The intersections may have been blocked off, but the roads of New Haven were full nonetheless as over 4,000 people — including some Yalies — ran the New Haven Road Race Monday morning.
The race, which includes a 5K (3.1 miles) and half-mile course as well as the USA Championship for 20K (12.4 miles), is for charity, with all surplus funds being donated to organizations that help the disadvantaged in the New Haven area. Although full final results were not available at press time, Ryan Shay of East Jordan, Mich. won the USA 20K championship with a time of 59:53.
Andrew Towne ’05, who is on the lightweight crew team and finished 14th of 1,885 runners in the 5K, said he was surprised he had done so well.
“Running is really just something I do in the offseason,” Towne said. “It’s how I do my training for crew. Our coach is a runner and it’s been the dream of many an oarsmen to beat our coach in a road race. I trained all summer trying to do an 18 minute 5K.”
Although Towne was quick to point out that many Yale or high school runners could have easily bested his 17:20 time, he did beat his coach — lightweight crew head coach Andy Card finished 18th, eight seconds behind Towne.
Towne said he was especially pleased that he was able to crosstrain so effectively.
“The real sport for me is rowing, and to be able to go fast in a sport that’s not my own is kind of cool,” Towne said.
Runners were there for different reasons — not the least of which was the 20K national championship. But Evan Crawford ’06 said he ran the race to test himself.
“It was three times farther than I’d run since high school, so I wanted to just go out and see how I could do,” Crawford said.
Crawford finished 406th with a time of 23:28. He said he was pleased with what had been done to make the race safe and fun.
“I really enjoyed the course,” Crawford said. “The city makes a great effort to create a very hospitable atmosphere for the runners.”
Craig Aaker, a manager at Trailblazer, a local business specializing in outdoor and running products and a sponsor of the road race, said he and many of his colleagues had participated in the event as runners or organizers.
“We were out on the race course,” Aaker said. “We were the ones synchronizing the times and giving racers splits. With the exception of a couple people, everyone who works at Trailblazer in New Haven was running, participating in, or volunteering at the road race today.”
Trailblazer’s new location on the New Haven Green at the corner of Chapel and College streets made it a logical place to stop by after race activities wound down, Aaker said. The store has been a sponsor of the race since 1999.
“We’re both institutions in New Haven that have gone through a lot of growth and development in our time,” Aaker said. “The road race is a kind of anchor event in New Haven and we as a local store have an opportunity to step up and help out and promote an event that is so important for New Haven. We’re looking forward to being a part of it in the future.”