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April to November 2020

Although this is our first post since the beginning of April, a lot has been going on. What hasn’t changed is the pandemic we are all in, so please, wash your hands, stay home or socially distance if you cannot stay home, and wear a mask. Follow the recommendations from the state of NYNYC, the CDC, and the WHO.

Instead of highlighting every event, group run, or race like we usually do, this post will only highlight main events and information. The content is mostly coming from the latest QDR newsletter, so if you are not already subscribed, send us a message that you want to be added to the list! As always, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest information.

Being Grateful

This past November, we had so much to be grateful for. This year is one we will never forget and one that changed many of our plans, but we were able to adapt. Unfortunately, the past few months were painful to many. We have done the best we can to help one another and be there for them.

At the very beginning of the pandemic and the city shut down, we saw businesses close down and friends losing jobs or being furloughed, and an increase in financial worry. That is why we came together to create the QDR Emergency Fund to help out QDR teammates with financial problems. Since then, we’ve been giving a hand to teammates who were, and are, in need of help.

Black Lives Matter

 Later in the Summer, we came together in unison with those protesting systematic racism in the country. Racism takes shape in different forms. What good is a running club if we cannot feel safe and respected, equally?

We came together to support protests across New York City, including organizing a couple of our own with the newly formed Queens Running Collective. The Black Lives Matter movement affects us all. We have teammates that have been persecuted simply by being who they are, and we do not stand for that. We will continue to keep showing up for this. 

Park Cleanup

During the summer, a number of us recognized the neglect that our parks received. It was so overwhelming that one of our teammates – Cathy – started plogging on her own. Through her initiative, we decided to open up the cleanups to all of our teammates. What started as an individual act became a group activity; every other Saturday, we were able to organize cleanups of a few of our parks, including Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Forest Park, and Queensbridge Park.

We did not expect the turnout to expand each time or the support from our teammates, their families, and local running clubs. If you’ve been to one of these, you know how much trash was being left behind and how much the Parks employees needed help, due to their diminished budget and manpower. During many of these cleanups, regular park-goers would thank us. It really did feel good to keep our parks clean for all of us, for our community. Although times are tough, this was something that let us be together while still observing the social distancing guidelines.

Training Runs, Destination Runs, and Track Sessions

For a lot of us, when everything shut down in March, we all felt a palpable loss – of motivation, social connections, finances, and more. Because of all the hardship we saw and experienced, we decided to keep spirits high by hosting regular training runs in our parks and track sessions – with social distancing in place and adhering to COVID guidelines.

We even got to host some destination runs (Connecticut, anyone?). Although we limit RSVPs to ten people for every group run, we had dedicated teammates come out and motivate themselves and each other to do their best. We had several teammates PR on all distances, ranging from 1-mile to 16-mile runs. We met new teammates that have gone on to become close friends. Highlighted by “The Kids”, our track sessions have proven to us all that we can still hold each other accountable and even hit new physical peaks despite losing the racing calendar.

Community Group Runs

In August, we wanted to uplift and inspire our communities. The best way for us to do that was to host weekly group runs. Kevin’s Jackson Heights Community Runs started to bring attention to the community fridge in the area and evolved into inspiring kids to run up to 3 miles! This is how we will keep our communities moving (with guidelines in place). These Community Group Runs are about keeping it LOCAL.

Our Woodhaven Group Runs was led by Paulina, a lifetime Woodhaven resident. She was everything that makes a Queens Distance Runner. Hopeful, unafraid, kind and willing to accept the good in others. The final run she led was a goodbye of sorts, but more of a “see you again soon.” The group run leadership has since been passed to Arlenys, who is another longtime Woodhaven resident. Our Flushing group runs, led by Linda, has still been going strong, as well as our Friday Kessel Run (Forest Hills), led by The Bocc. Although some policies have changed, our leaders and runners have all been phenomenal in keeping one another safe and having fun along the way. This is not something to be taken for granted. Thank you to everyone for keeping our communities strong!

Queens Marathon and QDR Half

Our flagship race has been stripped to bare bones, but it is back. In normal circumstances, we’d have one big event and then rest for a week. But we’re not in normal circumstances so we have to split up our one big show into seven smaller shows. As we host more smaller events, we get better at marking and running the game plan each time. Many athletes have been waiting patiently to take part in a rare 2020 Half Marathon or Marathon and we are delighted to put on races with new race guidelines in place. This goes without saying, this is a crazy running team! 🙂 

As we always say, without our teammates and volunteers we cannot have a well-run race, pun intended. Seriously, our volunteers have been amazing! They have been helping us mark the course, directing runners, and unclogging the multiple puddles around Meadow Lake. We now have a small crew of dedicated individuals that sweep and pump out the lakes around Meadow Lake. Shout-out to David Corona, David Law, Patrick, and Marvin Canita, Nancy Silva, Vikram Singh, and Aaron Lehman. Every race that we’ve held so far, the runners rave about the positivity from our volunteers and the amazing course. Thank you!

Consider volunteering for any race in 2020. Understandably, if you cannot make it but still want to help out, we are accepting donations for expenses to stretch one event into seven. Donations are tax-deductible as QDR is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Thank you! 

We have gotten many messages in the past few months, both wonderful and sad. Throughout it all, we are grateful to be in a position where we can continue moving forward with one another. We can all continue to dream big thanks to the generosity of one another. We are so grateful for your support as we reach for our next steps. Every gesture, each measure of kindness has built up to where we are today as an organization, and as a running family that hails from “The World’s Borough”.

Keep an eye out on our on Strava for more group runs and training sessions. Do not RSVP if you cannot make it! Make sure to also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and news!

Queens Distance