Coogan’s Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5km Run
New York City, United States of America
“I was in New York for a week’s holiday and took the opportunity to take part in a local event while I was there. After searching the internet the only run on in the city during the period was the Coogan’s Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5km race. Looked interesting and the photos from previous year’s events looked promising. Paid my $25 and was sent an email confirmation – I was in.
The race is in the Washington Heights suburb of Manhattan (top-left near Harlem). The race seems to be a qualifier for the New York Marathon in that if you are a member of NYRR and complete 9 local races and volunteer for another, you are guaranteed entry. The race itself is popular (seemed all locals to me) with a wide variety of abilities and ages (from very young children & parents, to pensioners, club athletes and everything in between) – very well organised, welcoming and friendly. There were also separate children’s races following the main run with different age groups (starting at two!) with all participants getting medals from police or fire officers.
Runners had to collect their number from a number of locations in the city over the preceding three days. The race was chip-timed, which was collected along with your souvenir T-Shirt at the collection points. There was also a tear-off tag for leaving baggage during the race.
I nearly missed the start due to a combination of leaving the hotel late and underestimating the distance to the start. Got there 10 minutes late, but caught the very, very, end of the starters; I was probably among the last over the line. As it was chipped, it didn’t matter but it involved weaving among the walkers and some seriously overweight participants – good on them for making the effort – managed to get among the runners by the halfway point.
It’s a difficult course but a fun one being mostly uphill for the first mile, downhill to the turnaround and then back over the (surprisingly steep) hills to the finish. They even managed to put a couple of water points along the way. The run is on closed streets out to Fort Tyron Park and back. There are a lot of bands along the way; pipers, salsa bands, high school bands, steel drum bands, Columbia University band and cheerleaders (starts at their campus) and a few combos of guitar, sax, accordion etc! Lots of spectators as well made for a fun event – all on a mile and a half route!
I finished in 25.07 (8.06/mile), 892 out of 3262 finishers (1778 male/1484 female).
An excellent event, good fun and very well organised. If you are on holiday, it pays to look and see what’s on during your visit. Some photos below:-”