Is there a ParkRun in New York City?

by Jim Richardson | Last Updated: May 4, 2020

As a frequent participant in the weekly 5k at home, I was keen to find out where in New York I could do ParkRun when I recently visited. Perhaps I could do ParkRun in Central Park?

Image: Jim running to a PB in his Pink Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

It turns out that there is not currently a ParkRun in New York City, but there are similar runs that offer a very similar experience to ParkRun.

New York’s ParkRun equivalent

New York Road Runners is the club responsible for the New York Marathon and countless other mass participant running events.

The club puts the money raised by these popular races to good use in grass roots projects to encourage the people of New York to run.

Open Runs are New Yorks equivalent of ParkRun. These take place in twenty locations across New York City every week and like ParkRun they’re free to participate in and offer free timing.

Open Runs take place across New York City

As with ParkRun you need to be registered to participate in a NYRR Open Run. You can do this on their website here.

Anyone can register, so if you’re a tourist visiting the city from another country, you’re able to sign up.

For my trip to New York I opted for the Open Run at Brooklyn Bridge Park on a Thursday evening. I got a cab to the start line from my hotel near Time Square and had a jog around the course to keep warm (this was February, so quite chilly).

Running NYRR Open Run

It was a cold but still winters night in Brooklyn, and around fifty people had turned up for the run.

The run felt very much like a New York equivalent to ParkRun, with most runners knowing each other. I was welcomed warmly as a tourist joining the locals.

Having registered online with NYRR a few weeks before I travelled (You can do this on their website here.) I simply gave the organisers my name and left my coat with them at the start.

A few minutes later and the run started.

Course map for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Open Run

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a recently completed development on the water opposite the financial district of New York. This man made development is a fast and flat out and back course.

The Open Run course weaved around the old docks and I set off at pace.

I’d been running well through the winter and I was determined to make the most of the opportunity not only to run a flat 5k, but also on a wind free night.

I got to the furthest point on the course and was directed around a turning point by a marshal. I raced back knowing I was running well and passing the other runners on the way.

I weaved around the waterfront and back to the start line with a time of 16:46 a 5k personal best and the fastest on the night by a few minutes.

I stayed at the finishing line and clapped every other runner across the line. It was an amazing experience and the view was incredible.

Happy with my PB and with some new friends made I jogged back across the Brooklyn Bridge onto Manhattan and then up the island to Time Square and my hotel (about 6 miles).

If you’re a regular ParkRunner and looking for a free 5k race in New York, I’d recommend you look at the NYRR Open Run and join them at one of their twenty weekly runs.

You can find more information about the runs here.


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