Yorktown 'Strides For Sandy Hook' 5K Honors Newtown

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More than 200 runners and walkers participated in the Strides for Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella
More than 200 runners take part in a 5K walk/run to benefit the Newtown Park Gift Fund at FDR Park in Yorktown Heights. The Taconic Road Runners Club raised approximately $5,000. Photo Credit: briandailyvoice
26 green and white balloons were released into the sky to honor the lives lost Dec.14 in Newtown, Conn. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella
Sean Kelly, who organized the 5K, speaks to the participants before they begin. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella
Runners trying to stay warm at the starting line. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella
More than 200 runners and walkers participated in the Strides for Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella
The Strides for Sandy Hook 5K raised more than $5,000 for a memorial playground in Newtown, Conn. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – On a frigid Saturday morning, more than 200 runners and walkers participated in Taconic Road Runners Club’s “Strides for Sandy Hook 5K.”

More than $6,000 was raised through entry fees and donations, with all of it going directly to a memorial playground in Newtown, Conn., in honor of the 26 lives lost Dec. 14.

Runners initially were going to join a 5K race in Newtown, but the organizers there said the event grew too large. They then encouraged groups to have satellite races in their hometowns.

“We wanted to do something for Sandy Hook in Newtown, but we couldn't get the permits for the amount of people we had running,” said Taconic Road Runners Club member Sean Kelly.

It was Kelly, along with his friend, Jack Duffy, who initially got the event put into motion.

“Today is about the normal person being able to grieve and support what happened by coming together,” Kelly said. “I have three kids myself, and, just like everyone else, I can only imagine what those families are going through.”

Prior to Saturday morning, Kelly had 120 registered participants and estimated 150 to be the final number. However, after almost 100 last-minute participants signed up, the final number came in at more than 200.

“I read about it on the Road Runners website and it just felt like the right thing to do,” said Yorktown resident Debra Scales. “This will be my first 5K, so it’s a pretty good introduction into running. Even if it is really cold.”

Kelly spoke to all the runners and walkers at the starting line just before the 5K began, thanking them for coming out and informing them how much money was raised. Just before participants took off, 26 white and green balloons were released into the sky to honor each life lost.

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