by Sydney Valerio
On February 15th, 2022, Race The Bronx, a running initiative was launched. One year later, this race company whose mission is to bring races to the streets and parks of the most thorough borough, is ready to open registration for its second annual Soundview 5K.
Created by a couple of Bronx kids, Sol Rivera and Alex Felicier both avid Bronx local runners and marathoners, Race The Bronx, focuses on the sport of running while highlighting the beauty of the Bronx from the point of view of a runner. Alex’s running journey began in high school and continued through college where he reached a personal best of 4:25 in the mile. Sol’s running journey started as a teenage athlete and then continued through her long distance races including the Chicago and NYC marathons and local running crew meet ups.
Sol and Alex first met at a Pace Runs Bronx event in 2021. Alex said to Sol: “I run through the Bronx every day and I’m like there’s all these beautiful parks that no one ever gets to see-let’s try to have races there”. They continued to converse before and after the race, like most local Bronx runners do, and discovered their common love for the sport of running and their dreams to create more racing opportunities in the borough they both loved: the Bronx. A couple of conversations later, Alex was already outlining the ways to incorporate their running initiative.
“We want our community to experience what it’s like to race and what it’s like to run and to be with other runners regardless of their pace” Sol stated in Episode 30 of the Let’s Get Uncomfortable podcast. Let’s Get Uncomfortable is a podcast hosted by Inés Bebea, Jaime Chien and Nathan Schiller which centers on “conversations that probe how running can be used as a conduit for change”.
The first year’s calendar included three successful race events: Soundview 5K, Bronx Kill Mile hosted at Randall’s Island, and Youth in Movement race event hosted in Van Cortlandt Park. Up next in its second year, Race The Bronx will host: Soundview 5K, Bronx Kill Mile, Orchard Beach Mile, Crotona Park 3K, and a youth summer series of events.
When asked about the impact of running, Sol defined its impact in terms of “the community that you build.” This running community in the Bronx is so incredible that people create bonds and friendships that surpass the boundaries of the sport.
Why was it important to start Race The Bronx: to showcase how beautiful it is to be from the Bronx and to show our community that we are here for them. There is so much more to our borough than the claim that it is the unhealthiest county.
We need to shine light on the lack of access to resources, lack of healthy food, and the need to create activities such as community based running events. We are here for that conversation, taking action, and bringing all running crews from The Bronx and beyond to be a part of this Race The Bronx community.
We are racing for our youth’s future, for the present day runners of our communities, and for The Bronx, this place we call home. The race is on and it’s taking place in The Bronx!
Sydney Valerio is a storyteller and writer for Race The Bronx. She is a local Bronx crew runner and marathoner. She believes in the healing power of beets and community.
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