Charity 5K adapts to challenges of COVD-19


The race was founded by WNY Chapter Board of Directors President Maureen Griffin Tomczak in memory of her father, Mayor James “Jimmy” Griffin.The race was founded by WNY Chapter Board of Directors President Maureen Griffin Tomczak in memory of her father, Mayor James “Jimmy” Griffin.
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The annual Run Jimmy Run Charity 5K, organized for the past seven years to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Western New York, will go on this year but with some changes. Instead of gathering hundreds of runners in one location on one day, organizers are offering runners a choice of routes over a period of four days.

“The safety of our supporters, their families and our volunteers is the most important factor in our re-tooling of this great event,” said WNY Chapter Executive Director Jill Horner. “We think we’ve come up with a novel approach to allow this traditional 5K race to move forward, while still maintaining social distancing and other safety guidelines.”

Registered runners can choose from USA Track & Field-certified routes in the city of Buffalo, the Northtowns (Lewiston) and the Southtowns (East Aurora) or design their own anywhere they want to run in the eight counties of Western New York. Additionally, their time will be captured through an app for smart phones with top finishers earning a medal. Runs must be completed between midnight on Aug. 20 and 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 23.

The race was founded by WNY Chapter Board of Directors President Maureen Griffin Tomczak in memory of her father, Mayor James “Jimmy” Griffin. “My dad and mom were grateful to have the opportunity to live their lives in service to others. They understood the importance of recognizing a need, whether it was an individual need or that of a community, and finding ways to lend support, love, and usually a few laughs.” Dementia claimed the mayor’s life in 2008. 

Colleen Croce of Amherst was one of the first to register this year. She has been running almost every year since it began. “Run Jimmy Run is one of my favorite annual events. It’s a fun way to honor my dad, who we lost to Alzheimer’s disease in 2017.”  The entire Croce family has either run or volunteered at the event each year.

Since it began in 2013, the event has raised close to $100,000 for the Chapter. Those funds are used to provide free care and support for all impacted by dementia and to fund research to find ways to prevent, slow, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Registration is online at RunJimmyRunCharity5K.com. A 1K “fun walk” is also available and children can register at a reduced fee. Registered participants will get a commemorative dri-fit T-shirt and a goodie bag when they pick up their registration packets. Packet pick-up will take place on Saturday, Aug. 15 at Flying Bison Brewing Company (840 Seneca St., Buffalo) from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. At registration check-out, there is also an option to buy a Chiavetta’s chicken dinner available for drive-through take-out when they pick up their packets.

Corporate sponsors are encouraged to support the race. Information is available by calling Riley Harris at 322-2578 or Lynn Westcott at 241-0357.

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