Course-Record Holder and Rio 2016 Olympian Desiree Linden to Lead 5,000 Runners at NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park to Ring in 2017

NYRR Press Release
December 19, 2016

New York — Course-record holder and two-time U.S. Olympian Desiree Linden, along with defending event champions Daniel Winn and Sarah Pagano, will lead 5,000 runners in their first steps of 2017 at the four-mile NYRR MidnightRun in Central Park on Saturday, December 31. Fireworks will light up the sky at the stroke of midnight, with all runners invited to join the pre and post-race festivals and write their New Year’s resolutions on free #ResolveToRun back bibs

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“We are thrilled to have the Midnight Run course-record holder and two-time U.S. Olympian Desiree Linden, along with a strong professional athlete field, help close 2016 and kick off 2017 in Central Park,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “This is one of the best New Year’s Eve events in New York City, offering Manhattan’s only fireworks show that night and a festive experience for runners of all ages.”

The pre and post-race festivals will be held at the Central Park Bandshell just south of the 72nd Street Transverse, featuring music and dancing, and will be open to runners and one guest from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The 18-minute fireworks show at the stroke of midnight will be the only traditional fireworks show on New Year’s Eve in Manhattan. All runners will be invited to share their New Year’s resolutions both on their bibs and NYRR’s resolution wall.

“For nearly four decades, the NYRR Midnight Run has had such a strong tradition of celebrating the devoted runners who support and participate in NYRR’s events all year long,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “The NYRR Midnight Run provides all runners with a fantastic opportunity to start 2017 off on the right foot, and to go after their New Year’s resolutions during the first minutes of the New Year.”

This will be the 38th edition of NYRR Midnight Run, an event found by NYRR Board of Directors Chairman George Hirsch and inspired by Sao Paulo’s famed Sao Silvestre Road Race. The race was first won by four-time New York City Marathon champion and NYRR Hall of Famer Bill Rodgers in 1979.

Linden will return to Central Park this year in attempt to better her Midnight Run course record (20:51), which she set when winning the 2010 edition of the event. Already this year, she finished second at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and went on to take seventh at the Olympic Marathon in Rio. She was the fastest American woman at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon, finishing fifth, and this year served as one of the Grand Marshals of the marathon as a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team.

“I’ve spent the past few months working on my speed and I’m excited to drop way down in distance and test myself at the NYRR Midnight Run,” Linden said. “While all eyes are on Times Square watching the ball drop, I hope to be dropping the competition right next door in Central Park. I’m excited to run in the New Year with some great competitors and in an electric atmosphere that NYRR always delivers.”

For the first time, the NYRR Midnight Run will be a scored race and part of the NYRR 9+1 program. Runners who finish the race, or volunteer, will receive credit toward the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. All runners are invited to write their New Year’s resolutions on free #ResolveToRun back bibs, as well as NYRR’s #ResolveToRun wall in Central Park.

Runners at the event will vie for a prize purse of $2,000, including a $500 prize for the male and female winners.

Additional Top Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Sarah Pagano, 25, of Brighton, MA, was the female winner of the 2015 Midnight Run; she was the second-place finisher at the 2016 USA 10K Championships after competing in the 5000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier in the season.
  • Daniel Winn, 25, of Brighton, MA, was the male winner of the 2015 MidnightRun and this year finished eighth in the 1500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
  • Andy Vernon, 31, of Great Britain, competed in the 10,000 meters at the Rio 2016 Olympics and owns the best 5000-meter time (13:11.50) in the men’s professional field. He was the silver medalist in the 10,000 meters and bronze medalist in the 5000 meters at the 2014 European Athletics Championships.
  • Hannah England, 29, of Great Britain, competed at the London 2012 Olympics after winning silver in the 1500 meters at the 2011 IAAF World Championships.

Top Professional Men 

Name 5000m Personal Best Twitter Handle
Andy Vernon, GBR 13:11.50 @AndyVernonGB
Brandon Doughty, USA 13:39.06 @dodes_xc
Matt McClintock, USA 13:53.12 @Matt_McClintock
Julian Saad, USA 13:57.62
Ben Lindsay, GBR 14:04.45
Luke Gunn, GBR 14:14.57 @gunnyluke
Daniel Winn, USA 14:16.95 @DanielWinn
Louis Serafini, USA 14:32.88 @LouisSerafini
Ryan Linden, USA N/A @RL_Linden 

Top Professional Women

Name 5000-meter Personal Best Twitter Handle
Desiree Linden, USA 15:08.64 @des_linden
Katie Matthews, USA 15:32.89 @katiematthews
Sarah Pagano, USA 15:40.66 @srpagano
Rosa Moriello, USA 16:03.57
Tasha Vernon, GBR 16:19.20 @tashadoel
Rolanda Bell, PAN 16:24.75 @R0_BELL
Hannah England, GBR N/A @hannahengland

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