Running For A Cause

JOHNSTOWN – Representatives of various area community organizations came together for fitness and fundraising, as the first leg of the new 5K Triple Crown race series presented by St. Mary’s Healthcare was run downtown Saturday morning.

The Run for the Roses 5K race was run under cloudy, threatening skies starting at Partner’s Pub on South William Street.

Winner Jeff Klingbeil declared he was “exhausted” 19 minutes and 22 seconds later as he clutched his knees after heading past the finish line. Organizers declared the first of the three-race series a success.

“The Triple Crown event was put together so we could maximize our potential for drawing in runners and promoting the area and eventually raise more money for the three organizations that were involved,” said organizer Lisa McCoy.

Emily Bertier came in second in the race.

The three local groups presenting each leg of the 5K Triple Crown race series are: Glove Cities Rotary, Mountain Valley Hospice and Lexington Center. The running races coincide with the national Triple Crown horse races. Glove Cities Rotary hosted the Run for the Roses 5K event Saturday.

Mountain Valley Hospice will host the second 5K run on Preakness Weekend on May 18 with a 9 a.m. registration and 10 a.m. run at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College campus, 2805 Route 67, Johnstown. This will be followed by the annual walk, which will begin at 1 p.m.

Lexington Center will host its 10th annual 5K race on the day of the Belmont Stakes on June 7, with an 8 a.m. registration and a 9 a.m. run, starting from the center, 465 N. Perry St., Johnstown.

The three local groups joined forces to raise money, promote their causes and increase tourism in Fulton County.

“It’s a great event; it brings people out from the region,” said Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Kilmer.

McCoy, who is associated with hospice, said the 5K Triple K race series should be around for a while.

“For hospice, this is important for us because it gives us an opportunity to reach more people and raise more money so that we are able to continue to provide services to those people who need it in Fulton, Montgomery, Hamilton and Saratoga counties,” she said. “We are already looking forward to doing this event again next year and making it bigger and better for all three groups.”

Cash prizes were awarded to Triple Crown winners (male/female) in the following age groups: 20 to 39; 40 to 59; and 60 and older. First place received $200, second place received $150 and third place received $100. Medals were awarded in the following age categories: 15 and younger; 16 to 19; 20 to 29; 30 to 39; 40 to 49; 50-59; 60 to 69; and 70 and older.

Race Director Todd Byrnes – standing outside the starting area and getting ready for the race Saturday morning – said the hope was each race would raise between $1,000 and $2,000. Registration fees were between $50 and $60 per participant.

Byrnes said 107 racers pre-registered Saturday, but with walk-ons, about 130 people were expected to participate.

Many people of all ages were getting ready to race, limbering up in the Partner’s Pub lot, especially those associated with the main groups involved.

“I’ve done a few runs,” said Ned Hirt of the town of Amsterdam, a Lexington employee. “I think the 5K runs are a lot of distance for a lot of people to accomplish.”

But Hirt said he was going to try to participate in all three races.

“It’s a very good race,” said Christine Eaton of Johnstown, as she prepared to run.

All Triple Crown entries were automatically entered to win prizes that included a mountain bike, box seats for a day at Saratoga Race Course, a whitewater rafting trip, two seats at a New York Giants game and more.

Single race registration for the remaining races is available at 5ktriplecrown.racewire.com.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.