“Seems like forever ago that we could gather closely like this but just wanna give a special congratulations to all of the FAM for your dedication and perseverance, we have accomplished so much this year both in running and in building the community.”
– Mike Bocchinfuso
We couldn’t have said it better. Mike’s words ring true for us as we all lived through a tough year affected in many ways. As we close out the year, we want to highlight some accomplishments by QDR and teammates, making the best out of a situation we could not have predicted.
QDR Half and Queens Marathon
First off, we managed to hold two more QDR Half and Queens Marathon events in December. On the 5th we held the event at the Rockaways and on the 13th we held the Last Dance at Flushing Meadows Park. We really appreciate all the volunteers and the runners that helped make the two last events as safe and fun as possible. Expect more races as we head into 2021.
Holiday Toy Drive & Miracle on 34th Ave
This year we held two charity events. Every year we have a toy drive in December leading up to Christmas for children in shelters in Queens. Usually, we combine the toy drive with a race but this year we held no race. This year we collaborated with other Queens clubs under the Queens Running Collective group to host a larger toy drive in Queens with multiple drop-off spots. Make sure to follow Queens Running Collective to find out more about events in the future.
The second event we held was the Miracle on 34th Avenue which was a sneaker drive for Kids of Queens. If you followed us through the year, you may have noticed two high schoolers training with us in Forest and Juniper Park. They’re fast athletes but they did not have proper shoes or a watch! We love to help out but wanted to reach more Kids of Queens this past month.
Group Runs and Clean-ups
Yes, we have been holding group runs but with an enforced 10-person limit. This has allowed us to keep the runs going weekly, to break up into smaller groups if more than 10 athletes join, and to better get to know one another. Huge thanks to all the group run leaders this past year and also to the new ones who volunteered for new group runs in 2021!
Luckily, we’ve only had one snowstorm this past month. It kept us off the roads for a few days but luckily we held multiple events where selfless teammates came to shovel and clear paths for runners at tracks and at Flushing Meadow Parks. We really couldn’t have kept going without your help!
Ray of Hope
As soon as we heard of the vaccine, our hopes for a better 2021 went high. Even with a vaccine, there are still unknowns but this is just the start. We want to thank and congratulate Ji Soo Kim who is a front-line worker (pediatric nurse) who received the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-December.
Lastly, we want to applaud all the new Marathoners this year. COVID-19 threw our plans out the window. For first-time marathoners, this hurt because many of us plan to run a marathon well in advance. When we find out that we got into Berlin or NYC, for example, we plan a long-term plan for those races. So having all those plans canceled made running a marathon this year special, especially for new marathoners.
Take Ron Goldsman who started off supporting his wife Ann-Marie at races. Soon he caught the running bug himself and started off with short distance runs and races. We still remember many events this year where he slowly increased the distance of his runs as well as his pace. We’re proud of all the milestones he completed throughout the past few months alongside many of our teammates, including other first-time marathoners like Khan Sakeeb.
It’s stories like Ron’s that kept us going in 2020 and will inspire us to lace up our sneakers in 2021. Although we did as much as possible in this “new normal”, it wouldn’t have been possible without every member who comes out and helps. No matter how big or small, we appreciate everything you do for us so we can do more for you and the running community.
Thank you and hope to safely run with you all soon,
Queens Distance Runners