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The Beach Run

Most New York City runners stick to the familiar: a loop in Central Park or a jog through the neighbourhood. But there's a group that seeks something more ambitious, a challenge that merges urban grit with the sand and surf of the Rockaways.

It's called the Beach Run, and it's been gaining steam.

Photography: Dave Hashim, Words: Alex Ikhinmwin

The concept began with the Bridge Runners in the 2010s, a crew that turned city running into urban exploration. The Beach Run took that idea and stretched it—literally—across multiple boroughs, with a finish line at the coast. Here's the deal: start in Manhattan and run to the beach. It's not a race; it's a test of endurance and urban navigation.

The journey typically begins at MOTIV NY, a gym on Manhattan's Lower East Side. From there, runners take a 17–22-mile route through Brooklyn, then on to the Rockaways. There's a meetup at Brooklyn Running Co. where more runners join the pack, bringing fresh energy. There's also an eight-mile jump-in point for latecomers, but it's a pain to get to.

The Beach Run isn't about the scenery. It's about endurance. You face heavy traffic, endless strip malls, and bland residential blocks. There's barely any shade, and the summer sun can be brutal. Water stops help, but it's a long slog. It's the kind of run that leaves you questioning your life choices.

Yet, there's camaraderie in shared suffering. As you reach Cross Bay Blvd., the final stretch before the beach, the runners find a collective rhythm. The goal is clear: get to the ocean. Some people speed up, others take it slow, but everyone's in this together.

The payoff is worth it. When you hit the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach, it's like crossing a finish line. Some runners sprint, eager to end the ordeal, while others stroll, savouring the last steps. The run wraps up at Rippers, a casual spot for burgers and beer. After that, you hit the ocean to cool off and let the saltwater wash away the sweat and exhaustion.

The Beach Run isn't just about running; it's about community. It's about finding a connection in the shared challenge of running across the city to reach the beach. It's a reminder that sometimes the best way to experience New York is to run right through it, all the way to the ocean.

If you're up for a test of endurance with a side of camaraderie, the Beach Run is waiting.

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