By Ciara Dennehy and Joshua Blake
The first in a series of three 5K’s organized by the YMCA took place in Patchogue this Sunday, April 8 with a record of nearly 700 participants and all proceeds going to the Diabetes Prevention Program.
This is the 5th year that the YMCA has had a 5K walk/run for diabetes in Patchogue, but the first year that the Y has decided to expand this method of fundraising to other YMCA locations on Long Island. The series is made up of three races with three different organizations that will benefit. The 5K in Patchogue this weekend was the first in the series.
“Our sponsorship is going up this year,” Nancy Rettaliata, a member of the Patchogue YMCA Board of Directors and a major organizer for this event, said. “The total net raised last year was approximately $45,000 for this race alone.”
Since the first event iin 2013, the number of participants has increased 70 percent. The 5K walk/run on Patchogue’s waterfront has become increasingly popular over the past five years, that organizers of the event felt that expanding was inevitable.
“The race went on for two years before Nancy got involved,” Michael Souto, a member of the event committee and race participant, said. “They had about 90 people year one, 120 people year two. Year 3 she got involved and we got 456, so she tripled the participants and exponentially increased the sponsorships.”
That number has continued to increase every year. Last year there were 613 participants, and this year a record 620 were registered, but people were also able to register on the spot.
“The first year we were just looking for a fun run,” Executive Director of Patchogue’s YMCA, Donna Boyle, said.
“The second year we had a woman who just completed our diabetes prevention program, and she had lost all this weight, she felt so much better,” Boyle added.
“She did it and committed so we decided, you know what, this is a great cause.”
Advanced registration costs $25, $30 the day of, and $15 for children ages 8-16.
The next race will be near the Huntington YMCA location on April 22 with proceeds going to programs serving at-risk children [The Marcie Mazzola Foundation], and the final race will be near the Bayshore YMCA location on June 2, with all proceeds going towards breast cancer.
“Being that I live near the area, participating was a no brainer,” Elizabeth Frayler, a participant in the walk/run, said. “It’s a fun event, and while you’re exercising you know it’s benefitting a good cause.