February 18, 2013
Race benefits hospital
Inaugural event put on by Cortland Memorial Foundation
A light snow fell Saturday morning as about 300 people walked or ran through Cortland for their own health and as a tribute to Cortland Regional Medical Center’s foundation.
The inaugural Feel the Love 5-kilometer run and 3-kilometer walk brought out beginners and veterans alike, kicking off what Debbie Nadolski, Cortland Memorial Foundation director, hopes will become another way to reach the public.
The foundation raises money for equipment and technology, as well as scholarships for high school students headed for college in health careers.
Nadolski said the race was not designed to raise money but to broaden the foundation’s base of supporters and possible donors.
The runners began at the intersection of Alvena and Copeland avenues and proceeded up Alvena, past the medical center, to Homer Avenue, turning left and following a route to Fisher Avenue and along Route 281. The walkers began on the same spot, after the runners had headed out, and followed a route down Wheeler Avenue.
Volunteers, many of them high school students who are part of the medical center’s youth volunteer program, directed both sets of people as they braved cold temperatures.
There were nine age divisions for male and female runners, with medals for the top three in each division.
Race director Jarrod Kolodziejczyk, the medical center’s director of volunteer services, said it is not unusual to have a 5K road race in the winter, there are simply few around this region.
“Serious runners try to find a 5K at least once a month,” he said. “Some do 20 to 24 races in a year.”
Kolodziejczyk said the idea was to show the public that the medical center has dimensions beyond treating the sick and injured, it promotes health and wellness. Its education programs reach the public in such health issues as diabetes and heart care.
“We thought, why not do it near Valentine’s Day? It’s a perfect time,” he said. “And we don’t compete with other road races in the area.”
Lorrie Fitzgibbons, 52, of Freeville said before the race that her goal this year is, coincidentally, to run one road race per month. She said she began running a year ago to improve her health.
“I run every other day, at least five miles, sometimes on roads at Cornell University,” she said. “I did a 5K in January, in Cazenovia. I’ve lost 47 pounds and my blood pressure is back to normal.”
Paul Darcangelo, 49, of Rome ran with his son Nick, 21, a senior at SUNY Cortland.
The two began running road races together about four years ago, with the Boilermaker race in Utica, which is 15 kilometers.
Paul Darcangelo said he runs two to three miles per day. Nick has been a runner since he was 15 and now competes in triathlons, so his training consists of 40 miles on a bicycle, 40 miles of running and 800 meters of swimming, on different days.
Nadolski said the Cortland Memorial Foundation is in its 35th year. It raised about $250,000 in 2012, plus it has endowments for such things as scholarships and equipment. She said it has given 125 scholarships worth $500,000 over the years.
The foundation’s fundraisers include a golf tournament, which will be played for the 10th time this summer and raised $650,000 during its first nine years.
“But today is not about fundraising, it’s about ‘friend raising,’ “ she said.
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