They gathered on a blustery October morning to participate in a 5K course meant for the general public: there were moms with baby strollers, ROTC students, grammar school students, middle-age adults, senior citizens, and, what looked like professional marathon runners.
The Malverne Educational and Fitness Foundation held its 10th annual “Run for Education” event this past Sunday to raise money for youth programs in Malverne, Lynbrook and Lakeview — and the event’s organizers couldn’t have been happier with the results.
“This is absolutely the most participants we’ve ever had for this race,” said Jan Kasal, president of the Foundation. Kasal, who has been running for decades, said that Island Timing, reported 256 participants but he felt it was more.
Despite the non-competitive nature of the race — Kasal emphasizes that the Foundation strives to include everyone to participate — it is always interesting to see who comes out first. That person was Gerald O’Hara, 50, who crossed the finish line with a time of 16 minutes and 57 seconds. The first female was Maggie Maier, 12, a student at Long Beach Catholic High School, who crossed the finish line with a time of 20 minutes and 35 seconds. Maggie, whose dad is from Malverne, has been running for several years.
Participants weren’t only limited to the immediate areas surrounding school district 12. Eleven-year-old Madison McDonald, who hails from Brooklyn, came in to participate as well. “I heard about this through my coaches, who encouraged me to join,” she said. Madison finished with a time of 20 minutes and 40 seconds, and followed immediately after Maier.
Cheering in the crowd was extra loud for a group of ten ROTC students from Hofstra University, donned in full-dress camouflage, and carrying 45 pounds of gear on their backs. “We regularly run together three days a week around the perimeter of Hofstra,” said ROTC student James Quaile. Those runs include the gear.
The group of men ran the race as a unit, as they do during their drills, and crossed the finish line with a time of 36 minutes and 43 seconds.
Although the Foundation did not yet know how much money it raised as of the newspaper’s close, Kasal said he was very happy with how smoothly the event ran this year. “We had plenty of food and water. Registration was much faster and everyone received t-shirts,” he said.
The Malverne Educational and Fitness Foundation still has two of its founding members involved as directors. They are Phyllis Wright of Lakeview and Charles Nanton of Malverne. Kasal, who has been volunteering for the Foundation for three years, is from Malverne.
“It was the foundation’s goal to have a race that involved the community instead of hosting a championship event,” said Kasal. “We are fundraising for the youth programs in the three areas served by our school district – not just for the school district itself,” he added. “We give grants and sponsor programs insight and outside of the public schools in Lynbrook, Lakeview and Malverne.”