mamaroneck High School, ran fourth in the quarter marathon.
“I developed my athletic abilities after high school,” said Schindler, who has run the Empire State Building stair run and 11 10Ks and half marathons. “I got into running after high school, so I guess I’m a late developer. Now my three-year-old daughter is running already.”
The Westchester Medical Center Running Festival also hosted dozens of exhibitors – fitness trainers, physical therapists, health food, water and footwear vendors in the parking lot area stretching out from the County Center’s front entrance along the Bronx River Parkway, which was closed for the races.