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Without a doubt, running clubs run this city- we know it, they know it. We wouldn’t be able to have our races without them! That is why we wanted to give them the opportunity to introduce themselves. This week we are continuing the NYCRUNS Club Spotlight series by highlighting Woodside-Sunnyside Runners. The NYCRUNS Club Spotlight series will take a look at the diverse running clubs of New York City and celebrate the unique ways that they contribute to fitness and community across all five boroughs.

Louise Santos Mejia was born and raised in Flushing but currently lives in Woodside.

How did you get involved with Woodside-Sunnyside Runners?
I joined in June 2019 to help train for a fall marathon as well as to become a faster runner. I co-host the Thursday morning runs and am an active member of the group.

What is your club about?
Come for a run with us — we won’t leave you behind, and we won’t hold you back!

Our values:

Participation: We welcome runners of all paces and levels of experience.
Community: We are committed to being a positive force within our neighborhoods.
Inclusivity: We are committed to ensuring an environment that includes all our neighbors, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion.

Our mission:

Participation: Woodside-Sunnyside Runners seeks to bring together local runners to support each other and the community. We strive to be kind, equitable, and antiracist in making running a sport that is increasingly accessible to all. We are also committed to the physical and emotional safety of our runners. We take measures to ensure that every runner remains safe during our events and in our online platforms.

Community: We are committed to being a positive force within our community and actively working toward making our neighborhoods the best they can be. We recognize that systemic oppression and racism have created inequity in our community. We regularly organize volunteer opportunities and fundraising events in conjunction with our local community to help fill the gaps created by these injustices.

Inclusivity: We are an intentionally inclusive group where difference is valued. The diversity of our membership reflects the diversity that makes our neighborhoods so special. We welcome runners of all backgrounds, paces, and experience levels because we believe diversity makes us all better — better athletes and better neighbors.

Where does your club run? Which is your favorite running route?
Mostly in the areas surrounding Woodside and Sunnyside, but we also do special destination runs to Corona, Manhattan and Rockaway Beach to name a few.

How does your club give back to the community?
Woodside-Sunnyside Runners is committed to providing support for our diverse community. Aside from our regular weekly runs, we organize special informational events such as the Black History Month Run, AAPI Support Discussion, and the Irish Mile. We help maintain our environments by participating in gardening and cleanup events at our local parks where we do many of our activities.

Our group has helped out local food pantries not only by collecting monetary and food donations, but also by volunteering to load/unload food boxes to and from delivery trucks. We have held a handful of fundraisers for various community organizations, such as our cookie sales, where we’ve put together donations for Back on My Feet NYC. Our annual Halloween Pub/Cafe Run brings us to multiple businesses where we enjoy some social time with their fantastic food and beverage offerings.

Prior to the pandemic, we have co-organized a couple of races in Queens — the LIC Post Waterfront 5K and Sunnyside Mile benefiting the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and Sunnyside Community Services, respectively. We were not able to hold these events last year but hope to when it is safe again to do so.

We are also a proud member of the Queens Running Collective, a coalition of run crews in Queens uniting for community action. Our activities in the past year include Black Lives Still Matter Run, Run 2 Vote, Miles For Meals and the Holiday Toy Drive.

We know it’s a tough choice but… which NYCRUNS race is your favorite?
We had several members enjoy the Subway Series Challenge. The Queens Half Marathon is also great because it’s right in our borough!

Tell us about your group traditions! 
We usually support a local cafe or bar after our weekly runs.

Want to stay informed about Woodside-Sunnyside Runners?
Check out their website, Facebook, Instagram, or send them an email at info@woodsidesunnysiderunners.com.

If you are interested in being featured in the NYCRUNS Club Spotlight Series, please send us an email at theteam@nycruns.com