I initiated our first runner meet up in an attempt to get a girl I liked to run with me. The idea was to have other people around to keep things from being “weird”. I set a time and a place after talking it over with a few friends who had expressed an interest in running. I was lucky enough to have Mike Little, owner of Lost Weekend, interested in hosting a running group at his new shop. I sent out a Facebook invite and Mike offered all those who ran a free cup of coffee.
Things fell into place pretty fast, and in mid-October 2011 our first “official” run happened. Here is the early artwork used to lure in runners with the promise of free coffee. Those are Flo Jo’s legs with a Lost Weekend cup composited in. Brilliant.
Although the girl that inspired this running group ran away, the idea generated a following almost instantly.
We started with 8am runs on Tuesdays. This was a by-product of a jobless economy and unemployed neighborhood friends looking for something to do with their days. Morning runs lasted for a couple months, then I decided to switch the runs to nighttime. Running at night was how I had always ran in the past as an overworked architect in the early 2000’s. I found it more enjoyable to run after I got out of work..around 11pm..instead of getting up early and banging out a 2 hour run. The solitude night running brought was inspiring..there is something to be said about having the city to yourself. It was like i discovered a parallel universe, like the Twilight Zone. Running through the streets of the Financial District in the middle of the night was like being the last man left on the planet. This was shortly after 9/11, when downtown along the West Side Bike path was always completely empty late-night. I lived in Midtown West at the time and developed my passion over the long distance runs I would do..virtually alone..headed south along the bike path into the Financial District, around the Southern tip of the island, and back.
Side Note: I remember getting harassed by some agro cyclist as I was running one night in 2003. He was approaching me talking shit, running his mouth. I could see he was pissed I was running in the bike path. I had headphones in and didn’t hear a word he said, but his body language said enough. I ignored him as he came towards me, this infuriated him. At the last minute, right before we passed each other, he pulled out a little mini mag-lite and burned the shit out of my eyes. This totally stunned my senses. Mind you..its probably around 12am..I am several miles into my run..completely zoned and it is pitch black out..no lights, no one in sight..and this asshole comes at me and blinds me. I take out my headphones, as I continue running, and I blurt out a bunch of obscenities like “fuck you dickhead”. Not long after he passed me, he turns and comes back around in my direction, passes me again and pulls over to the side about 100′ ahead of me. As I approach him, I take my headphones out..he starts complaining about this and that, “runners in the bike path” etc..so I told him to go “fuck himself” as there was no need to blind me with a flashlight. He was again, infuriated. He then gets on his bike and as he passes by me a third time, pulls out an air horn, puts it up to my left ear..I am totally unaware (because of the headphones)..and he blasts out my left ear drum. This is why I am partially def in my left ear. Ha!
Anyway, back to OSR..we start running at night. The group initially attracted many friends of mine, and friends of that girl I was chasing. One of these friends of hers was David Trimble. David had been very busy building up his cycling race, the Red Hook Crit, and was looking to get into running for his own training purposes. After attending one of the first events thrown by OSR, the Silent Auction for the Lower Eastside Girls Club, Dave asked me if I could help him out with some of the organizational aspects of the Red Hook Crit. It was through this connection that I had been involved in the Crit in 2012 and 2013. This connection also led to me asking Dave to help me out with a race concept I had been thinking about..a race rooted in the experiences I had running through the city alone at night. Together Dave and I developed the format for the Midnight Half, and executed the inaugural race on my birthday 5/31/2012. Original poster photo and design by David Trimble..thats me in there running.