Emerald Nuts Midnight Run Brings Thousands to Central Park to Ring In a Happy and Healthy New Year

Carmen Douma-Hussar, Sarah Porter, Landon Peacock, and Christian Hesch set to race under a glittering sky of fireworks at midnight 

New York, December 20, 2011—As 2011 winds down, New York Road Runners is gearing up to celebrate the new year with the legendary Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park at midnight on December 31. Professional athletes will toe the line with thousands of reveling New Yorkers, it was announced today by NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

The Midnight Run, a Central Park tradition since 1978, offers runners and spectators a fun and athletic way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. As the ball drops in Times Square just blocks away, runners can party through a four-mile run knowing they won’t drop the ball on their fitness this year. The run promises to be one of the most distinctive, cost-effective parties in all of Manhattan.

“The Emerald Nuts Midnight Run is a unique and active way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York City,” said Wittenberg. “It’s the perfect way to start the New Year on the right foot, literally! We welcome friends and family to join an extravaganza of fun—from the run to the fireworks.”

“We look forward to partnering with the NYRR for an eighth straight year, especially in such an iconic New York event,” said Craig Tokusato, vice president of marketing at Diamond Foods, Inc. “The Emerald Nuts Midnight Run will be a great way to celebrate the new year in a fun, healthy, and safe environment.”

The festivities begin at 10:00 p.m. with music and a massive dance party, followed by a spirited costume parade and contest at 11:00 p.m. At the stroke of midnight, runners will take off on a four-mile loop through Central Park while the night sky sparkles with a 17-minute fireworks show. Halfway through the race, runners will have the option of toasting the new year with a glass of non-alcoholic champagne at the two-mile mark.

In addition to the celebrations that are planned throughout the evening, a strong professional athlete field will race for a prize purse of $2,000, including $500 apiece to the male and female winners. Canadian Olympian and 2007 Emerald Nuts Midnight Run champion Carmen Douma-Hussar will be up against Sarah Porter, the 2011 NCAA Division II 10,000-meter champion, who made her marathon debut in this year’s ING New York City Marathon. Other top contenders in the women’s field include Katie DiCamillo, Stephanie Pezzullo, Lesley Higgins, and Sarah Cummings.

In the men’s field, Landon Peacock, the 2010 Big Ten 5000-meter indoor champion, will compete against two-time Emerald Nuts Midnight Run champion (2003, 2004) and former course record-holder Christian Hesch. Other top contenders in the men’s field include Tim Ritchie and Stephen Pifer.

Douma-Hussar, 34, of Ardmore, PA, won this event in 2007 in 20:54. She was second in 2010 in 20:55.

Porter, 22, of Blowing Rock, NC, won the 2011 NCAA Division II 10,000-meter championship in 33:17.39. She finished the ING New York City marathon this past November in 2:44:25.

Peacock, 24, of Blowing Rock, NC, won the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships 5000 meters in 14:11.94 for the University of Wisconsin. He was recently second at the Manchester Road Race (4.75 miles) on Thanksgiving Day in 21:39. 

Hesch, 33, of Hollywood, CA, won this event in 2003 (19:36) and 2004 (18:28), and is a former course record-holder.

Other top contenders in the women’s field:

DiCamillo, 25, of Providence, RI, won the 2010 ECAC Outdoor Championships 5000 meters in 16:25.83.

Pezzullo, 29, of Charlotte, NC, was second at this event in 2006 in 22:00.

Higgins, 31, of New York, NY, placed second in the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships mile in 4:42.36.

Cummings, 23, of New York, NY, placed second in the 2011 Ivy League Outdoor 5000 meters in16:48.51.

Other top contenders in the men’s field:

Ritchie, 24, of Brighton, MA, placed fifth at this year’s Manchester Road Race (4.75 miles) on Thanksgiving Day in 21:47.

Pifer, 27, of Eugene, OR, placed second in the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships 5000 meters in 13:39.34.

For more details on the race and pre-race festivities in Central Park, visit

New York Road Runners

Headquartered in New York City, New York Road Runners is dedicated to advancing the sport of running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and meeting our community’s needs. Our goal is to use the expertise acquired in our 53-year history to empower all people to live fitter, healthier lives through participation in our races, community events, instruction and training resources, and youth programs. Our races and other events draw more than 300,000 people each year. The ING New York City Marathon, NYRR’s premier event, is the largest and most inclusive marathon in the world, attracting the world’s top professional runners every year and raising $30.8 million for charity in 2010. NYRR’s running-based youth programs, which currently serve more than 100,000 children in hundreds of schools and community centers, promote children’s health and fitness, character development, and personal achievement in underserved communities. For more information, visit

Diamond Foods

Diamond Foods is an innovative packaged food company focused on building, acquiring and energizing brands including Kettle® Chips, Emerald® snack nuts, Pop Secret® popcorn, and Diamond of California® nuts. Diamond's products are distributed in a wide range of stores where snacks and culinary nuts are sold. For more information visit our web site:

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