We love street running because you can always tweak the course. There’s no track. No certification. Always the chance to mix it up.
So this Friday, Take The Bridge takes the Williamsburg for the fourth time in three seasons. It’s our 2017 Summer Series finale. We’ll settle bragging rights and hand out team series prizes. And we’ll greet a ton of familiar faces, who have been with us all summer, as athletes, race crew, photographers and sponsors.
More to the point, we’ll debut a sick new route — 2.6 miles, starting at the bottom of the hill at Kent and South 5th.
Let’s get to know a little more about our men’s race. Women’s preview to come.
And is this your first TTB? Well read on, cuz we have a little advice!
THE COURSE + SCHEDULE
This year, we’ve had a lot of fun breaking just a little from our traditional out-and-back format.
Boston was two loops. Triboro was point to point.
Williamsburg is mostly out and back, with that extra half-mile, from Kent and South 5th to our finish line on the bridge. It’s mostly uphill - don’t hate us. And that climb back from the turnaround is gonna hurt!
Men lead off this time, racing at 8 sharp. Women follow at 8:30PM. There’s great spots to cheer all along the course - on South 5th from Kent to Bedford, and at many spots along the bridge pedestrian path. And we’ll be broadcasting on IG Live at @takethebridge. See our complete fan guide at takethebridge.us/williamsburg
We’ve had the treat of watching Greg Laraia of Custom Performance and Bellmore Striders’ Sean Mahon trade wins this summer. Sean dominated a stacked field over the Manhattan, taking the prime and never letting up. A downpour made this race chaotic — visibility on the bridge was terrible, puddles were treacherous and the metal bits were just slippery. And Sean kept his cool. As Greg said:
Sean has a mean kick with some crazy leg speed so I knew once we started going back down the bridge towards the finish he had me
Triboro was a different beast — calm as can be, a clear night in a peaceful setting. Sean and Greg ran together most of the way, across the soccer field, cross-country style, in a pack including prime winner Cory Helder of the Whippets, who would take third. Although Greg pulled away on the bridge descent, he never really thought he had it (well until he saw that confetti). .
One of these guys should end his summer with bragging rights.
Should, anyway. But who else is in the mix?
WE HAVE OUR EYES ON
A welcome newcomer to the local running scene (and to NYC). He didn’t just win the Claim Your Bridge | WB Strava segment challenge. Rather, he struck up a friendly rivalry with second-place Logan Yu via Strava, that resulted in an exciting duel the last night of the challenge. As they put it, they’d run faster that way. And that’s what happened. Nearly #Breaking6 is no joke - that’s 4:47 pace folks, dodging whatever the bridge threw his way. And we knew he was fit - he went 4:30 at Brooklyn Mile, to win the open men’s division.
Broderick has range. Since last fall, he’s won the International Surf City marathon in Southern Cal in 2:34, won an NYRR 15K cross-country race and broken 1:10 at a small half in the Rockaways.
He’s also won the OSR Men’s 10K — he straddles the unsanctioned and mainstream running worlds about as well as anybody in the city (looking at you, Jerry Faulkner). We love Broderick’s laid-back attitude in his first TTB. He says he was driven to sign up in order to ‘bust out of his comfort zone’, and he’s skipping an elaborate strategy in favor of showing up and sizing the race up on the spot. We’re not arguing with success.
CUSTOM PERFORMANCE TEAM SERIES PRIZE | TEAM HIGHLIGHT | FRONT RUNNERS NYC
This afterparty, we hand out a total of $1,500 to the top men’s and women’s teams of the series, a prize generously sponsored by Custom Performance. Each winning team gets $400, second place $250, third place $100.
We sat down with Steve Waldon of Front Runners New York; his team enters our finale with a narrow lead over Custom Performance and Dashing Whippets.
Steve scored for FRNY at Manhattan and Triboro, and has done an amazing job rallying his teammates to chase that prize. Teammate Colin Ogilvie was 6th at Manhattan. Martin Sommerschuh took 5th at Triboro (and is also a contender for top 5 Friday!).
We’ve also enjoyed getting to know FRNY a ton this summer — at our races and afterparties. The club organizes multisport workouts — runs, swims, bike rides — 6 days a week for athletes of all abilities. As Steve puts, they’re “all over the place (in a good way) and can cater to everyone.” So we’ll be sure to check out their workouts once we catch out breath from this summer!
TTB: WHATS YOUR STRATEGY FOR TTB WILLIAMSBURG?
SW: I don't know if I have any better strategy than to just go out hard and hold the f*ck on. I'm a long distance guy so I'm never going to be able to sit and kick — my best result will be to push from the start, even though I know it's painful going up the pedestrian side of the W'burg bridge from BK.
TTB: WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THIS COURSE?
SW: I think the toughest thing about the course may be right after the turnaround after reaching Manhattan. There's not a giant downhill to the finish, so that final uphill is where the race will be won (or lost!). I just have to accept that it will be painful and think about beers when it's all over.
TTB: THE FRONT RUNNERS ARE THE LEADING TEAM IN THE SERIES STANDINGS. TELL US HOW YOU GOT HERE, AND HOW YOU ARE FEELING ABOUT YOUR CHANCE?
SW: The team title for me is pretty big. We're not the fastest team out there, but we can be pretty gritty and get the right people at the right time. Sometimes I feel like FRNY is a big underdog in a city full of seriously fast runners, so having a chance to stay competitive is a point of pride for me. Custom Performance and the DWRT can still take the title but we're going to do our best to close this out!
TTB: HOW ABOUT THE AFTERPARTY?
SW: TTB has been a fantastic way to socialize (and compete!) with the other teams because we've all got the same mindset. I might not know anyone's names but I can strike up a conversation with someone right before or after the race because I think we all love the format so much that we just want to talk about it to anyone willing to listen. There's no better way to do this than over beers, and the post-race celebrations have been the tops!
YOUR FIRST TTB?
We leave you with a little advice from our veterans
"For any newcomer to TTB, the best advice I would give is to have fun! Let the crowd and the environment take you. The excitement from the cheer squads will pump you up like never before so soak it in and make it count. The races are relatively short so 100%, 100% of the time."
Greg Laraia | Custom Performance
"Feed off the energy! Everyone is crazy excited, so just go with it! But remember that the course isn't closed. Be courteous to pedestrians and bikers because they own this city just as much as we do."
Steve Waldon | Front Runners NYC