That’s the Jingle Bell Jog! On December 3, the Young Runners from I.S. 187 in Dyker Heights and their coaches were invited to Borough Hall in advance of New York Road Runners’ Jingle Bell Jog, a four mile race in Prospect Park, and the half-mile long Reindeer Run, which were held on Saturday, December 7, and which were expected to raise $200,000 for students in the five boroughs.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was happy to congratulate the 35 middle school children in attendance on their exercise routines.
“What it means for the kids is to value physical exercise their whole lives, which means they’ve committed themselves,” said Markowitz. “They inspire their classmates to also think about being fit and encourage them to take action and that will also mean the food they consume for a healthier future for them. “
With all the distractions children currently face, Markowitz was impressed with the children’s ability to stay focused on being physically active. “Today with the computers and the handhelds, it takes kids away from being kids and from exercising,” he noted. “So what Road Runners is doing is a good thing.”
One of the coaches from I.S. 187, Mike Sylvester, was proud to see his students so eager to spend a few moments out of the classroom to take in a tour at Borough Hall. “They’re so excited,” he explained. “They’ve been working real hard. They’ve been always coming to practice and have run 45 miles this season. They’re happy because they get to see what all their hard work comes to. They set a goal for themselves. That’s what we’re trying to instill in them. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve it.”
All the students received pins that Markowitz handed out for their hard work. Two exceptional runners, eighth grader Hannah Sobel and seventh grader Justin Kan, were awarded Runners of Month and took photos with Markowitz.
NYRR Spokesperson Laura Paulus was also impressed with the students’ dedication at such a young age. “They are all so committed to the run,” she said. “It’s very important to them. We’d like them to run for life. If they start early, they’ll be lifelong runners.” New York Road Runners was founded in 1958. Last year, over 100,000 New York City students participated in the NYRR’s youth fitness programs.
As for the school, they awarded the Markowitz with antlers which the children wore for the race, a windbreaker, as well as hand written signs wishing farewell to the borough president, whose tenure ends in January.
“When I was your age, we were never encouraged to do physical exercise. In fact, my mom and grandmother always said, Marty, eat, eat, eat! And believe me, I took them up on it,” he joked. “Beauty comes in every shape. The objective is to stay fit, and if you exercise like all of you are doing, this is going to increase your life.”
He concluded his speech by expressing his gratitude to serving the people of Brooklyn and hinted on future plans. “I’m thrilled that I had a chance to serve you and your parents all these years,” Markowitz said. “Whatever comes next, I hope that I can make a contribution.”