In honor of its 55th anniversary, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) will host an inaugural 5.5K Walk/Run on Saturday, Sept. 24.
The event will take place on Family Health and Fitness Day USA, which occurs on the last Saturday of September and promotes physical activity and health for families.
GJDC’s 5.5K Walk/Run is open to adults and children, and teams are welcomed.
The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the York College Performing Arts Center parking lot, located at 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., and will finish at Rufus King Park, at 150-29 Jamaica Ave., where the Jamaica Go! Family Festival will take place.
Sponsors of the event include York College, The YMCA, Queens Public Library, Jamaica Center BID, Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District, 165th Street Mall Improvement Association, King Manor, Run Hustle Run and Greater Nexus.
Proceeds from the walk/run event will be donated to the Y after-school programs at P.S. 40Q and P.S. 48Q to help families purchase school supplies.
According to Patricia Robinson, chief administrative officer of GJDC, the organization initially hosted 5K running events in the early 2000s. The idea was recently revisited following the COVID-19 pandemic to engage with the community.
“We are hopeful in continuing this as a signature event every year. It is our goal to set up events that people can look forward to, and that we can expand on, and make them even broader. This event isn’t just specific to people in Queens. It is open to all,” Robinson said.
The event is part of a bigger initiative as GDJC celebrates 55 years of service, Robinson added.
“We are paying tribute and legacy to our past and future. We want to continue to honor Jamaica, Queens, and continue to do signature events and be part of the fabric of the development and revitalization of all forms,” Robinson said.
To date, GDJC has 175 registered runners and is anticipating beyond 200 runners the day of the event, Robinson said.
“The premise of the run is designed to promote a meaningful community connection, and to support fitness and physical activity,” Robinson said. “This course route is going to promote attention to the lovely downtown Jamaica, which has wonderful commercial corridors and highlights some of our historical landmarks.”
On the route, runners will pass four historical landmarks which include VP Records, one of the largest independent reggae labels in Queens; Bellitte Bicycles, one of NYC’s oldest bicycle stores; and the historical sidewalk clock on Jamaica Avenue.
Following the completion of the 5K run, GDJC will present awards acknowledging first-place, second-place and third-place runners.
The day’s activities will culminate with the Jamaica Go! Festival at Rufus King Park, which will feature health and wellness demonstrations, games, music and more.
“We are inviting the community to come out and be part of games, music and we have things for kids, and businesses with vendor tables, and vendor food trucks,” Robinson said. “We are really excited about it. For our community, it’s always a good time when people can come out and enjoy fresh air, and fit in with the theme of family, health and fitness day.”