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Mastercard New York Mini 10K to Host the Return of Professional Athletes

10 Jun, 2021


The 2021 Mastercard New York Mini 10K, the world’s original women-only road race, is expected to host approximately 1,200 runners on Saturday, June 12, including the return of professional athletes to New York Road Runners races for the first time since 2019. It will be the first regularly scheduled and largest NYRR race to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic began and will follow comprehensive health and safety guidelines and procedures.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Mastercard New York Mini 10K and our professional athletes for a race that has inspired and empowered women in the running community and beyond for nearly 50 years,” said NYRR interim CEO Kerin Hempel. “NYRR will ensure a smooth and safe experience for all involved in the event through the health and safety guidelines we have developed with the City of New York and medical experts.”

The event, taking place in Central Park, will operate under NYRR’s Return to Racing guidelines. Health and safety procedures were developed under the guidance of public health officials and medical experts and in partnership with the City of New York and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. As part of NYRR’s commitment to health and safety, guidelines for the general runner field will include masks, temperature checks, increased and staggered starts, self-hydration options, hand sanitation stations, and limited race amenities to uphold adherence to social distancing. Race registration for the general public will open on April 22.

Sara Hall will headline the professional athlete field, looking to defend her title from 2019, when she finished first in a time of 32:27 in a race that doubled as the USATF 10 km Championships. Hall, who has eight national titles to her name, was runner-up (2:22:01) at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon last October and then in December clocked the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman (2:20:32) at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Ariz. The year prior, she was the top American finisher and fifth overall (2:22:16) at the Berlin Marathon. Hall is the only athlete in history to have won the Mini 10K, the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, and the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K in New York.

“The Mini is such a great celebration of women, history, and running, and it was an honor to add my name to the winners’ list in 2019,” Hall said. “It’s been such a groundbreaking race in so many ways, so it seems fitting that it will be one of the first big events in New York City since the pandemic began. I’ve been really lucky to benefit from some cool new race opportunities over the last year, and it’s exciting to see the return of established and historic events like the Mini.”

The professional athletes taking part will be in a controlled environment. The field will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to New York and will undergo daily COVID-19 testing and tracing while in New York for the race. There will be a separation of the pro field and general field at the start, no guests will be allowed to accompany the athletes, and they will be required to wear masks at the start and finish. Additionally, there will be an elimination of touchpoints, including no large gatherings or in-person meetings until race morning.

The full professional athlete field – both the open division and wheelchair division – will be announced closer to the race; the event is the only all-women professional wheelchair race in the world.

The Girls’ Run at the Mastercard New York Mini 10K, a 1-mile race for girls ages 12-18, will follow the adult race, and there will also be a Virtual Mastercard New York Mini 10K, which runners can participate in from anywhere in the world from June 12-20.

Mastercard will serve as title sponsor of the event for the first time after becoming NYRR’s newest foundation partner in 2020. As part of its long-term partnership with NYRR, Mastercard will also serve as the presenting sponsor of professional women’s athlete fields at NYRR events and provide support to NYRR’s Run for the Future program.

“The New York Mini 10K is a momentous symbol of the perseverance and dedication shared by women all around the New York running community," said Cheryl Guerin, Executive Vice President of North America Marketing & Communications at Mastercard. "We are proud to partner with New York Road Runners on bringing this special race back and inspiring all New Yorkers to prioritize their health, wellness and exercise in their daily lives.”

From those who led the way 49 years ago, such as legends Kathrine Switzer and Nina Kuscsik and the event’s inaugural champion Jacqueline (Marsh) Dixon, to the more than 200,000 women who have finished the race since 1972, the Mini 10K has served as one of the most impactful women’s races in running history.  

The event was founded as the world’s original women-only road race in 1972, and was first called the six-mile Crazylegs Mini Marathon. The Mini 10K got its current name when race founder Fred Lebow convinced the sponsor to support a six-mile “mini” marathon—named for the miniskirt, a big fashion trend of the times. Seventy-two women finished that first race, which helped show that women deserved to run in road races as much as their male counterparts. Three weeks later, Title IX was signed into law, guaranteeing women the right to participate in school sports and creating new opportunities for female athletes. The International Olympic Committee added the women’s marathon to the Olympic program for the first time at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, a decision sparked by the growth of women’s road racing, which was led by the success of the Mini.

About New York Road Runners (NYRR)

NYRR’s mission is to help and inspire people through running. Since 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, virtual races, community events, free youth running initiatives and school programs, the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features a wide population of runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit www.nyrr.org.

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