Site Spotlight – Maureen Carson – Young Runners

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Learn more about our NYRR Youth Programs! Over the next few months we will be sharing profiles on teachers from across the country who work first-hand with the NYRR Youth Programs that Team for Kids’ fundraising efforts support. These select individuals are not just dedicated coaches and coordinators, but also runners who will be joining our 2015 TCS New York City Marathon class and 50,000 other runners this November. Read their stories on our blog under the Site Spotlight category for insight on the NYRR Youth Programs and to hear inspirational quotes from students and parents.

In which program is your site enrolled?
Young Runners

What is the name of your site? Where are you located?
PS 691 Bronx Little School – Bronx, NY

What was your motivation to start an NYRR Youth program at your site and how has it been implemented?
I am a life-long runner and my two children, boys, are now collegiate runners. I wanted to bring the passion that I have for running to the elementary school where I teach. I coached a Young Runners program previously in a middle school where I first started my teaching career as a career changer.

Can you share how your students have responded to the program and some of their favorite components?
We have 40 students who regularly attend our practices. They have a nice camaraderie and are supportive of each other. They love traveling to races and testing themselves in competition. They also like running in relay teams. We try to incorporate not only running in our practices, but strength building exercises and character development, and I think they’re beginning to see the value of all components.

Can you share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
I’m in the process of making a video of our team for one of NYRR’s incentives, and I really like what one girl said when asked about why she runs: “I run because I will have a healthier life so when I’m older, I’ll be in shape and I’ll be healthy.” To me, that means that the seed has been firmly planted and she’ll develop a lifelong commitment to running. She also values the health benefits of running.

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance of the work you are carrying out?
I think the biggest benefit of the program is that it gives these children from disadvantaged backgrounds exposure to something that they otherwise would not have exposure to. I also think it’s important to teach them while they’re young about the benefits of exercise, health, and perseverance.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running when I joined the track team in high school in the 70s after briefly trying field hockey, which I didn’t like very much. My father also started running around this time during the 70s running boom. We often ran together, and I ran the NYC marathon with him in 1982 (with very little training, no more than 12 miles). It was one of the best times of my life. Unfortunately he passed away in 1992.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run right now is the Rockefeller Estate Preserve in Tarrytown, NY. It’s all off-road trails and extremely beautiful. It’s one of the best places to run in the NYC area.

Were you ever a TFK member, if so what did you like best about the program?
Yes, I ran the NYC marathon as a member of TFK in 2008, the year I started a Young Runners program in the middle school where I previously taught. I like the training support, and I attended some of their training runs in Central Park. At that time, I hadn’t run a marathon in more than 20 years.

Why did you choose to run the TCS New York City Marathon and what number marathon is this for you?
The NYC marathon will always be special to me because it was the first marathon that I ever ran and I ran it with my dad. It’s also the most exciting, exhilarating experience to finish it. I think this will be number 8 for me.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m 54 years old. I’m a special education teacher at Bronx Little School. I have been teaching for 10 years. I’m married and have two boys who are in college at SUNY Geneseo. They are also competitive runners. I did not run competitively in college, but I never stopped running. My husband does not run. My boys and I are members of NYRR and Westchester Track Club. I’m not too competitive right now, but like to race occasionally for fun. I also play the violin, or fiddle, because I like to play Irish music with friends for fun. I try to play in Irish music sessions as much as possible in Westchester and NYC. I also just started taking up Irish dancing again for fun after 40 years, having done it as a kid. It’s great exercise!

Member Spotlight: Alissa Catalano

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I will be running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half on May 16th with Team for Kids.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running in Central Park. There’s just so much to see as you make your way up those rolling hills. My favorite part about running in Central Park is discovering a new section I’ve never been to before.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Justin Timberlake, hands down!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Pizza is my all-time favorite (after long runs)!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running started early 2014 when I decided I wanted to become more fit. I signed-up for my first half marathon, NYRR’s Virtual Training Program and I hit the ground running (pun intended)!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I usually throw my headphones on and blast Empire State of Mind. That song always pumps me up!

Why did you choose to run this event?
I’ve been told that the Brooklyn Half is a great race to run. Plus, you finish the race on the famous Coney Island boardwalk. How cool is that!?

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m a New Yorker– born and raised
I’m 23
I work in marketing
Spring weather is my favorite running weather
When I’m not running, I like to binge watch Netflix
Kara Goucher is one of my many inspirations

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I’m really excited to run for Team for Kids because I love what TFK is all about. Getting kids up and active is very important in today’s society so I’m excited to be a part of the movement!

Connect with Alissa on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Volunteer at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half

As an alternate to coming to TFK cheer zone, volunteer during the Airbnb Brooklyn Half! Volunteer registration closes tomorrow Thursday, April 30 and we need your support on race day, Saturday, May 16! All volunteers will receive a +1, a t-shirt and guaranteed entry to the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half. Register today at https://mynyrr.nyrr.org and tag your friends and family in this post who may be interested in volunteering!

Garlic Scape Pesto

Eat Your Garlic! It’s a powerful antioxident.

Have you ever told someone you’re coming down with a cold and they say, “Eat some garlic”? Garlic contains powerful antioxidants that protect our cells and can help strengthen the immune system. And while fresh, raw garlic will do the trick, a recent study has revealed that “sprouted” garlic- you know, that old bulb you forgot about that now has green shoots emerging from the cloves- may have even higher antioxidant activity. These new green plant parts actually contain new compounds that may help fight pathogens with more punch.

For a few weeks in the spring, you will start seeing some long, curly, green things at the farmers market.  They’re garlic scapes, the “flower stalks” that grow from the tops of hard garlic plants and are wonderfully delicious to use in your cooking. Young, tender scapes can be chopped and added raw to salads, while the more mature scapes are best sautéed to be added to pasta or omelets. Another popular way to use scapes is to make a pesto sauce with them. There are no rules to pesto making, and we encourage you to experiment with different combinations of herbs, nuts, and cheeses to create your own signature sauce.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

  • 10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted walnuts or cashews
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Pulse garlic scapes, nuts, and cheese in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Slowly add oil and continue to blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Perfect to serve over fresh pasta, on whole grain toast, or with eggs.

Pesto will keep in the fridge for about two weeks, or frozen for one to two months.

Credit Lauren Antonucci of Nutrition Energy. Lauren Antonucci MS RDN CSSD CDE CDN http://www.nutritionenergy.com


Do you have a recipe and photos you would like to share with Team for Kids runners? If so, email them to teamforkids@nyrr.org for a chance to be featured!

Site Spotlight – Colleen Maresca – Young Runners

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In which program is your site enrolled?
Young Runners

What is the name of your site? Where are you located?
PS 59 – The Beekman Hill International School – New York, NY

What was your motivation to start an NYRR Youth program at your site and how has it been implemented?
As a child, athletics shaped me into the person I am today. I was involved in sports throughout my whole school career including college then became a distance runner when I graduated. Those opportunities kept me focused and motivated me on and off the “field.” I wanted to be able to give the students in my school the same opportunities that were presented to me as a child. Since we didn’t have any team sports, I started a running club about 6 years ago. I then found out about the programs NYRR had to offer and couldn’t wait to recruit teachers who were also passionate about running and willing to assist in the implementation of the Young Runner’s program. Therefore, we started the program 3 years ago and had an overwhelming response from the school community. With more than 50 kids trying out each year we manage to take between 25-30 kids who will truly embrace and take ownership of what the Young Runner’s program is all about. We practice twice a week, running on either our rooftop or in the halls and stairwells and compete in 3-6 races a year. The kids, families and school community are excited and passionate about our team, the PS59 Striders. They inspire others to be healthy and to work hard (both in physical activity and in the classroom) despite any challenges they may face along the way. I am proud to be able to coach these kids and be part of this amazing program.

Can you share how your students have responded to the program and some of their favorite components?
Our kids are spunky and excited every day at practice regardless of what we ask them to do. We have now incorporated a mini-meditation at the end of every practice so that kids can reflect of their day and prepare their minds for what is to come. Beyond that their favorite component of the program is racing, from Central Park to Washington Heights and anywhere in between. They’ve learned that they can accomplish anything if the work hard and persist.

Can you share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
“The best part is that I’m not a runner and now I’ve been inspired by my own child to run. And it’s something we can share together.” – Parent

“Thank you again to the coaches for taking their time during the week and on the weekends for teaching our kids how to run and other things.” – Parent

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance of the work you are carrying out?
I believe the biggest benefits of my program are that the kids are learning life-long lessons that they will carry with them throughout their lives. They are learning that they don’t have to be the fastest or smartest but as long as they work hard they can accomplish the goals they set for themselves. I feel that this is preparing them to be contributing members of our society and positive role models for other kids and for adults!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running began after finishing my college career as a Division 1 lacrosse player. I had been used to structured practices and coaches telling me what to do. I knew that I now needed to start setting goals for myself. So I signed up for my first 1/2 marathon and I never looked back. I just ran the NYC 1/2 Marathon in March which was my 10th half and have run 2 full marathons among many other shorter distance races. I will be taking on the streets of NYC once again this November in the 2015 NYC marathon! Running has become my therapy; it gives me peace of mind and a strong sense of self.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
In Windham, NY. I spend a lot of winter weekends skiing and running in the Catskills. I love to go out early in the morning and run to the ski mountain before anyone is out and awake to start my day, then change and strap on my ski boots and hit the slopes!

Were you ever a TFK member, if so what did you like best about the program?
I have been a TFK member twice so far, for the 2013 Chicago Marathon and for the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half. The structure of the training program keeps me focused and motivated and the coaches are so supportive and positive!

Why did you choose to run the TCS New York City Marathon and what number marathon is this for you?
As I was watching the 2014 Marathon from the streets of my neighborhood (Greenpoint) with my best friend, who is also a runner, I became emotional and inspired to run a full marathon again. To be in your own city surrounded by people that are there just for you is so inspiring! This will be my 3rd marathon!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am an elementary school counselor at PS59 in midtown Manhattan. I have been working here for over 8 years now and continue to learn and grow as an educator and person. I also love to ski, spend time boating, and relaxing at the beach with family and friends. I also love to entertain and am looking forward for some warmer weather so I can throw my first party of the season!

Member Spotlight: Kathryn McLamb

Kathryn McLamb 1

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I am running in the Airbnb Brooklyn Half with Team for Kids!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running anywhere in nature! Whether it’s running alongside the ocean or through trails in the mountains, there is something so soothing about running in the quietness of nature.

However, living in NYC, my favorite place to run is Prospect Park. It’s the natural scene I crave, and since it’s minutes from my apartment, I love starting my day with a run in the park!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I love listening to anything that is upbeat! However, what gets me through the tough hills is anything Michael Jackson! “Thriller” and “Beat It” are two of my favorites!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
I have this smoothie recipe I make every time I finish a long run. It has kale, bananas, carrots, pineapple, and chia seeds in it, so it’s the perfect combination of refreshing and filling! If I don’t have time to make that, I will always toast a piece of bread, and smother it with peanut butter and bananas!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running cross-country in high school to stay in shape for soccer during the off-season. It was then that I fell in love! There was something so relaxing about running long distances. Now, it helps me so much to clear my mind during the weeks. Whatever might be going on, a good run always chases away any stress.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Right before the race starts, I always say a little prayer asking for strength and guidance to make it through the next couple of hours!

Why did you choose to run this event?
My husband and I are running in this race together. We ran in the Philly Half Marathon two years ago and have been looking for another half to sign up for. We love running in cities we’ve lived or visited, because to us, it’s a fun way to reminisce! Since we’ve been living in Brooklyn over the last two years, we both thought it would be so fun to run throughout the neighborhood we’ve fallen in love with.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am 25 years old and originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. I moved to NYC after I graduated from college and have loved the city living ever since. When I’m not working, you can find me exploring the city as much as possible. I crave for adventure and love to travel! I am also in love with the idea of run-cations which basically consists of finding races all over the world and making a vacation out of them!!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Growing up, my parents were strong believers of exercise. Whether it was playing with us outside, going hiking or swimming, or even just taking a bike ride down the street, they always encouraged me and my sisters to be active, and consistently explained the benefits of healthy living. I am so appreciative for that, because it was because of them that I live such an active lifestyle now.

I am so thrilled to be running with Team for Kids because this amazing organization embodies so much of what I believe as an individual. I was very fortunate to have parents who taught me the importance of exercise, and the enjoyment that can come from it. However, I know not everyone is taught this importance. That is why Team for Kids is such a remarkable organization. All of the thousands of kids TFK serves is so inspiring, and I am excited to be a part of this incredible cause!

Connect with Kathryn on her Blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest

Member Spotlight: Cyndie Teng

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The Airbnb Brooklyn Half!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running across the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge – you get spectacular views of downtown! I also enjoy running down the FDR because it’s peaceful and tends to not be as crowded as the West-side Highway. Central Park is great too because of the energy!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
EDM is great for running (Zedd spotify radio all the way!) Listening to alternative rock music also helps to push me through – Muse, Killers, Kings of Leon, old school Taking Back Sunday, Imagine Dragons, Jimmy Eat World, Animals and Sugar by Maroon 5!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
An everything bagel with veggie cream cheese hits the spot. Alcohol is obviously awesome too.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I began running cross country and track in high school. Despite the often physically and mentally challenging practices, running taught me the importance of discipline to work hard and dedication to not give up. That runner’s high, the thrill and excitement of the last sprint, has stayed with me ever since.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I tend to eat A TON of random food the night before a race (gotta carb up!), but nothing specific the day of.

Why did you choose to run this event?
I’ve always heard amazing things about this race and to be able to finish in Coney Island and jump in to the ocean immediately after sounds like so much fun!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m definitely a nomad – I absolutely love traveling. It’s tough for me to stay in one city for too long and I think it’s important, at least from an educational standpoint, to explore and live outside of your comfort zone. I’m also a die-hard Indiana Hoosiers and Atlanta Braves fan and enjoy playing poker.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Being able to be a part of and run for such a meaningful charity like TFK is motivating, exciting, and inspiring!