A Sprint In The Park
You think Central Park is known for runners? Well, there are four members of the Central Park Track Club New Balance who are sending a whole new message — the Park is now open for sprinters!
Julius Mutekanga, Moussa Dembele, Jeremy Bascom and Erison Hurtault are headed to the London Olympics, each representing a different country. Mutekanga will run the 800 meters for Uganda. Dembele is a Senegalese high hurdler. Bascom will run the 100-meter dash for Guyana while Hurtault is wearing Dominica's colors in the 400 for the second time at the Games.
"These four live and train here in the City," said John Roberts, President of the CPTC. "They went to local colleges and they are real New Yorkers."
Bascom and Mutekanga both ran at Long Island University and both have international experience, including a trip to the World Indoor Championships in Turkey this past winter. Bascom is the No. 1 100-meter runner in South America this year with a best of 10.19.
Hurtault, a graduate of Columbia University where he won 11 Ivy League titles, is a three-time World Championships semi-finalist. Dembele, a three-time All-American at Essex County College in New Jersey, was a champion of the Junior African Games in the past.
The New York metropolitan region has become a hotspot for aspiring Olympians. "New York City is a hidden gem in terms of running," CPTC Coach Devon Martin told Amanda Woods of the New York Press. "We do have some of the best facilities in the country."
And CPTC has become the powerhouse at the club level, winning three straight combined USATF club national crowns.
Having four Olympians is another feat in itself and as these four train, the CPTC is looking to help defray the inevitable costs. "There is always stuff that doesn't get picked up," said Roberts. "As they prepare for the Games we are primarily looking at things like physical therapy and proper nutrition."
So CPTC has set up an indiegogo.com website to take donations which will be funneled into making four New Yorkers' Olympic dreams come true. Any remaining funds will go toward future Olympic development.
You can follow the Central Park foursome to London on the Club's Facebook site as well.