Mind, Body, Spirit


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Illustration by Paula Romani

A Running Start

Move over, Boston. Step aside, New York City. One of the oldest—and most difficult—marathons in the country happens right here in Yonkers, and it takes place on the third Sunday in September. The Yonkers Marathon is the second oldest in the country (Boston’s is the oldest) and was once used as a qualifying marathon for the Olympics. In fact, John J. Kelly, a member of both the 1956 and 1960 U.S. Olympic teams, won the Yonkers Marathon eight years in a row, and it was after his record win in 1960 that he qualified for the Rome Olympics.

But it’s small: about 500 people run the full 26.2-mile and mini 13.1-mile race. In comparison, some 37,000 people run the New York City race. So, why so few participants? “Yonkers is a tough marathon,” says spokesperson August Cambria. “It has more than its share of hills. It’s really popular with die-hard marathoners, but those looking for fast times usually stay away.” The course, a double loop, begins near the Yonkers Riverfront Library, winding along the Hudson at various points, up to Hastings, and through the downtown area before ending back at the library. This year, the 83rd running of the race will be held on September 21. For more information, go to yonkersny.gov.

Decoding Pollen Count

Ever watch the weather report and wonder what in the world the pollen count means? So did we. To find out, we consulted Dr. Kira Geraci, a board-certifiedcherry tree in full bloom allergist in Mamaroneck, and News12 Westchester weatherman Joe Rao.

What it is: While there are various outlets that count pollen, the most noted is the National Allergy Bureau, a division of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, which has 69 counting stations throughout the U.S. The Westchester station is located in Armonk.

How it is measured: Dr. Geraci, who was a pollen counter for 10 years, explains that certified counters use special equipment to capture pollen samples from the air. Under a microscope, they count the number of grains found on the slide and then, using predetermined formulas to account for wind, air, etc., they calculate the number of pollen grains per cubic meter. The higher the number, the higher the pollen concentration.

What it means: The count usually runs on a four-point scale—low, moderate, high, and very high—with the higher the number, the more pollen in the air. Numeric measures are also sometimes given, with again, the higher the number the higher the concentration.

What to do: If you have allergies and the count is particularly high, Rao and Dr. Geraci recommend keeping windows and door closed, running your air conditioner or air purifiers to minimize pollens circulating indoors, showering, and changing your clothes after coming in from outside.



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