A New Year to Run

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Men and women in a running club. I have been a runner for over ten years now, but I did not start that way. Growing up, I never really ran for more than two miles at a time for a workout. But being someone who regularly exercised, I had always wanted to run a marathon.

In 2008, when my brother passed away, I channeled my grief by training for a marathon. My brother had passed away from complications with Leukemia, and I knew about Team in Training through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I joined, and the rest became history. 

I ran my first half and full marathons through Team in Training. We had incredible coaches and mentors to help get us to the finish line. It helped me immensely deal with what I was going through, and it also created my passion for running. 

I continued running and eventually ran the New York City Marathon a few years ago. Now, after having kids, I run more as a form of exercise to stay in shape, get fresh air, and clear my mind when I need some mental clarity.

Many of us have resolutions that might involve exercising as we enter a new year. For those of you that may want to take up or restart running and may not know where to begin, here are some running clubs in and around Westchester that can get you motivated, help you meet people, and get you outside.  

New York Road Runners (NYRR) Club, based in New York City, is an incredible organization full of rookie, intermediate, and advanced runners that meet weekly and help with all aspects of running. When I ran the New York City marathon, I was part of NYRR and ran various races (9+1) with them to qualify for the NYC marathon. They have group runs that meet weekly around the city and usually last an hour. If you are training for any particular marathons, they have weekly long runs. All runners must be vaccinated to participate, and registration is required.  

NewRo Runners based in New Rochelle, NY is a great option for those in lower or central Westchester who are not looking to travel into the city to run. NewRo Runners annually hosts the Paine to Paine Half Marathon in the fall. The club runs together every Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m., on different routes in Southern Westchester published in their weekly newsletter and once a week for evening track work. This is a great running club to join for all levels and is not limited to just New Rochelle residents.

Sunday Runs is for those interested in trail running in and around Westchester. They are part of the Leatherman Harriers. They meet weekly on Sundays (hence the name), typically at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY. They also meet during the week early in the mornings in more recent times. They have a Facebook page and website that show where the weekly runs will be held. Runners of all abilities are welcome. They have a rookie running group that meets on Sundays for newer runners.

Team In Training is a great organization to join if you want to support and run for a specific cause. When you sign up with Team in Training through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), you race and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. LLS is the largest funder of cutting-edge research to advance blood cancer cures. They have invested nearly $1.3 billion in research. They participate in events worldwide, and they are not just limited to running races but have cycling, climbing, and triathlon events. They also have amazing coaches and mentors, especially for new runners.

If you are a new runner, a runner looking to get back into it, or an experienced runner, any of these organizations would be worth a look. Cheers to new goals!

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Bena is a a wife and mom to a little girl born in July 2017 and another little girl born in April 2021. Her and her husband, both born and raised in Long Island, randomly ended up living in New Rochelle, Westchester when they fell in love with the downtown area, which had the best of two worlds, walking distance to parks, coffee shops, great restaurants and a short drive away from great hikes and nature. Since then they have moved a hop, skip and away to Pelham, which is an adorable little town. Mostly, Bena is just trying to figure out how to do this mom thing, while also working a full-time job. After a few years of the juggling act, she feels a little more confident, but everyday there are new challenges, especially when #2 arrived. When she is not momming, she is usually lawyering, working out, cooking, running errands or somewhere out exploring nature and the world (pre-covid, of course)!