Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Team SAR. (Credit: Jen Fenster)

Jen and Elie Fenster. (Credit: Jen Fenster)

Team CSAIR. (Credit: Shoshi Talesnick)

On Sunday, May 19, the Riverdale

Y held its 11th annual Riverdale Run. This year’s event was dedicated to the neighborhood’s senior citizens. Runners had three race options. The 10K course went through the hills of Riverdale and down Palisade Ave. to Marble Hill and back. The 5K went about halfway there and looped back. New this year was a 1K to allow seniors to participate. All races started and ended on Arlington Avenue in front of the Y.

Nigel Ryan, director of marketing and communications at the Y, explained, “The Y had different running events, I think as far back as 25 years, but this is the 11th year running for this particular event and along this course. The event has grown from a few dozen runners to about 600 this year. Our biggest event saw about 1000 runners.” According to Ryan, the original purpose of the race was to raise funds for the Y and to engage people serious about running and fitness. “Every year, we raise funds for a different cause at the Y,” described Ryan. “Last year, it was for scholarships, so that families in need can access summer camp, afterschool and nursery school. This year the funds go toward our Senior Center. The Riverdale Y Senior Center has about 1000 members. They access lots of learning programs, fitness classes, social activities and hot lunch every day. There are no dues for the center.”

Riverdale resident Jennifer Fenster and her 11-year-old son, Elie, have participated in this event many times. Fenster stated, “It’s a wonderful community event which brings so many different parts of the Riverdale community together for a good cause and it promotes exercise and good health at the same time. Elie and I are running with Team SAR. I am a regular power walker and Elie trains by being an active 11-year-old kid!” The Fensters did not have a personal goal to reach, “rather, our goal was to enjoy each other’s company, to enjoy the community unity and spirit, and to enjoy exercising in the beautiful outdoors.”

Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky, captain of Team CSAIR noted, “I’ve been running in the Riverdale Y race for quite a number of years. It is a lot of fun and a great way to do something together with other members of your community. I ran the 10K for a few years and then upped my game and ran the half marathon a few times, which wasn’t offered this year so I went back to the 10K. For the half marathon, I did lots of training, but for the 10K I have just tried to run or exercise a few times a week. The course is very challenging with a number of big hills, but it’s worth the effort.”

The Werlins were also members of Team CSAIR. Eight-year-old Avigayil and her 5-year-old twin sisters, Sarah and Miriam, ran with their parents. Avigayil explained, “We ran because we like the Y.” Sarah added, “Because it’s exercise and because it’s very, very fun,” while Miriam noted that it raises money for the Y.

Shoshi Talesnick also joined the CSAIR team, in support of the Riverdale Y. “I started running a number of years ago to challenge myself. So when the Riverdale Run comes around, I am more motivated to run and train. My goal at these runs is to train and finish. It is more about the exercise than the time. That being said, I did have an idea of the time I wanted. And I did achieve it.” 

Talesnick added, “It is such a great community event. So many people come out to participate and cheer on the runners.”

“There is great benefit in bringing community members together for any reason,” summarized Ryan. “This event celebrates family, healthy habits and personal triumph. It’s unlikely that you would come to this event and go home not feeling fulfilled and joyous. It’s a great thing to share with your family.”

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