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.