It was a great day in Harlem on Saturday, August 25, 2012 when the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run and NYC Family Health Walk-athon occurred.
Sign-up and registration began at 7:45 AM where packs of people gathered on 135th Street and St Nicholas in front of the WBLS stage, to hit the streets of Harlem and do some running and/or walking.
I did the Harlem Walk two years ago when the theme was remembering Haiti. This year’s focus was on peace and the chance to stop the violence in our communities.
The run began first and was a five mile race. The walk was for two miles. I run on the treadmill every now and then but am not a great runner, so I decided to do the walk which was still good because it was a walk that helped to building upon the foundation of peace.
The music was blaring and folks were dancing in the streets to the WBLS Deejay and Dr. Bob Lee getting the crowd hyped. But there was more than just dancing.
There was a movement, pictures, a sonorous trumpet rendition of "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner," community and even a group warm-up that took place right there in the street. By the time the walk was set to begin, the crowd was hyped, energized and ready for action.
Prior to walking, Congressman Charles Rangel encouraged the walkers by saying, “stamp out the senseless violence.” Police Commissioner Kelly also spoke about joining together to promote peace in our communities.
Throughout the entire walk from start to finish, walkers chanted “guns down, peace signs up.” A walk and a message poured out into the streets of Harlem. The path that was taken was down St Nicholas Avenue from 135th Street to 127th Street, up 127th Street to St Nicholas Terrace up to Convent, W 141st Street and then back. People in the community saw and smiled in joy and also chanted along.
Many people may not ever see the beauty of Harlem and during the walk I turned into a tourist discovering different sites including St Nicholas Park, Alexander Hamilton’s house and some of the most beautiful, old churches. I couldn’t help but to take pictures. These were great sites to see.
I think I like the idea of promoting something like putting the guns down and throwing the peace sign up. Today Harlem was filled with runners and walkers reaching out to the community as a team about stopping the violence and keeping peace flowing in our communities. It was more than a walk to me. It was like a march and it was definitely for a great cause.
The Harlem run and family walk-athon was part of Harlem Week which is really like Harlem month beginning on July 28th and ending August 25th. Besides the walk, Harlem week features a plethora of fabulous events that take place during this time frame and in the Harlem area. For a list of events, please see the event calendar here: http://harlemweek.com/calendar-of-events/