To have a good time, run a compact course, participate in a community race—these are all some of the reasons why runners choose to participate in the "Run for the Hills" road race, now in its third year.
"It's just a lot of fun," said Mike Perry, a pharmacist at in Katonah. "My finishing time isn't important—I do it to get out, see people I know and get some exercise."
Perry, who now lives in Shenorock but is a former Bedfordite of many years, is returning to the race for the second year in a row and is already gearing up for the toughest part of the course.
"You start out uphill, and then flatten but have another hill going up Buxton Road—that double hill is tough," he said.
This year, organizers looked into having the course run in reverse in order to have the finish line in Depot Plaza. After the logistics became too difficult to iron out, the course remained as it has since 2010—a route that is challenging, but do-able for runners of all ages, according to Janet Jacobsen, BHNA officer.
"We actually have a lot of young kids come out, which is so encouraging," she said, adding that this year they will have a special acknowledgement of the younger runners.
The 5K derives its name from the town, of course, and the steep inclines that runners traverse between the Depot Plaza start and the finish line on Babbit Road. For a full description of the course, read a review by, here.
Jacobsen said the planning was going smoothly thanks to a dedicated committee including Annette Vessechia, Jen Hopf, Liz Walsh, Paula Wallace and Bonnie LaRaus.
Co-sponsored by the town's recreation and parks department, the race is also supported by local merchants and Pow'r Against Tobacco, a community coalition dedicated to reducing smoking in Putnam, Orange, Westchester and Rockland counties.
Online registration is available with a race fee of $20 until this Thursday at midnight. Registration forms may also be printed from the BHNA website and dropped off at or . After that, particpants can register on site for $25. Volunteers will be on-hand by 7:30 a.m. to set up and register runners. Parking will be available in the train station commuter parking lot.
Last year's top finishers completed the course in under 20 minutes—Nicholas Viglione was the first male to cross at 17 minutes, 44 seconds and Michele Vasquez was the fastest female, winning the honor in 22 minutes. Over 250 runners participated last year and organizers are expecting a similarly-sized field on Saturday.
Jacobsen said the BHNA is ready for this event and busy planning the rest of their 2012 calendar. After Run for the Hills will be the hamlet's clean up days, coinciding with the Town of Bedford's clean up weekend on May 5. Fall festivities include a pool party, Octoberfest and a Turkey Shootout—with the community tree-lighting rounding out the year.
The group also implemented their first event this year, in which members and locals donated home-baked goods and delivered them to seniors on Valentines Day.
"It was such a small gesture but we heard amazing feedback from the recipients," she said. "It was a great day to be in Bedford Hills."