AMSTERDAM — The 8th annual Thanks4Giving 5k Run/Walk and 1 Mile Walk held Thursday featured 246 participants, picture-perfect weather and a lot of gobbling noises made by turkey-themed runner Angie Rocklin.
Angie Rocklin, from Little Falls, wore a turkey-run T-shirt and turkey-tailfeather-rimmed glasses as she helped her 13-year-old niece, Olivia Sweet, of Fort Plain, cross the finish line at Tecler Elementary School on Thursday, with some assistance from her daughter-in-law, Kristen Rocklin.
“She torments the children, it’s kind of annoying,” Kristen quipped of her mother-in-law’s gobbling.
Angie explained why her family, which boasted a total of 14 runners total in Thursday’s race, has chosen to gather in Amsterdam for the annual Thanks4Giving 5k Run for the last four years.
“Our family is kind of spread out [living in different parts of the region], and this is kind of central for us,” she said. “It’s just fun. It’s a good way to start Thanksgiving together, but then we kind of separate. That’s why we do this together, because everybody goes to different areas for dinner.”
The annual run/walk is organized by former Montgomery County Supreme Court Judge Joe Sise and his wife, Robin. The event serves as a fundraiser for Amsterdam native Dr. Tom Catena and his mission work at the Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan.
“He’s basically building a healthcare system out there. He’s the only doctor for over 700,000 people in that war-torn area,” Robin said.
After the conclusion of Thursday’s race, Robin said they weren’t yet certain exactly how much money was raised for the 8th edition of the event, in part because registration fees are only part of the fundraiser; additional donations, which are typically generous, come in from sponsors.
“We probably raised close to $20,000 this year,” Joe said, after handing out the trophies and medals to the top finishers in different age and gender categories. “We’ve raised about $250,000 total over the eight years. The first year we did it, we thought if we got 100 people and raised $5,000, that would be great, but we had 700 and we raised $47,000.”
Robin said she was impressed with the turnout for the run Thursday, despite not having done much promotion for the event. She said it’s become an annual community tradition for a lot of people, which was also part of the goal when she and Joe first decided to organize the 5k run after attending similar runs in Schenectady for years.
“We said, ‘This makes no sense, why are we driving all of that way? Why not do something closer to home,'” she said. “It’s become a community gathering. There’s a feeling of everybody coming together, which is nice, and with the run you’re doing something healthy before you go and eat dinner.”
The total number of calories a person will burn running or walking a 5k course will depend on multiple factors, including their speed and their weight, data that can be entered into the online calories burned calculator on the website caloriesburnedhq.com. A runner weighing 150 lbs running at about 6 minutes per kilometer would burn about 350 calories, or about 11.6% of the 3,000 calories contained in the typical American Thanksgiving meal, according to the Calorie Control Council.
Runners at the race also received a complimentary egg and sausage sandwich, prepared by former city of Amsterdam 3rd Ward Alderman Art Iannuzzi.
“This event is all about bringing the community together,” Iannuzzi said, as he worked the outdoor grill.
Joe Sise said the Thanks4Giving 5k run was originally designed by the Fulmont Road Runners Club with an eye towards safety, but also physical and mental endurance.
“We wanted it to be in and around Shuttleworth Park, so it’s more of a closed course, and the only time we’re out of the park is a short stint up on Midline Road and a short stint up on Northern Boulevard,” he said.
While Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith and his deputies provided security for the run, his secretary, Ericka Barrantes, of Fonda, came in second for her age group in the race, even though she’d never run the course before.
“It was rough, it was tough,” Barrantes said after the race. “I’ve been running and practicing, but definitely have not practiced on hills, and there were two hills. They were a bit steep, but I survived them.”
Joe Sise said the two hills were strategically placed in the course to provide a challenge to even the most experienced road runners.
“Yes, the first one can be labeled ‘heartbreak ridge,’ as you climb up onto Midline, and then climbing the hill back up to the school you’re two miles into the race, and it really is a test of strength,” he said.
The top three finishers for the men’s division Thursday were: Myles Anderson, 21, Johnstown, (17:41), Jason Martuscello, 34, New York City, (17:51), and Aiden Butler, 14, Tribes Hill, (18:37).
The top three finishers for the women’s division were: Meghan Mortensen, 37, Glenville, (19:28), Isabella Miller, 16, Fonda, (21:21), Avery Crain, 14, Hagaman (23:04).
A complete list of all of the runners’ times and how they finished in their gender and age divisions is available at runsignup.com/Race/NY/Amsterdam/Thanks4givingRun.