Woodhaven woke up to the sound of running feet on Forest Parkway early Sunday morning as the first-ever running of a road race through the heart of the neighborhood took place.
The course for the Queens Distance Runners’ third-annual race through Forest Park veered out of the park for the first time this year, down Forest Parkway to Jamaica Avenue and back.
The race was a dry run for the group’s long-range plan to stage the Queens Marathon, the highlight of its calendar of races, in the streets of the borough rather than just within the confines of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Police closed off the streets around Forest Parkway for three hours. Some residents along the boulevard who missed the posted warning signs woke up to find their cars had been towed to nearby spots away from the course.
The revitalized Woodhaven Business Improvement District organized 17 businesses on Jamaica Avenue to co-sponsor the March 8 event.
About 260 runners signed up for the race said QDR President Kevin Montalvo, but the turnout was less than hoped for.
Montalvo said between 30 and 40 percent of the registered runner, were no-shows, presumably due to the coronavirus scare.
Forest Park, one runner said, was a particularly difficult challenge.
“One guy told me he never knew there were so many hills in Queens,” said one police officer assigned to security for the race.
The winners of the 10 Miler were Jaime Juliawith (men’s winner in 56 minutes 9 seconds) and Nina Manso (women’s winner in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 3 seconds, The winners of the 5 miler were Weiheng Sun (men’s winner in 30 minutes 45 seconds) and Paulina Albarracin of Woodhaven (women’s winner in 35 minutes 21 seconds).