Famed New York Club “Runs” New YMCA Program

New York Road Runners may be the most famous running club in the world.

They sponsor the mammoth New York City Marathon — and dozens of other races, nearly every weekend throughout the year.

Their 77,000 members include 42 from Westport. CEO Rob Simmelkjaer is a Westporter; so is director of safety and medical logistics Nicole Donovan.

Rob Simmelkjaer (Photo/Benjamin Norris for New York Times)

But since its founding in 1958, NYRR has never done anything in Connecticut.

Next month, that changes.

The club has partnered with the Westport Weston Family YMCA to offer group training.

The program — begun in New York in 2016 — offers coaching, camaraderie and inspiration to runners of all levels.

The Tuesday and Thursday sessions begin September 12, and run through November 2. (NOTE: Though all ability levels are welcome, this is not for slackers. The hour-long program begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Y or near Longshore.)

One group is for runners at a 7:15 mile or faster past; the other is slower.

Each workout begins with a warm-up, and covers running technique, and workouts like intervals or tempo runs. They end with strength and flexibility.

Roberto Mandje

Roberto Mandje — a 2004 1,500-meter Olympic runner and a 7-year Road Runner training veteran — will lead the sessions.

Fleet Feet owner Dave Wright, Fleet Feet coach Jenny Day, and Ironman competitor Sarah Caputo assists Mandje.

Simmelkjaer is excited about the partnership. He’s been a Y member since he moved to Westport 10 years ago. (He sometimes runs the half-mile there, from his home.)

“I see a lot of Westport folks at the finish line of our Road Runner races,” he says. “I know people here run with us after work in New York too.

“There’s a strong running culture in Westport, thanks to Fleet Feet and people like Laddie Lawrence.

“We see people running all over town. But a lot of them run by themselves. Running with others makes a big difference. You tend to be more motivated and accountable.

“It’s very exciting for me to bring New York Road Runners here to Westport.”

(For registration and more information about the New York Road Runners group training at the Westport Y, click here.)

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2 responses to “Famed New York Club “Runs” New YMCA Program

  1. Is there still a Labor Day Road Race???

  2. Nice article, but you would be remiss not to mention that NYRR’s extraordinary Director of Pro Athletes Dorian Kail is also a Westporter!
    Also–the NYRR Newport 5K in Jersey City debuted in 2019!

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