The Inaugural Western New York Veterans Day 5K Race was a smashing success!
Held on November 11 in Buffalo, New York at the Buffalo Naval & Military Park, the event attracted about 500 runners and walkers to honor veterans and support Soldiers' Angels. It was hosted by Buffalo Paradigm Co. in partnership with the Western New York Chapter of the Association of the US Army (AUSA).
Unseasonably warm and sunny weather in Buffalo led to same-day registrations doubling the number of participants, which included runners of a variety of ages and backgrounds. "We had soldiers, ROTC students, kids, retirees, family members, civilians, and many others running in this event," reported race coordinator and Western NY AUSA President Troy Steward. Runners who completed the course in combat boots or the civilian equivalent received a special gift, and every veteran who completed the race was given a red poppy. Each age-group winner received a set of Soldiers' Angels dog tags.
Funds raised through participation fees, raffles, auctions, direct donations (online and text-to-donate) and sales of Soldiers' Angels memorabilia are still being tabulated, but the total is expected to reach well into the thousands of dollars.
Enthusiasm among all involved was very high, including what Steward called "an army of volunteers" who assisted with race and fundraising management, and even lined the course to cheer on the runners and walkers. One race participant wrote on her blog, "I have run close to 70 races in the last 4 years – and this one sticks out. I would put it in my top ten...this was a great event - start to finish." Runner Kate Carpenter posted on the Run Facebook page, "Fantastic turnout, can't wait for next year...Very much enjoyed this course and all of the hype before and after! And on top of it all, our registration money goes to a fantastic cause."
With only two and a half months of planning time, a show of 500 participants exceeded expectations but the planners aren't slowing down. "I wish you guys could have been here to see it," Steward said. "Next year we are planning for 1000 and none of us think we will have a problem hitting that."
Congratulations to Troy Steward and his team for an amazing event!
Pictures courtesy of AUSA - click for more.