Big Turnout for Mother’s Day 5K at Forest Park Despite Rain

By Britney Trachtenberg britt@queensledger.com

Despite the rain on the morning of Sun., May 12, Run Hustle Run hosted their 4th Annual Queens in Queens Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk at Forest Park Carousel Amusement Village. Forty people attended the event, which is their biggest total yet. This is also the first year that Run Hustle Run hosted the event at this park.

Run Hustle Run is one of the only running groups based in southeast Queens. Wil Pierce of Richmond Hill, Charlie Mercado from Richmond Hill, and Jason Nazryk from Briarwood founded the group in 2016 after they coincidentally signed up for the following year’s New York City marathon. Pierce said, “We figured we should train together and through that, we were like ‘let’s open it up and invite other people to run with us and see who comes.’ It was a cold Feb. Tues. night when we started and it was kind of beyond our wildest dreams that people showed up and we’ve been growing ever since.”

“We were founded just to offer health and wellness to the southeast Queens neighborhood,” said Erin Clarke, captain.

In previous years, the running crew gathered at Alley Pond Park and Cunningham Park for this event. The running group chose to meet at Forest Park because it is closer to where they typically run. “We heard from the people in our group that they wanted something a little closer to home so we thought it would be a little bit nicer to have it here,” said Clarke.

Attendees gathered under tents near the Forest Park Bandshell Parking Lot. Clarke checked each person’s registration and gave them a number. The adjacent table had Dunkin’ coffee, munchkins, BJ’s wholesale kosher cookies, Wellesley Farms water bottles, and Wellesley Farms black-and-white cookies. 

Thanya Valdobinos of Flushing started running in June 2023 and heard about the 5K event through Instagram. She said, “I got the Brooklyn half coming up so I figured it’s a great experience.” When asked what inspired her to start running, she said, “To be honest, to keep myself healthy, but also for my mental health. It really does wonders, like, the endorphins after a run, and it brings the community together.”

The event participants gathered for a group photo at the starting line. Credit: Britney Trachtenberg

At 9:00 a.m., Pierce thanked everyone for coming out despite the rain. He said, “The flowers need water and we’re all flowers.” Mercado added, “We appreciate the women out here and the ladies and the mothers who are doing what they do.”

Clarke led the participants in a series of stretches. She encouraged mothers and daughters to lean on each other for balance during the first exercise. They raised each leg and rotated it in both directions for five seconds each. Then, they brought each leg back and held it above the ankle for ten seconds. Next, the attendees walked for ten seconds to work out their calves. They squatted ten times to stretch their glutes and did toe touches and high knees for ten more seconds. Clarke said, “Now that we’re a little warm and we’ve stretched out, it’s time to get this run on!”

The participants split into two groups: people who ran and people who walked. Jenny Reyna from Ozone Park led the walking group. Since 2019, Reyna has participated in runs with Run Hustle Run.

The course started at the Forest Park Bandshell Parking Lot. Attendees went past the PFC Lawrence Strack Memorial Pond and turned onto Woodhaven Blvd. Then, the participants made a right on Forest Park and moved past the Ed Salvinksi Promenade and the George Suffett Bandshell Park. During the course, the walking group stopped to take a selfie on the trail. The path looped around to the Forest Park Bandshell Parking Lot for the finish.

The walking group stopped to take a selfie on the trail. Credit: Britney Trachtenberg

People who completed the 5K received a pink medal that read “Queens in Queens.” 

Attendees wore their Run Hustle Run t-shirts and medals for a group photo. Credit: Britney Trachtenberg

Cynthia Rodriguez from Jamaica attended the event with her family. Though she volunteered with Run Hustle Run, she ran part of the course with her relatives. Amy Rodriguez heard about the running crew while en route to Cynthia’s house. Amy said, “I saw a bunch of people running so I stopped by and asked them what that was about so that’s how I heard about Hustle. They told me to come to the barber shop on Tuesdays.”

Run Hustle Run meets every Tues. at 7:00 p.m. in front of the Hustle Barbershop in Richmond Hill. The running crew gathers every Sat. at 9:00 a.m. near Sweet Leaf in Long Island City and every Sun. at 8:00 a.m. at the Hustle Barbershop. Clarke said, “Our runs are open to walkers [and] runners of all fitness levels.”

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