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Boro leaders miffed over run

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A scheduling snafu has pitted the New York Roadrunners club against some community leaders in northern Queens after the group was forced to schedule its College Point half-marathon on one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar.

The running club, which organizes the ING New York City Marathon, scheduled the College Point half-marathon for Sept. 20, the same day as the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.

The holiday, often referred to as the Jewish New Year, is the first of the High Holidays and marks the start of the civil year on the Hebrew calendar.

Community Board 7 has called the decision insensitive and said the board would not support the group or help with any promotions for the event.

The race, scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. at MacNeil Park, is part of a series of half-marathons held in each borough leading up to the New York City Marathon in November. The New York Roadrunners Club said it was forced into a scheduling corner by the city, which rejected its initial bid to hold the event Aug. 9, and said it is working with police to insure worshipers can get to temples during the race.

“It’s a hard issue for us. We have such a full event calendar throughout the year and just didn’t have any other options,” said New York Roadrunners spokeswoman Meghan Chisholm. “We didn’t mean any offense, we just didn’t have a choice.”

The exact route of the 13.1-mile race remains uncertain, but Chisholm said the group will continue to work with the Police Department and religious leaders to minimize any effects on Jewish residents in the area who need to travel to temple.

“We haven’t received many complaints. There’s been a few questions from Jewish runners, though, who can’t participate,” Chisholm said. “We’ve just been apologizing for the inconvenience and encouraging them to participate in some of our other events around the city.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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