McCarren Park Holds First Track Meet

By Meredith Hoffman on March 6, 2012 3:34pm | Updated on March 6, 2012 3:37pm

WILLIAMSBURG — It may not be warm enough yet to sunbathe on the field, but up to 150 runners will be filling McCarren Park this Saturday with a local running group's first annual track meet.

Starting at 10 a.m., athletes can compete in the array of races, from co-ed relays to men's and women's one-mile runs, at the track on Driggs Avenue between Lorimer and Union streets. The North Brooklyn Runners, a free club that has runs twice or three times daily in the neighborhood, is hosting the event along with the non-profit Open Space Alliance.

"We wanted to create an awareness about the track and how it can be used," said Katie Winther, race director of the McCarren Park Track Classic. Winther, 29, said the event is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and is the inaugural race of what's expected to be an annual park tradition.

For $10, runners can register for up to 3 of the 14 races on the site

Events include the men's and women's 3200 meter, 400 meter, and 800 meter, and relays of 200  and 400 meters for each team member. Local vendors including Urban Rustic and Brooklyn Brewery are sponsoring the event.

Winther, who said many members of the 3-year-old running club will be racing Saturday, first encountered the active community two years ago at a Greenpoint YMCA yoga class. She said the group has become a chance for her to foster friendships and to connect with neighbors, since most members live in the blocks around McCarren Park.

"I realized there was this community of runners," said Winther, who had been running alone since her time on her high school track team ended. The support system helped motivate her to train for this year's New York City marathon, and gave her a new group to share in neighborhood movie nights.

The $10 fee will go toward the cost of hosting the event, and the schedule of races can be found on the North Brooklyn Runners Club website.