[Editor’s Note: Post originally appeared on SILive.com, where I was a breaking news intern from January to August 2016.]
On a chilly but beautiful day, about 25 Staten Island families participated in the New York Road Runners club Open Run at Conference House Park in Tottenville.
The kick-off of Open Run — a community-based initiative that brings free weekly runs and walks to local families in parks throughout the five boroughs — was postponed last week due to harsh weather.
Organizers said the goal of the run was also to highlight family, community and environment.
“It’s more about this being available to the community,” said Paul Leak, of Manhattan, lead organizer of the Open Run.
Conference House Park director John Kilcullen praised the event for giving people an opportunity to explore the park.
“It just gets people out running and to the parks that they’re already going to,” he said, adding, “There’s a real camaraderie with running.”
The free weekly program is available throughout the five boroughs, including at Conference House Park and Silver Lake Park on Staten Island, according to the NYRR website.
The program is a collaboration between Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, Michael Schnall, Vice President, Community Engagement Initiatives for New York Road Runners (NYRR), Patricia Rollins, Senior Field Development Coordinator for Autism Speaks, and Adena Long, Assistant Commissioner for Public Programs at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.
This was the first one that specially welcomed youth on the autism spectrum.
“Running and running events are a great way to bring people together, no matter what the cause,” Cusick said.