MIDDLETOWN—On a clear Saturday morning, runners and volunteers sported orange t-shirts and North Street teemed with families, couples, and individuals ready to run, walk, or just watch the Aug. 20 Run 4 Downtown.
An estimated 500 runners and 125 walkers participated, according to organizer Dave Madden. Prize money went to the first six finishers regardless of gender.
“One of the things that makes our race unique is that the women start first,” Madden said. This year the women runners had a five-minute 13-second head start over the men.
Overall top finisher was Mike Chow of Wappinger Falls with a time of 21 minutes, 45 seconds. Highland Falls resident Andrew Bordash finished as top walker at 42 minutes, 29 seconds. April Ackermann of Cochecton was first to cross the finish line and was the top female runner with a time of 24 minutes, 51 seconds.
Dave stood at the finish line with his wife Anna to cheer every runner. “I’m equally excited to see the winner as I am to see the last walker come across that line,” he said. “Their arms are thrown up and they are happy and excited.”
This year family groups participated with many wearing “Family First” t-shirts. Over 60 members of the Welsh clan participated, according to 14-year-old runner Grace Welsh. “We are here to run as a family,” she said.
Team Val Bruni had walkers and runners with nieces, nephews, and daughters running, with himself and his in-laws among the walkers. Val Bruni’s sister Maria, director of the department of economic and community development, said she enjoyed walking the course.
Kimberly Keller stood near the start line to cheer her daughter Alaina, 7, who came in second in the 1-12 age group.
Karen and Frank Sheboy both ran. Frank’s goal was to break 35 minutes. He was close at 35 minutes, 54 seconds.
Diana Welch ran the race while dad Rick walked. “It’s competitive, but it’s nice exercise,” Rick said, “and it’s good for the town.”
Sponsors and Supporters
Volunteer groups and individuals supporting the runners and sponsors brought a fun time to the event. Cub Scout Pack 63 from Goshen handed out 200 water cups on the last leg of the race. Stan Labinsky communicated by two-way radio with other monitors along the race to help provide assistance where needed.
Dr. Jim Oxley, chief medical officer for corporate sponsor Orange Regional Medical Center, said Orange Regional has been a primary sponsor the last four years. “For our employees, for our docs, it’s a great opportunity to give back, to get out here and participate and have a great time every year.”
John Degnan, director of the Middletown Business Improvement District, said the BID supports the event every year. “Each year it gets a little more exciting.”
Students from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine helped runners after the race with massage and manipulation. Jerry Cammarata, chief operating officer and dean of student affairs at the college, said, “To have so many people in this community understand the value of wellness and what that does for an extended life I think is really, really cool.”
Vendors supported the Taste of the Town with ice cream, sushi, and other goodies. Taste of the Town brought in local food and beverage vendors who gave out samples.
The fire department put up a large American flag on Main Street and held out a sprayer for race finishers. By two in the afternoon, volunteers had cleared away all the equipment and litter.
Final results were compiled by Chronotrack Timing of SuperRaceSystems.
To run hard then have fun seemed to be everyone’s goal. “It’s a hard course,” Anna Madden, one of the organizers, said, “so I think people, when they’re finished, really feel an accomplishment.”
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