Keeping tradition alive: 34th annual Hoban Run kicks off in Bay Ridge

Runners make their way across the starting line at the 34th Annual Police Officer Christopher Hoban ’80 Memorial Run on Sept. 18.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Thousands of runners raced through the streets of Bay Ridge on Sunday, Sept. 18 as part of the 34th Annual Police Officer Christopher Hoban ’80 Memorial Run.

The event, often dubbed just the Hoban Run, pays tribute to fallen Xaverian High School grad and police officer Christopher Hoban, who died in the line of duty more than three decades ago.

On the night of Oct. 18, 1988, Hoban, who was serving in the Manhattan North Narcotics unit, entered an apartment building in Manhattan Valley’s W. 105th Street during an undercover operation. The suspects believed Hoban and his partner could be police officers, and a shootout ensued, killing 26-year-old Hoban.

Hoban, a Bay Ridge native, graduated from the neighborhood’s Xaverian High School in 1980 — and the school has honored him with an annual 5K every year since his death, except for in 2020, when the event was forced to go virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after his death, the police alumni of Xaverian established a memorial scholarship fund to honor their fellow officer, which provides tuition assistance to Xaverian students whose parents are New York City police officers.

Each year, the run is supported by friends and family of Hoban, former classmates and colleagues, local first responders and enthusiastic Bay Ridgeites. The run — held each year on the third Sunday of September, dubbed “Hoban Sunday,” — also serves as an unofficial start to the fall season, bringing families together first on the steps of the now-co-ed Catholic high school to kick off the run, and in the school’s parking lot afterward. There, participants and their loved ones celebrate another race well run — while raising funds in Hoban’s name and memory.

Racers are off at the Hoban Run.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

A post on Xaverian High School’s Facebook page showed runners blasting past the starting line, and made note of the day’s beautiful weather.

“The sun always shines for P.O. Christopher Hoban ’80,” the post read. “We honor Chris today, and will continue to honor him and all those who make the ultimate sacrifice when serving and protecting this city.”

Local politicians in attendance included U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblymember Michael Tannousis, State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan.

“One of us had an easy time of it at the 34th Annual PO Chris Hoban Memorial Run today,” Gounardes wrote on social media alongside a photo of his son, sleeping in his stroller near the finish line. “What a great tradition in memory of Chris Hoban.”

Brannan called the event “a very meaningful and important Bay Ridge tradition.”

“They say a hero dies twice: once with their death and twice if their name is not spoken again. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice Chris made protecting his fellow New Yorkers,” he tweeted. “Thanks to everyone who helps keep this tradition going strong.”

Tannousis shared similar sentiments, calling it an honor to speak on the steps of Xaverian Sunday.

“We will always be grateful for [Hoban’s] sacrifice to protect us,” he said.

Tunnels to Towers CEO Frank Siller was honored at the kickoff to the 34th annual Hoban Run.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

This year’s event also honored Tunnel to Towers Foundation CEO and Chairperson Frank Siller, whose organization honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others during the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Malliotakis congratulated Siller for his “outstanding work for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.”