NYRR Youth Jamboree Presented by Tata Consultancy Services

Over 2,500 kids age 3 to 18 from all over NYC, along with dozens of seniors, filled the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory for the NYRR Youth Jamboree Presented by Tata Consultancy Services on Saturday, October 24, 2015. Team for Kids fundraising dollars help make events like this possible. Thank you Team for Kids runners!

Visit our Facebook album linked here to share photos with your donors and let them know the impact their funds are having on our youth!

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Member Spotlight: Sara Weisel

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
About three hours away from where I live there is a beautiful and secluded trail called Horse Shoe Bend. The trail winds through the forest and along a river that is fed by snow melt. The trail is my favorite place to run because the air is cold and crisp, the trees are always green and there is a sense of peace in the wilderness. An exciting bonus is seeing some wildlife (my husband saw an elk)!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Any and all dance music!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Chocolate almond milk and watermelon is my favorite post run meal. After a race, I always indulge in my favorite candy: Extreme Sour Patch Kids!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My mom ran her first marathon when I was about two years old and when I moved home in between college and graduate school she asked if I would train with her for her second marathon. I had never run more than 5 miles at that point, but decided to go for it anyway. We trained together all summer and finished the 2010 Portland Marathon together. That was the real start of my love of running.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Just get in bed about two hours before I want to fall asleep. My mind is usually going pretty fast and it takes some time to visualize my race and calm my mind.

Why did you choose to run this event?
I picked the TCS New York City Marathon because I could accomplish two things: give to a good cause and achieve my life time dream. I know training and the NYC Marathon itself will be challenging, but most importantly, when the running gets hard I can think of the kids who will benefit from the funds I have raised. Running for Team for Kids makes the experience that much more fulfilling.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I see life as one big adventure. I love to travel, learn new activities and spend time with my loved ones. I make sure to balance being active and on the go with naps, reading and red wine. And at the end of the day, I make sure to focus on one thing I am thankful for and one thing I am excited for in the future. It helps me keep grounded.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I am excited and honored to make a difference in the lives of kids through running. I volunteer as a running buddy at a local elementary school and I have seen the impact of programs like Team for Kids. But specifically, as a TFK runner I get to raise attention and funds for youth programs that will truly make a difference in the lives of kids. There is always a point where running gets hard. But I find it motivating that I’m not just running for myself. I’m running for my supporters, my donors and the 200,000 kids who will benefit from Team for Kids programs. Also, I live outside of Seattle, WA and this will be my first trip to the Big Apple. I can’t think of a better way to tour the 5 boroughs than with my running shoes and 50,000 other people!

Connect with Sara via the link below:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sara.weisel

Member Spotlight: Kathryn Gazso

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running on the Bronx River Path — it’s meandering and quiet and shady! Since I started training with TFK for the marathon, I’ve loved getting back into the city to run. Central Park is exciting – it’s the complete opposite of my home path – and so it provides a different level of motivation and fun.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I only run with music when I run by myself. Otherwise, Amy and I spend most of our run talking. Our husbands tell us that if we’d just “shut up” we’d finish a lot quicker.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
The first thing I do after a run is have a glass of chocolate milk. I love the stuff, but I am probably the worst person to ask since I don’t eat any one thing after a run. A few times I’ve gone out to the local bagel shop to grab a sandwich- they make the best healthy chicken salad — it’s filled with chicken, Craisins, and apples. It’s awesome on a multi-grain flagel.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I ran on and off after college, though once I had my children, taking care of myself wasn’t the top priority. When my father-in-law got sick in February 2012, it was a tough time for our family. I needed time to think, so I downloaded the Couch 2 5K app on my phone. Another mom in town (Amy Fraley, another TFKer) found out I was running and asked to join me. We ran a 5K together. Then she started encouraging us to run farther. We ran the More Half Marathon together in April 2013 (which was my first, her second) and a few others after that. I was hooked on running, and I had a new friend!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Before long runs or races, I lay everything out the night before. I even have a post-it note on the kitchen door reminding me of everything I need to bring with me so I don’t forget anything. I’ve also been eating the same thing every Friday night (or night before the long run) since July (chicken, broccoli, and pasta). I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before every long run; I’ll probably have one with me on 11/1.

Why did you choose to run this event?
When I first started teaching 18 years ago, my students interviewed me for the school newspaper. Their question to me: What is one goal you have in life? I quickly responded, “To run the NYC marathon.” I had watched marathons before – throughout college (in Boston) & living on the Upper East Side (after college). I was always inspired by the runners, and I just wanted to follow in their footsteps someday.

Amy & I tried to enter through the lottery this year, deciding now was the time. We didn’t get lottery entry, but decided this was what we really wanted to do. We thought a lot about which charity — because I work with kids, I loved TFKs mission. I work at a school where students are fortunate to have plenty of opportunities to be involved in athletics, and I see the positive impact it has on them. I was happy that achieving my goal would help so many students.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I grew up just outside the city in Yonkers, and I live there now with my husband, 2 children (Owen and Ava), and dog. I’ve been a high school English teacher for 18 years (the last 14 in an all-girls school), and I honestly LOVE what I do. Working with kids is a gift, so I was excited to have the opportunity to do something like this FOR KIDS. I do love to do service work — I’ve traveled to Mississippi and the Dominican Republic to build homes and work in schools, and I’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity in Yonkers too. It’s important for me to teach my own children the importance of serving others and giving back to the community.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
What excites me most? The whole thing, honestly. I cannot wait to start that climb up the Verrazano – I get chills just thinking about it — or beginning that descent from the Bronx onto Fifth Avenue. I love that I’m running alongside my friend (we’ve promised to cross the finish line together). And as someone who has always been committed to service work, I’m excited that I can engage in a project that serves kids. And running with TFK was the best decision I could have made — it is the most amazing, supportive group of runners out there. We’ve really been each others cheerleaders for 5 months now.

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies Recipe

Coach Gail’s 16-mile marker oatmeal/cherry cookies!


  • 1/2 Cup(s) (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup(s) light brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 1-1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon(s) salt (optional)
  • 3 Cup(s) Quaker®Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 Cup(s) dried cherries or cranberries or raisins – I used cherries
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dark or semi sweet chocolate bits

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add other ingredients and  mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets or on parchment paper. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

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Recipe by Team for Kids staff member Gail Kislevitz

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

Member Spotlight: Pierino “Pev” Gattei

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running through my home town of Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, England. I can feel my improvements in my running by the way I feel when I get to different parts of the town, especially as the area is quite hilly.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I currently run with Muse in my ears, especially their new album – I’m turning myself into a running super drone!! I am still building the soundtrack to my marathon – I know I will find the last stretch tough and so I will choose songs that will motivate me to keep those legs pumping.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Following a run, I enjoy tuna with vegetable rice.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running on a daily basis 20 years ago when I was playing local football (soccer), and then lost touch as I let my life and work get in the way.

I decided late last year that I was going to get back in touch with my lost passions following some changes in my life. I seek to be more charitable and fitter, and running with TFK in the NYC Marathon is a perfect combination.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I wear the same pair of blue shorts I wore when I ran regularly when I was younger – I intend to retire them following the marathon.

As I start running, I imagine I’m running the last 200 yards of the marathon and allow the great feelings to rush through me in my run.

Why did you choose to run this event?
In no order of importance, I wanted to truly test myself and prove that I am capable of running a marathon. I have also never been to New York. I want my charitable activities to be on a global scale and not just local to me in the UK. I wanted to signal how serious I was to those people I know that I am committed to raising monies and becoming a better man. I am working on a number of projects about self-improvement and my journey is one I will be sharing in the hope of inspiring others to take up running, being charitable and maybe having the courage to run the NYC marathon in the future.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I grew up in the small town. My parents are a mixture of Italian, English and Welsh. I gained a deep love of reading, science and football from my family.

At school, I excelled at mathematics and physics, and was fortunate to read mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge where I gained two masters degrees.

On leaving university I spent a year in Italy, before training as a Chartered Accountant in London in 1995. This has been my profession ever since. I have worked in many industries and I currently manage world-class financial operations for a world-wide service management business.

That is the formal CV out of the way. I actually consider myself the following…

I am the father to three amazing children, who teach me so much about life and myself. I want to be the best father I can be for them and this is a large part of my continuing personal development.

I am a passionate writer, currently finishing my first children’s novel, which will be available later this year. This is the first in a series of six. I am also working on a few other writing projects, including a science fiction thriller trilogy, and ad hoc projects to support my blog (www.sophrosynergy.com) and my mission.

I am currently in the process of launching a charity to help people who suffer from hunger, poverty and deprivation.

I volunteer my coaching services to help men deal with relationship breakdowns. I am a qualified Strength Deployment Inventory practitioner, providing workshops for businesses and teams who seek to increase their productivity through a better understanding of relationships and conflict.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I am excited by the prospect of helping TFK continue to achieve their mission in a place I have never visited over a distance I have never run. I am excited by the challenge I face to help those who may face daily challenges as part of their lives.

Connect with Pev via the sites below:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pev.gattei
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophrosynergy
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pierinogattei

Carrot Lentil Soup Recipe

Nutrient dense with your carbohydrates, protein, greens and veggies.  Did you know garlic and onions provide medicinal properties?   Boost your immune system as these long runs compromise your immune system for 48 hours after.

We suggest doubling the recipe!  Freeze extra portions or share with your family and teammates.

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I throw in fresh tomatoes, in season)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup dried lentils or 1 15oz can.
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 cups of greens (spinach, kale, chard, collards)

1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste or fresh tomatoes, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add broth. 2 cups water, lentils (if you use canned beans add them after 20 minutes as they are pre-cooked), greens and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, puree half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky. (this step can be skipped)
5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Recipe by Team for Kids Coach Jennifer Hessmer

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

Site Spotlight: Eric Hsu – Young Runners

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In which program is your site enrolled?
Young Runners – PS 163Q – Flushing, NY

What was your motivation to start an NYRR Youth program at your site and how has it been implemented?
I had a great experience with my elementary school track team and I wanted my son to have a similar experience. His school did not have a team so I started the NYRR Young Runners program at his school. It is such an honor to be able to positively influence our youth.

Can you share how your students have responded to the program and some of their favorite components?
To give you an idea of how popular the program is, there are more students in the school who want to be part of Young Runners than we could accept. Those who are on the team like the pod championships, which take place yearlong amongst the 6 smaller teams that they are divided into. For practices, we go to Kissena Park and usually run either a 100 meter dash, 400 meter lap, 1 mile challenge, or distance run. The students enjoy going to the park, but they also have a blast playing games in the gym.

Can you share a story of how your kids, or one student in particular, have been transformed or impacted by your program?
A year ago, there was a fourth grade girl who ran in the middle of the pack. With practice and determination, she distinguished herself as the fastest fifth grader this year. She even received a medal for Top Ten Finisher for the 5th and 6th grade division for her performance at the 2015 Young Runners Championship 5k race.

Can you share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
When I asked a student what her goal for the season was, the student said, “I run because other students say I am fat.” She used that as motivation, and she gave her best effort every time. She didn’t let the harsh words of other students get her down, and she is not only a beautiful runner, but a determined individual in the classroom and with her fitness.

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance of the work you are carrying out?
It allows kids to get exercise in a team setting to motivate each other and make it fun. Exercise is important for health and academics, but the program also promotes good teamwork and effort for running and other things in life.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I ran since I was in elementary school. My elementary school had a great gym teacher who held track practice on the weekends. I went to run on my high school team. When I was in the US Navy, I ran races that the base had. After the military, I continued running in NYRR races. That is when I found out about the opportunity to start the Young Runners program at my son’s school. Since starting the program, the students have provided me with motivation each and every day, and they all inspired me to complete the 2014 TCS New York City marathon.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is in Kissena Park. I live right next to this park, and the scenery is beautiful with many trails throughout. There are also many people who use this park for running and other exercise activities which provides motivation for me.

Were you ever a TFK member, if so what did you like best about the program?
Yes. I was a TFK member for the 2015 Queens 10K. I liked the fact that I am helping raise funds for a NYRR youth program that I am directly involved with as a coach. I know this fundraiser money is all well spent because I see the programs firsthand. I also love to wear the TFK singlet and run amongst other TFK members and hear all the cheering I get for being a TFK member.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I love to run, and I love sharing this love with others, especially the kids whom I am so lucky to coach. I give my time to Young Runners, but I get so much in return.