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The 2019 Queens Marathon- RRCA NY State Marathon Championship, Press Release

Welcome to The 2019 Queens Marathon

The Queens Marathon is in its fourth year, celebrating and highlighting one of the most energized and diverse counties in America. Next year’s Queens Marathon will take place on Sunday April 21st, 2019 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. While interest exists to introduce the race through our neighborhoods, we understand the sensitivities of our local Community Boards and are approaching this prospect with the short term goal of celebrating Queens at every turn at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The Queens Marathon is organized by the Queens Distance Runners, a community-oriented running club comprised of members from all over Queens, from Astoria to the Rockaways. Taking the lead to assure the success of the event is the Queens Marathon Committee, made up of folks from different Queens-centric walks of life. The committee remains singularly focused on producing an event equally representative of the running community and of Queens itself.

Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) New York State Championship Designation

The Road Runners Club of America is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations, dedicated to growing the sport of running since 1958. Out of 27 marathons in New York that took place in 2018, we are grateful to have been selected as the 2019 NY State Championship marathon race through RRCA in 2019. Recognition though RRCA will ensure the Queens Marathon participation from across the NYC area and from around the country.The race will attract a broad base of local athletes of every ability.  All runners will receive perks and amenities comparable to marquee races and unique to Queens, specifically. Professional Training and Coaching through Coach Medina NYC is available to all participants thereby allowing the Queens Marathon to be a springboard for future running success.

Reaching Out to the Running Community

The Queens Marathon is extending invitations to all local running clubs throughout Queens and the NYC area to participate in the event. Running clubs have a long history of helping individual runners achieve their fitness goals in a friendly and social atmosphere.

We’re also offering access to training from Coach Medina NYC. Coach Luciano Medina is a USATF (USA Track & Field) Level 3 / IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Level 5 Elite coach and has helped runners achieve their goals since 2014. Coach Medina NYC is offering a menu of training programs specific to the Queens Marathon that offer virtual coaching, in-person group training, and additional guidance with strength- and cross-training, nutrition, and more.

Charities and Giving

The Queens Marathon is proud to associate itself with a broad spectrum of Queens-based charities. The Queens Marathon will provide a spotlight on several official charities. Runners will have the chance to fundraise on behalf of their favorite charity. Giving back to the community is central to our mission and will help make the Queens Marathon a truly community-based event.

Local charities supported by the Queens Marathon include: The Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Achilles International Queens; Queens Centers For Progress; Queens Community House.


The Queens Marathon is also proud to associate itself with Queens-based organizations and businesses. This will ensure our place as a community event that all Queens residents can get behind, whether they’re a runner or not.

Local organizations supported by the Queens Marathon include: Queens Economic Development Corporation (Queens Tourism Council); Queens Community House, Queens Theatre, NY Mets, Queens County Savings Bank; and dozens of unique “Mom & Pop” businesses throughout the borough of which we will list in the coming weeks.

The World Is Waiting

The fourth Queens Marathon, presented by Queens Distance Runners with significant support from the local community and the running community at large, will be the best ever. We’re eager to provide The World’s Borough with the event it deserves by celebrating Queens on the world stage. Our slogan “The World Is Waiting” has a two-fold meaning. The race is an individual runner’s springboard to future marathon success and it will bring a lifetime of distance running conquests throughout the globe, from New York to Boston to Berlin and beyond. The slogan also represents the inclusivity and diversity that is Queens’ signature: the Unisphere. The Unisphere is our borough’s symbol and a representation of the Queens Marathon. We would like nothing more than to see runners from around the globe conquer 26.2 miles right here in Queens.

Queens Distance Runners

Find more information and register at and follow us on Instagram at @thequeensmarathon. Sponsorship opportunities are available through Press release also available as a PDF.

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You Never Know Until You Tri

Like Lori in the previous blog post, Elsie Alonso also completed her first triathlon this past summer. What started as wanting to learn how to swim for fun turned into signing up for a triathlon after a year of swimming. Even after multiple obstacles along the way, like taking a bad fall during the bike leg of the triathlon, Elsie was determined to finish and earned the right to be called a triathlete.

It was January 2017 when I signed up to run the Honolulu Marathon in December of the same year. I had promised my friend Meredith who lived in Honolulu that I would pace her for her first marathon and I thought of no better time to do so than right after the New York City Marathon while my legs were still used to the mileage. At the time I signed up, I had already been to Hawaii a few times and the one restriction that kept me from enjoying the islands as much as I could was my inability to swim. I lived in Honolulu for 3 months in 2016 and while I watched Meredith swim, snorkel, and dive into water, I wished I could do the same. I promised myself that I would learn how to swim before the Honolulu Marathon.

That summer in 2017 I took a swimming class for adult beginners at the YMCA in Long Island City, Queens. On my first day I was surprised to learn I was the youngest of the groupnot including the high school senior that was teaching the class. One man was in his 70s which, like running and any other sport, reminded me that it’s never too late to be involved, to challenge yourself, and to achieve a goal. At the beginning of June I was “swimming” with a kickboard and by August I was backstroking, freestyling, and moving around the pool comfortably even if that meant doggy paddling. I was so happy I went from being someone who was terrified of not being able to touch the sandy underwater floor at the beach, to being someone who could jump into a pool and not sink. I didn’t want to lose this momentum so I became a member of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Aquatic Center, where I still continue to regularly go.

Elsie (right) and her friend Emily.

While in Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon, I was definitely more comfortable in the water, but unfortunately was unable to do the ocean activities I wanted because of the rough waves during that time of the year. Bummed from those missed opportunities, I wanted to find something else to look forward to in swimming. My triathlete co-worker Emily mentioned a “sprint” triathlon to me that would be in June and I had no reason not to do it now that I knew how to swim. She talked me through everything I needed to know: the order of the triathlon (swimming, cycling, and running), what I should do during the transitions in between each sport, and she even trained with me on a few runs and a swim. 

The Hempstead Harbor Tri was in the middle of June 2018. I was nervous as the days approached because I wasn’t the strongest swimmer and I was new to swimming in open water. Despite knowing how to stay afloat and swim, I didn’t feel as confident in the ocean as I did when I was in a pool. In a pool, I knew the depth, had the floor lines guide me, and had an entire lane to myself. At the triathlon, it was a different story. But, as I waited to lunge into the ocean I felt oddly calmI wasn’t sure if it was because of Emily’s last pep talk on the beach, the fact that the way we were lined up reminded me of any NYRR race, or the fact that because I was going into unknown territory I didn’t know what to expect, thus I had nothing to fear.

This all changed once I was about 50 meters into the 500 meter swim. Like the start of any running race, people crowd at the start and the attempt to make it through becomes a challenge itself. It’s completely different doing the same in open water. I was in the middle of the pod when another swimmer pushed my head underwater as I was taking a breath and I took a huge gulp of water instead. I treaded water for a few seconds and was quickly aware of how far away I was from the beach and that I couldn’t touch or see the bottom of the bay. To stay calm I floated on my back and let everyone pass me before the next wave of swimmers started. I saw how far I was from the shore and instead of freaking out, I decided to float on my back and backstroke the rest of the way. This way, my head was above water at all times, but unfortunately had less of a sense of my direction.

I had to take a few breaks on the paddleboards of lifeguards to wipe my fogged-up goggles and check how far I had left to go. One of the lifeguards I latched onto saw how scared and upset I was and told me to take as much time as I needed. In a daze, I found myself telling her what led me to that pointhow I just began swimming, that it was my first triathlon, and how I wanted to be done already. In the middle of my rant she interrupted me and said, “Girl, you got this.” With that, I thanked her, left her, and kept backstroking. With about 100 meters to go I latched onto another paddleboard and the lifeguard told me he would take me to shore if I was struggling. Tired, I agreed. Before he began paddling I asked, “Will I be disqualified if you take me in?” He answered, “Yes, your race won’t count.” That said, I instantly let go of the board and kept backstroking all the way to the shore. The toughest part was over and I was glad to finally be on land and finish. Little did I know that the swim portion wasn’t the only challenge. 

Elsie finishing the run section of the triathlon.

In the transition area I grabbed my bike and peddled off. This portion of the tri was composed of two five-mile loops. I felt great, my legs were moving fine and I was conserving my energy for the run. I was following another cyclist for the final mile and during a turn in the last few meters she slipped and I followed her fall with my left side hitting the floor. My next memory was me sitting in an ambulance with an EMT flashing a light in my eye and noting down the identification number on my arm tattooed in Sharpie ink. He asked me my name, where I was, and my birthday. I answered his questions, but at that moment I had no idea why I was in the back of the ambulance. I used context clues (my triathlon suit, sneakers, and helmet) to realize I was in the middle of the triathlon. It was only after he began to bandage up my arm because of my bleeding elbow that I knew I fell. I looked at my Garmin to check my time and the screen was cracked. I refused to quit on land instead of in the water, which was where the real struggle should have been. I asked if I could continue and the EMT told me it wasn’t the best idea. I told him I was a marathoner and he finally obliged.

The next thing I knew, I was on the bike with tears in my eyes because my entire left side was throbbing, I didn’t know how much time I lost, and because at that point my last memory was driving to Emily’s house that morning to pick her up. After I parked my bike in my transition area, I ran to the start of the 5K course. In the middle of the run I caught up to the girl who fell in front of me. Her face triggered my memory and I started to piece events together. I saw she also had a bandage on her elbow and I asked her if she was alright. She said, “I just want this to be over.” I responded, “Same.”

I was beyond thrilled when I saw Emily, her boyfriend Ben, and Danny cheering for me on the two-loop course. I hugged Emily as soon as I crossed the finish line and we walked to the awards section. I was one of the last participants and by that time, the limited amount of medals were already distributed, but I walked away with a pint glass instead and was assured I would receive a medal in the mail, which I eventually did. Emily, who worked her butt off all year, won first place in her age group. It was a day of victories: hers, mine, and everyone who put in work that day. 

It was after the race that I realized I cracked my helmet when I fell and saw my bruised thigh and hip hidden under my triathlon suit. I took an MRI exam the following day as a precaution and was glad all was fine. 

Hempstead Harbor Tri finish photo!

Reflecting back on that race, as tough as it was for me, I consider it my greatest physical accomplishment and one of my proudest moments. What was initially a goal for me to learn how to swim turned me into a triathlete. Am I the strongest swimmer? Absolutely not, I just learned how to swim last year. Am I a strong cyclist? Absolutely not, I don’t own a road bike and had to borrow one for the race. Am I the fastest runner? Absolutely not, but I get the job done.

My determination to complete this triathlon was mostly an emotional effort and I would not have overcome my doubts if it wasn’t for my support system: Emily for putting my irrational fears in perspective (there are no sharks in Hempstead and there would be an abundance of lifeguards along the swim); Ben for waking up at the crack of dawn to lather himself in sunscreen and cheer us on as a bike course marshall; and Danny for volunteering so I can participate, driving my car afterwards because I couldn’t, and signing me up for previous races that were near-death experiences and prepared me for that day.

I don’t know how I want to surprise myself next, but I do know I want to complete another triathlon without any falls and especially as a stronger swimmer. I hope my experience inspires others to challenge themselves in ways they never imagined.

Elsie Alonso

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I Tried

Signing up for anything that you have never done before can be intimidating. Whether it’s your first race, first marathon, or first triathlon, the thought “can I do it?” always crosses the mind. But, even with all the bumps along the way, there’s no better feeling than accomplishing your goal. The following is by Lori Brown who completed her first triathlon and came in first in her age group this past summer!

For years family and friends kept telling me I should do a triathlon. After competing in a team triathlon last year and doing the swim leg, I got the bug and finally decided to sign up for a sprint triathlon this past August.

I’ve been a swimmer since I was 11 years old. I started swimming before I started running. I did both track and swimming in Highschool, so when it came time to choose which I would pursue in college I decided on swimming. I can’t pinpoint an exact reason why I chose swimming, but seeing my sister pursue it and going on college visits to meeting the coach and potential teammates, I knew it was for me.  When I graduated college, I also graduated from swimming. Mentally and physically I was done, and it was time to start running again. Knowing that I had what most would say the hardest part down; swimming, it made sense that I finally decided to give a triathlon a shot.

Since triathlon season is so short (I believe May through September) and it was a late decision to sign up for one, there weren’t many left to choose from. My sister and I wanted to do one together and finding a weekend we both had free was a challenge.  We signed up for the Sprint TOBAY Triathlon located in Oyster Bay, Long Island, that would take place at the end of August 2018. We had only signed up a few months beforehand.

Lori (right) with her sister.

The Training?

Well, I can honestly say I had no plan and not a ton of training was involved. After the Boston Marathon I knew I would need a rest from running, and I kept telling myself to sign up for the pool again (I swim at the Corona Park Aquatics Center). I needed to get back in swim shape, so I wouldn’t drown. I kept procrastinating and about a week after Boston I went for a run (more like a super light jog) and came down on my foot funny. Thinking nothing of it, while dealing with constant pain and swelling, 2 weeks later I decided to get it checked. The diagnosis, a sprained ligament in my ankle. What did this mean? Rest, ice, and physical therapy. That was my sign I needed to swim. I signed up for the pool and the indoor bike became my best friend. I did some light running and let it heal. About 4-5 weeks later the swelling was completely gone, so I started “training for the run.”

I don’t own a bike, so the stationary bike was my only option to get on one. A couple times when I was out in Hauppauge to see my parents, I used my mom’s hybrid bike to get outside and went on a few rides with my dad. That was the bike I would use for the race (not ideal). I never practiced any transitions, so on race day I hoped for the best.

There was just one more bump in the rode; a couple weeks or so before the triathlon I developed bad tendinitis in my left foot, I knew my only option was to get a cortisone shot (this wasn’t the first time). I made an appointment 3 days out and I was lucky that it was enough months since my last shot to get one. Unfortunately, it didn’t kick in as fast as it usually does, and the pain was there come race day (oh well, “I could survive a 5K” was my thinking).

A couple days before the race and after debating back and forth with myself I decided to buy a triathlon suit mainly because my sister bought one and I am super competitive (and wanted one myself). I was ready! Go big or go home right?

Race Day:

My parents, being as supportive as they are, woke up at 4:30am to drive my sister and I out to the race to cheer us on. Lucky for us the weather was perfect! We got there before sunrise and set up our transition area. I felt like a lost puppy. I had no idea what to do.  With my sister’s help I got my area set up and I was ready.

Smiling through the run section of the triathlon.


A visual of what the transition area looked like: there were a ton of bike racks in rows, with limited space between each bike. You are assigned a number to where you would mount your bike and prepare your area. In my area I had a towel to wipe off my feet, my sneakers, socks, my Garmin watch, a water bottle, my helmet, and my race number for the run, all strategically placed.

The Swim:

My sister, also a swimmer, knew we could try to stay together for the swim. We stood in the water shivering just a bit waiting for the gun to go off. The gun goes off and I immediately lose my sister, the water being so dark made it difficult to see. The other people kicking me also didn’t help. (Really it was a great time)!  Making sure the big orange buoys stayed to my left I passed a ton of people. When I got to the end and stood up out of the water, my sister was right in front of me. We were one of the first women out of the water. I ran out pulling off my cap and goggles, gave my parents a wave and transitioned to the bike. I wiped off my feet, put my sneakers, socks, watch and helmet on, dismounted my bike off the rack, and I was off.

The Bike:

I knew this section would be where I would lose ground. With the lack of a racing bike and not much practice I hopped on my bike and rode as fast as I could. The course involved some rolling hills. A few people zoomed past me. Toward the end of the bike section two girls in my age group (AG) passed me. I knew they were in my age group because each person has their gender and age marked on their arm and calf. In my head I knew I would catch them on the run. I made that a goal for myself. The bike ride came to an end, I hopped off ran with my bike back to the transition area, mounted my bike on the rail, took my helmet off, attached my bib, and transitioned to the run.

The Run:

Making the 20 minute 5K run look like a breeze.


After re-tying my sneakers and losing some time, I shot off. I saw my parents again, gave them another wave and a smile, and passed my sister immediately. The first 1.6 miles was completely uphill (pure torture). I passed the first girl in my AG who had passed me going up and the second girl when I was coming down. I now knew I was first in my AG. I took advantage of the downhill and picked up the pace. I saw the finish and started sprinting as fast as I could (knowing that there was free beer at the end). With a huge smile on my face, knowing I was about done, I saw my parents one more time, gave them yet another wave and smile and crossed the finish line, placing first in my age group.

I did it! First triathlon complete! Off to the beer! It was an amazing experience. I had so much fun and right there I knew I wanted to do more triathlons. The goal next year in 2019 is to do both a sprint and an Olympic distance triathlon (longer than a sprint; a mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride, and a 10k run), giving myself more time to train.  

My Advice:

Train for the swim section. The swim is really where you can gain or lose time. Get comfortable in the water. Swimming in a pool and swimming in open water are very different. If you have the ability to practice in open water, I would suggest that. Unfortunately, I was not able to do that.  I would also recommend practicing transitions, mine were slow and I lost a good amount of time. I watched a couple of YouTube videos on transitions which I found helpful, and I would recommend watching those as well in preparation. I would also highly recommend getting a triathlon suit, it makes your transitions faster since you can complete the swim, bike ride, and run in it. I got mine off Amazon.  My last piece of advice would be to just have fun doing it, and it is a great accomplishment!

Until next year!

Lori Brown

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The Return

It takes patience to go through an injury and be on the sidelines while you see everyone else running. It takes courage to tell yourself you’ll get through the injury and that you will come back stronger. Rachel Fox, a Queens Distance member since 2015, is one runner who came back from an injury that set her back months, but is now running and even faster than pre-injury! Read about her tragic accident, her comeback, and her current journey to the TCS NYC Marathon.


It’s the sound that everyone dreads—the sound that makes you cringe.  It’s the sound that when you hear it, you have no idea what you are in for, or if you can ever recover from it.  That “pop”. That sound that you hear when your ankle bones have broken and have become unattached to your leg. That “pop” sound that I heard when I fell on skates in a parking lot and thought, “Oh god!  What have I done? Will I ever run again?”

The thing that you have to understand is that I was on this tremendous adrenaline rush.  I felt invincible after completing the NYC Marathon for the second time, three months prior. One month earlier I had done four races in four days – running a total of 48.6 miles and completed a second marathon within a span of two months. So, naturally I thought now would be a great time to take up roller skating, since I did it as a kid.  Nothing could go wrong, right?

Sitting on the ground in the parking lot, I quickly took off my skates.  As I realize my ankle was broken, the panic started to set in, and then the pain.  I knew this was bad but I didn’t know how bad.

I have a lot to be thankful for, including the overall distance between the accident site, the hospital, and the location of where my brother and sister-in-law reside.

On  February 6th, 2018,  I was quickly taken to the hospital from the accident site. I was too scared to call 911, so a good Samaritan passing by called for me.  I wish I could thank them!

At some point I called my brother and told him I was being taken to the hospital.  I didn’t want to scare him, but I also wanted him to know his big sister seriously injured herself and just needed family around.  I don’t remember if I tried to call my parents or if I didn’t want to scare them either, so I thought I would call my brother first.  The truth is that I that was scared. The only thing I could say out loud to my brother was, “I fell”. I sent my sister-in-law a picture of my ankle.  She told me later on that she knew my ankle was broken when she saw that picture. My brother originally thought I just had a bad sprain. I wish!

I would have my surgery about 8 hours later (on February 7th).  I would return home three days later. The hospital cannot release you unless you have not had a fever for 24 hours.  I don’t remember how I passed the time until I was given the okay to go home. I shared a room with a woman that was hit by a car.  When I was released from the hospital, I knew her stay would be longer than mine. As bad as my situation was, I knew it could always be worse.

We all know that I recovered.  We all know that I made it.  But I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you.  

The first month after surgery was hell.  I was in a lot of pain. The type of surgery I received was ORIF.  This stands for Open Reduction Internal Fixation and it involves the application of implants to guide the healing process of a bone, as well as the open reduction, or setting, of the bone.  I now had to adjust to having metal in my ankle. My poor left ankle, now swollen and had metal in it, looked twice as big as my right ankle! My left ankle was now surrounded by a titanium plate fixed to my bone with seven screws and two splints.   I felt ugly. I felt disabled. I felt defeated. I cried a lot. I used a knee-scooter to get around my apartment (crutches are not a good idea for a klutz, like me). I was, for the most part, independent during my recovery. My family stopped by once a week for a little while to make sure I was okay and help me collect my mail.  My father helped me get to my post-operation appointments.

My days would consist of pain, oxycodone-acetamin (which only seemed to work for 3 out of 24 hours at a time), television, and rest, in what seemed like a never-ending cycle, until sometime in mid-March.  

It was about this time that I now had to practice bending my foot back at a 90 degree angle.  A movement that I never thought twice about, now seemed impossible!

Soon enough, I was approved to put weight on my left foot in CAM boot. CAM, which stands for Controlled Ankle Motion walking boot, is a very clunky boot that is secured with velcro straps and limits motion of your foot, but also allows partial weight bearing.  I was happy to hear I can start walking in a CAM boot, but I was also very nervous. I did not walk or put weight on my left foot for almost a month and a half! The moment that my heel (in a CAM boot) touched the floor, I felt a pins and needles sensation on the bottom of my foot.  The nerves in my foot were waking up. It was exciting but painful.

I know I mention consistently being in pain a lot, but it would subside soon enough.  Unfortunately, pain after surgery is a sign of healing. It is not pleasant, but it is unavoidable.  I just had to be patient.

My recovery started moving forward in April:

  • I would go to physical therapy 3 – 4 times a week.
  • I began indoor cycling again.  
  • By the end of April, I started walking without the boot.

First steps outside without CAM boot, April 22nd.


I started exercising again in June and by July things seemed to be getting back to normal:  

  • My first run post-surgery was about four months after my accident (on June 12th).   I ran for 10 minutes on a treadmill.
  • I started spinning classes on June 16th.
  • My first outdoor run post-surgery was on June 17th – I ran about 2 miles.
  • I started strength training sessions on July 7th.
  • My first race post-surgery was the NYRR (5 mile) Team Championships on July 28th.
  • My first long run post-surgery was on August 19th – I ran 9 miles.

First time being able to balance on the left foot again,  June 3rd.

I left out of the part where I signed up for the NYRR marathon training program on July 23rd.

At the time I registered, it seemed like a crazy idea.  I had no idea if I was going to be able to run the marathon this year.  My original goal was to run a 5 mile race before the end of the year.  As time moved forward, I saw I was able to keep up with the training program.   I knew that I would be able to run the marathon and it was not such a crazy idea after all!

Despite the pain and the struggle I went through to recover, I tried to keep a positive outlook.  Every day I imagined myself running. I kept a schedule of when my post-operation doctor appointments were, and made a note of any milestone changes that would occur – it helped a great deal to look forward to some type of change.

Key moments from November 2017 to October 2018.

In life accidents happen.  It all comes down to how you cope when you are dealt with a bad hand.  You become a stronger person for moving forward in spite of an unfortunate situation.  I wanted to get better, so I fought back.

I want to thank everyone who checked in on me during the time of my recovery, and sent a “congratulations” my way when I started running again.  I’d like to think your full support helped me get back into doing what I love, sooner than I thought. Just in case you don’t know, that would be running!

Rachel L. Fox

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QDR at the BOA Chicago Marathon 2018

What an amazing weekend we just had! From October 5th to the 7th we had Queens Distance members in seven different states running multiple races, from the 5K to the Marathon, all with inspiring stories! We will cover those races later but for now, here is a recap of the 20+ QDR members who ran the 41st edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

The Chicago Marathon weekend started on Friday, October 5th, when the expo opened to the public. We had teammates arrive early on and pick up their bib, run, and then immediately fly back. Regardless of how much time we individually spent in Chicago, the team shone bright with smiles as we welcomed each other to Chicago and later when we said our goodbyes after the marathon.

Since Saturday was the day of the International Chicago 5K race, many of our members arrived to Chicago on Friday to pick up their 5K bibs (if they weren’t mailed to their homes) and get ready for their race. That day, many of us also collectively went to the expo to pick up the marathon bib.

Group pictures at the Chicago Marathon Expo

We made the most of that day from around noon to 3pm as we came and went and managed to find each other in the expo. After exploring the expo, collecting snacks, attempting to run Eliud Kipchoge’s pace for 200m, collecting freebies, and taking pictures, we left to get ready for the next long day. Those who couldn’t make it on Friday went on Saturday right after they arrived to the windy city of Chicago.

Chicago 5k – October 6th

As the name implies, the International Chicago 5K race highlights all the different countries that come to Chicago for the weekend. It’s an amazing idea and one that is further emphasized by the participant’s home country flag on the 5K bib, if they chose to have one. The diversity in the group was shown by American, Albanian, and Mexican flags. A big congratulations to our runners who represented their country and our club: Jessica Peralta, Nicholas Rachowicz (one of our members from St. Louis!), Ivelisse Ureña, Michael Tan, Elsie Alonso, Carolina Fuentes, Jonela Molla, and Isabelle Malave!

A few of a the participants of the International Chicago 5K race

It was a hectic morning as heavy rain and thunder made commuting to the start line tough. We received notifications that the Event Alert System (EAS) color was red, signifying potentially dangerous conditions. So, we waited out the rain under shelter and about 20 minutes past the original start time, the 5K race went off. This year, the race was held exclusively on the streets in the Loop of Chicago, as opposed to the last two years when the course went into Millennium Park.

The plan for the morning was to cheer the runners at mile 1 and mile 3, the latter location looped so we managed to see them twice at the same spot. We lost our voices, especially Dyrlee, as we cheered loudly not just for our teammates but for everyone. When we saw someone ready to walk, we pushed them to keep going just for a little bit more until the finish line. From babies to the elderly, it was inspiring to see everyone in the morning finish the 5K.

We got plenty of smiles and high fives from everyone and thanks from the last runner of the race. We witnessed PRs being made, a lovely moment between Jose and Isabelle, teammates being surprised by how well they did, and we even made friends with many runners who stopped by to take pictures with us!

QDR group picture after the International Chicago 5K



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Marathon – October 7th

Morning of the race! Group meet-up between Gate 4 and 5!

Feeding off the excitement from the previous day, we met up at the entrance to Millennium Park early morning for a quick team picture before we went to our corrals to get ready to race. Even though Millennium Park is big, it was easy to get around from the entrance to the gear check area to the corrals. At 7:30AM the gun went off, the nerves went away, and the race began.

Early on during the Chicago Marathon. Photos courtesy of Li.

As previously mentioned, we had over 20 QDR members running the race! That’s the biggest number of members we’ve had at a World Marathon Major race that isn’t the TCS NYC Marathon, where we have over 100 members running! It was truly a spectacle to witness the race unfold for all our teammates. It’s a marathon and as we all know, anything can happen in a marathon. We can feel really great that day and run better than we expected, or we can have a crummy day and fade out. Regardless, every runner who expected to finish, finished, and each has a story to tell. But, if you ask any of them, and we encourage you to ask, it was a race they won’t forget.

Close to the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. Photos courtesy of Li.

The QDR Athletes

Queens Distance had runners of all paces and all with different goals. Whether it was to qualify for Boston, get a sub-3, sub-4, to pace, or just to finish after recently being injured, we’re very proud of every one.

A small selection of finisher photos

There are more photos on our Facebook and Instagram accounts so make sure to check them out, as well as individual runner’s accounts.

Congrats to all our runners for the Chicago Marathon: the twins Lorenzo de la Cruz and Nicolas de la Cruz, Dyrlee Sanmiguel, Rosie Rosario, Victor Fajardo, Shahidah Hamlett, Julie Tran, Martha Panora, Dignangely Jimenez, Tony Wang, Michael Tan, Evelyn Wong, Albert Tan, Jose Donado, and Rene Cuahuizo. We had friends of QDR join us like James Liu and Sean Forrestel. We’d also like to congratulate Bevin Bullock and Harry Cheung who both ran their sub-4 hour goal, Nick Deuz who PR-ed by over an hour and 15 minutes, Frank Poline who ran a Boston Marathon qualifying time and a PR by 33 minutes, and Eric Morris and Daniel Rivera who both ran under 3 hours. Daniel was also the fastest of the day coming in at 2:49:11! Big thanks to Peter Ciaccia and Michael Capiraso who recognized the gold singlets at the finish line and greeted us.


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Meet Danny Rivera @danny.ocean. Yesterday, at 7:30AM, Danny went out for a 🏃🏻through the City of Chicago that came to it’s conclusion at 10:19AM. (2:49:11) 🏅 Danny, a Native of Jackson Heights, Queens, works as a Nurse and had to fit 80+ Mile Weeks into his schedule. On his own time, Danny would venture out to Team Practices in support of teammates. If you check our “Race Recaps and Stories”, you’ll usually spot Danny close to the edge of the course, raising his voice for teammates and the Running Community. 🦄 At 9PM, it was another Day at the Office as Danny clocked in for his shift with the run of his life under his belt. A Blue Collar, hard working and fully spirited Queens Distance Runner if we have ever had one! #queensdistance #hischicagomarathon #bostonqualifier #sub3hourmarathon #runners #itsinqueens #chicago #madeinqueens #humansofny #training #marathoner

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Maria Wong, Edwin Guzman, and Kevin Montalvo, the three co-founders, worked together for the majority of the marathon until Kevin felt pain in his foot and dropped out. Not to worry! Kevin was otherwise feeling well throughout the race and expected that to happen at some point. Even though Maria’s goal wasn’t met, as she pointed out, “I just wanted to thank everyone who tracked, cheered, or reached out to me. I got so many messages in the days leading up to today. A special shoutout to my husband Kevin and my brother from another mother Edwin; they both selflessly led me, partially and fully, to my first Chicago Marathon finish. I did have some tummy troubles and had to grit through to the end. I am not disappointed or sad. I actually am at peace with it because I had all of your wonderful thoughts and words with me. Thanks again.”

The three QDR Co-founders

QDR Scream Station

The two Scream Station leaders for the morning!

The morning of the Chicago Marathon was a special one, but one that would not have been what it was without the QDR Scream Station. The day before we organized where and when our teammates would meet up so that they could have good spectating sights, but also cheer for us. This year, we had three QDR scream stations led by Jess and Jona. The first two were early on in the Marathon at miles 3 and 12 and the third scream station was at mile 25, right before the end. With the cheer squad at those locations, our runners got the most out of the cheers, and the cheer squad was also able to easily maneuver between them in the city. Even though we had those sites in mind, some members decided to go to their spectating location of choice, which worked out so well as we were able to hear cheers all throughout the race!

Separate Scream Station locations but familiar faces

Many of them went with us early morning to drop us off, some carried our bags, and best of all, they all brought a great attitude. We truly and deeply appreciate all the time they used to be out there for us. A big thank you to Jona, Jess, Li (Harry’s girlfriend who will soon be part of our team), Nicholas, David Dominguez (who unfortunately had to defer this year’s Chicago Marathon), Ivelisse, Isabelle, Elsie, Rachel Morris (Eric’s wife), and Martha’s cousin Johnny and niece Diana, all of whom helped us cross the finish line.

Next Year

Martha being helped by her niece at mile 25

You can bet we will be out here next year after weeks of training to show our best on the streets of Chicago. For now, we will take this incredible momentum we have into our very own TCS NYC Marathon and into other fall marathons. See you out on the road and remember to always spread the love when running.


Queens Distance