Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, a crowd of runners (and walkers) gather by Wilbur Cross High School for a flat 5k run through New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood. The IRIS Run for Refugees is one of the many races that occur in New Haven, but it is definitely the coldest race in New Haven.
The Run for Refugees brought together 3,000 participants and raised almost $90,000 to support IRIS’s work. IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) helps immigrants with housing, healthcare, job placement, education, and more and has enabled refugees and other displaced people to establish new lives in Connecticut.
Like the other races that occur in New Haven, my residential college (and many other colleges) graciously covered the cost of race registration for students. This year marks my third year participating in the IRIS 5k, but it was my first time participating in the race virtually. Although I have made the trek up East Rock several times, like many other students, I never explored New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood past the automatically generated route that Google Maps provides. Fortunately, the IRIS 5k took place in the heart of East Rock, allowing the 3000 participants and me the perfect opportunity to explore the neighborhood.
Running through East Rock
Moments before the race
For those who don’t know, East Rock, the neighborhood, is best known for East Rock, a prominent trap rock ridge that can be seen throughout Yale’s campus. East Rock is home to many Yale students, staff, faculty, young professionals, and families. On a typical day, while passing through the neighborhood, one can see runners, cyclers, and dogs. East Rock is also filled with quaint coffee stores and bakeries.
Since I was preoccupied with classes, I decided not to run during the weeks leading up to the race. Once it was race day, I was excited and nervous to run my first race since high school. Surprisingly, the 3 miles through East Rock went by quickly and before I knew it, I was back in Wilbur Cross High School, refueling on baklavas from Havenly and trying to find my friends through the crowds of runners. While I was probably struggling to breathe throughout the majority of the race, running in the crisp February air was delightfully refreshing. Even though I was sore the days following the race, I’m already looking forward to next year’s race with my friends and being able to support IRIS.
Post run selfies!
Another selfie! (sorry Alice <3)