Several months of planning culminated on Sunday when hundreds of runners joined together outside McVey Elementary school in East Meadow to participate in a festive 5K race and 1-mile fun run.
The event, spearheaded by McVey phys.-ed. teacher Michael Simone, was an inaugural race aimed to promote health and wellness in the local community. In total, 270 people competed in the 5K race, and another 100 ran the fun-run. “It went 100 times better than I could have ever imagined,” said Simone. “Everybody kept coming up to me right after they were done, and saying how great of a community event this was.”
Joseph Redmond, 33, of Rockaway Park, finished first overall in the 5K, at 19 minutes, 35 seconds. Lisa Guerriero, of Rockville Centre, was the top finisher among women, clocking in at 23 minutes, 7 seconds.
Simone said Redmond, a tri-athlete and competitive runner, praised him for organizing a successful race, going as far as telling him, “I would never guess this was your first event,” Simone said. “It was one of the most festive and organized events I’ve ever run.”
Though most runners hailed from East Meadow, many also came from various parts of Nassau and Suffolk County, Queens and one runner — fourth-place finisher Ryan Stelling — traveled all the way from Acton, Mass.
Josh Friedman, the athletic director of Clarke High School, who organizes the school’s annual Run with the Rams 5K in the spring, also competed, finishing 20th overall.
After the race, Simone said most people stuck around in the back of the school, enjoying music provided by a DJ from Dreamcatcher Entertainment, a bouncy castle courtesy of Party Pieces, Inc., and free food from Bagelicious and Moe’s Southwest Grill.
Simone said that school officials are still tallying the total amount of money raised on the day, which will subsequently be donated to the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Mineola.
Simone credited the day’s success to the McVey faculty, with a special thanks to Jessica Klide, an English as a Second Language teacher in the district. But most of all, he expressed his gratitude to the East Meadow community. “Having grown up in this town,” he said, “it was just great to see how much support their actually was.
It was really something special to watch,” he added.
To view the full race results, visit http://www.2013.island-timing.com/mcvey.html.