Members of Team Aisling are readying for the 2019 Yonkers Marathon. Photo by Michael Dorgan.
By Michael Dorgan
Team Aisling has launched its official 2019 Yonkers Marathon recruitment drive at The Gibbons Home, Maspeth.
Organizers say they are hoping to capitalize on the overwhelming success of last year’s race which saw over 300 participants don the colors of The Aisling Irish Community Center.
Speaking at the launch, chief organizer Breda Carroll said: “After the great success last year we decided we would start the official Road Runners Club and we’ve now started registration for the Yonkers Marathon on October 20th and we’re hoping to have about 500 people take part.”
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Team Aisling is made up of runners as well as walkers, emphasizing that people of all ages and fitness levels can participate in the event with options of a full or half marathon, a 5k run or a four-person relay team available.
This point was echoed by fitness trainer Seamus Kane who has been brought on board to help train members for the big day and they have already gotten off to a positive start.
“The sessions we do are about 45 minutes long and the stuff that we do are suitable and scalable for all levels,” said the Roscommon native.
“We’ve had about 23 or 24 people turn up already and that’s just from word of mouth.
“We have people in the group who want to walk the 5k and we have people who want to run in the full marathon. Levels vary but it’s all a very welcoming atmosphere and we meet every Tuesday and Thursday evenings and also do a session on Saturday mornings.”
While the race is as a key fundraising initiative for the Yonkers-based center, it will also serve as a vehicle to highlight the many services it provides and help the community connect in a fun, friendly and healthy way.
Formed in 1996 to assist Irish immigrants to settle in America, the center has since evolved and expanded to become one of the largest immigrant resource centers in the tri-state area.
“The Aisling Center provides a wide range of programs and services including social, bereavement, educational and counseling along with classes for children, like music, arts, and Zumba classes. We also have our Young at Heart group for the elderly and card games every month,” said Carroll.
“We are open to everybody. We provide help for people finding accommodation or jobs and information for people applying for passports or citizenship.
“People who have found themselves in very difficult situations, we help by providing food or clothing or many people who may have had house fires and things like that, we’ve helped get them back on their feet again, it’s amazing the amount of services really.”
It’s an exciting time for the Aisling Center having recently purchased the adjacent building to its current premises and are attempting to expand its awareness to people in the Queens area.
“That’s why we’ve had our launch here. Just because it’s based in Yonkers doesn’t mean the people in Queens can’t come up and avail of its services and everything that’s available up there,” said Carroll.
People looking to sign up for the 2019 Yonkers Marathon as part of Team Aisling are advised to either contact the Aisling Center on (914) 237-5121, message their Facebook page, or email [email protected]
Team Aisling registration is $100 which will also secure three Team Aisling training tops.
Yonkers Marathon Registration is $50 for the full marathon, $40 for half marathon, $25 for the marathon relay or $25 for 5K.