A small group of Katonah volunteers has come together to bring back the Katonah 5K road race, first hosted by the Katonah Chamber of Commerce in 2001 and on what would have been its ten-year anniversary.
Chamber officials then cited “difficult economic times” and the associated with the event as its main reasons for not staging the run, which served as a kickoff for its annual Sidewalk Sales event.
Now a planning committee has devised a route winding through the Katonah Memorial Park, cutting police costs in half and providing a staging area and amenities before and after the race, say organizers.
“We feel we’ve done good homework,” said Katonah Memorial Park Association President, Anne Hanley, who led a three-person speakers bureau at Tuesday night's town board meeting that also included Michael P. Berardino and Frank Greene, a veteran road runner. The trio presented their support for the race, which the board approved, 5-0, subject to the committee obtaining necessary insurance, and parks, highway and police signoff for reduced costs.
This year’s renewal of the run, held on the weekend marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11, will be an opportunity to “celebrate and remember,” said Berardino. “I’m excited to partner with the community, bring visibility to the park and celebrate our country,” he told Patch.
The KMPA plans to plant a tree on race day and is exploring creating a plaque to honor the lives of local residents who lost their lives on 9/11.
The idea to run the race through the Katonah Memorial Park first came about during a public forum on the Greene, a local architect, first suggested it as a way to host a less expensive race and take advantage of the park’s resources. Berardino, an insurance agent and community member active with both the chamber and the Katonah Village Improvement Society, later followed up with Hanley on the idea, and the trio met with town officials to develop a proposal.
“Runners will be able to use the pool house—including bathrooms, lockers and showers—which wasn’t an option when the race ended in town,” said Anne Hanley, president of the Katonah Memorial Park Association. “Plus the course will include a trail component, bringing in some interesting terrain for runners.”
Hanley said the race budget typically hovered around $5,000, which covered such costs of shirts, bibs and course timing. In 2010, the budget doubled when community groups were informed by the town they would need to cover police and highway cleanup costs. But with the park route, police coverage should be halved, to about $2,500, bringing the total race budget to about $7,500 this year.
With entrant fees taken into account, the group needs to raise about $5,000 in sponsorships. KVIS has already agreed to sign on as a sponsor, said Susan Warsaw, KVIS co-president. “We feel that it is an important event for Katonah and if falls under our mission,” she said, noting that the board plans to volunteer on the day of the event. “This will be a wonderful event for the community and hopefully something that can be held annually.”
Patch freelancer Tom Bartley contributed to this report.