Five… four… three… two… one…
While celebrations amassed throughout Long Island at midnight on Dec. 31, officially marking the beginning of 2013, a couple hundred residents welcomed the new year in a very different way — a 5k dash.
The First Annual 5k New Year’s Eve Dash at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow commenced exactly as the clock struck midnight, and 246 runners braved the cold night to take part in the 3.1 mile sprint.
The race was organized by Nassau County, in conjunction with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, an organization that provides services to individuals, families and children though intervention, education and professional guidance to overcome alcohol and other drug-related problems. “The New Year’s Eve Dash was a great community event whose proceeds benefitted individuals, families, and children in need of assistance in overcoming addictions to alcohol and drugs,” said County Executive Ed Mangano in a statement.
Dr. Jeff Reynolds, the executive director of the LICADD, said the race provided the opportunity for people to celebrate New Year’s in a safe and healthy environment. “It gave us the opportunity to say to some of our folks, ‘look, if you’re looking to do something that’s safe, healthy, sober and doesn’t involve drugs and alcohol and focus on health — then this is the thing to do,’” he said.
Reynolds, who ran the race himself and clocked in at just over 25 minutes, said that his organization had kicked around the idea of organizing a 5k race in recent years. LICADD has a longstanding relationship with the county, he added, and the two sides recently agreed that a 5k New Year’s Eve race would be a fun idea. “This seemed like an opportunity to do something that’s directly in line with our mission, but also has a novel spin to it,” said Reynolds.
New Year’s Eve 5k races are not uncommon in New York, and arguably the most popular one occurs annually at Cen’tral Park in Manhattan, which garners thousands of residents each year.