Anaya Lee Willabus Canarsie Courier
Feruary 22, 2022
The Race for the Hardcore
During the winter, it is a challenge to keep in shape especially for those who run track. As for me, I am on my school’s track team and we train in a nearby park. While running outdoor has many more challenges during the winter like, frigid temperatures and snow, we have managed to make the most of the season.
On Sunday, February 20th, some of my school’s track team members decided to participate in the annual Cherry Tree Ten Miler and Relay. The event was hosted by The Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC). The theme was, ‘The Race for the Hardcore!’ There were over 900 runners. Participants lined up in Prospect Park to either run the relay or otherwise. My team and I decided to sign up for the relay. This was an exciting first time experience for us.
There were runners of all levels of experiences, from longtime track team competitors to first-timers like myself. We came together from all over Brooklyn, and beyond for one purpose, show our support for health and the love for track!
While the Cherry Tree Relay gets its name from the cherry trees that blossom at the start of Spring season throughout the park area, the most hardcore aspect of the race is known for being the brutal February cold.
There were many giveaways like beanies and gloves to participants. Some runners were well prepared with all the gears necessary to combat the cold weather while others were not so prepared.
According to my coaches, who took part in past races, this year’s runners were lucky to have a fairly nice 30 degrees weather day compared to what they had to deal with.
As participants in the race, there were two distance options: completing the full 10 miles by your-self in 3 loops around the park, or completing 1 loop as a relay participant on a three member team. I chose the latter, along with my school track teammates, Kate and Jenise.
Each relay team had a unique name, from the creative “Unicorn Queens” to our simpler play on names, JAK Track- Jenise, Anaya and Kate. Several of the other relay teams participating had specific groups or causes that they were supporting. Ours was simply showing support for health and wellness while having an opportunity to run.
The winner of the relay received a Cherry Tree mug.
However, the biggest goal and accomplishment were much more personal. For some, these achievements were beating personal time records or even simply competing. At the end, each participant received a Cherry Tree medal to commemorate the accomplishment of having the commitment to wake up on a frosty Sunday morning to compete.
Whether a runner was ages 8 or 80, each person with their racing bib scanned over the finish line while enjoying the success of being a part of a larger community of runners, and was able to experience the joy of fulfilling that shared goal.
After experiencing the ups and downs of not getting to compete during the season, running in the Cherry Tree Relay was a great way of engaging with my peers and the community as we closed out the winter track season.