By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (31-Dec) — Molly Seidel of Watertown, Mass., and Reid Buchanan of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., won tonight’s 39th NYRR Midnight Run here in Central Park in frigid conditions, clocking 21:24 and 19:08, respectively, for the hilly four-mile course.  The temperature at midnight when the race went off was a frosty 10°F (-12°C) which made fast running difficult.

PHOTO: Molly Seidel and Reid Buchanan after finishing the 2017 NYRR Midnight Run (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

“All of a sudden you just start locking-up, the tin man effect,” Buchanan said of the cold conditions as he tried to warm up in the heated athletes’ tent near the finish line.  “I’m from Kansas so I like to do ‘Wizard of Oz’ quotes.”

Buchanan, 24, beat the 2015 race champion Daniel Winn of Brooklyn, N.Y., by 50 seconds.  Third place went to marathoner Jonas Hampton of Medford, Mass., who clocked 20:22.  For both Buchanan and Hampton, tonight was their first Midnight Run.

“It was fun.  It was a lot of fun,” said Buchanan, who is sponsored by Skechers.  “I feel like without the crowd it would have been way worse.  I feel like only New York City can provide a crowd in what feels like, what has to be, negative temperatures.”

Seidel had a tougher battle than Buchanan to claim victory in her first Midnight Run.  She and two-time race champion Sarah Pagano of Brighton, Mass., and veteran marathoner Steph Bruce of Flagstaff, Ariz., battled well into the fourth mile before Seidel was able to break away.  The Saucony-sponsored athlete was pleased to start off the new year with a win.

“Oh my gosh!  No better way to start it off,” Seidel said.  “It’s a good, hard race; nothing I’d rather be doing at midnight.”

Seidel, who started the race with her face covered with a buff, said that the cold wasn’t so difficult for her.  Growing up in Hartland, Wisc., Seidel, 23, has done her share of winter running.

“Being from Wisconsin we’ll get days like this,” she said.  “I fell like it was perfect prep for a nice, chilly New Year’s run.”

Pagano finished second in 21:32 and Bruce was third in 21:39.

Both Seidel and Buchanan earned $500 in prize money, and Seidel picked up a time bonus of $100 for breaking 23:00.

Over 4000 runners started the race and were treated to a massive fireworks display which lasted nearly 20 minutes.