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“When you get a chance to go for your personal best, that’s what runners love,” said Jamestown’s Dave Reinhardt, once again serving as organizer and chief enthusiast for the now famous, Lucy Town Half Marathon & 5K runs. A half Marathon stretches a runner just a few strides beyond 13.1 miles.
Among USA Track & Field certified events, Lucy Town is quickly becoming a top destination for Lucy fans, recreational runners and elite athletes alike. “This is a certified race,” Reinhardt said, “and that really matters.”
“The most amazing experience for a runner is that there is somebody out cheering you on all along the way,” Reinhardt said. He knows. Dave Reinhardt ran the NYC Marathon in 2015 along with 52,000 other runners who ran the full Marathon of 26 miles, 385 yards. “My one wish for our community this year is, if you can’t participate or volunteer in some way, find a spot along the way and cheer on the runners. Make sure everybody experiences a real ‘Jamestown Welcome’.”
“Think about picking a spot along Jones and Gifford, for example,” Reinhardt suggested. “It’s probably the road Lucy herself took every time she came to Jamestown, but it is a long, lonely stretch for a runner.”
On October 7 to 9, Columbus Day weekend, Jamestown will once again welcome 350 to 400 runners for the 4th annual Lucy Town Half Marathon & 5K. Last year’s entrants traveled from more than a dozen states, as far away as Carlsbad, CA and Jacksonville, FL, and from Ontario, Canada.
Every year, Lucy Town honors the Queen of Comedy by inviting the nation’s top comics to share the town’s welcome with its visiting long distance runners. For Lucy Town’s first run in 2013, Jamestown hosted comedic headliner, Martin Short. The 2014 race welcomed comedian Bob Newhart and Jamestown wrote itself into the Guinness Book of World Records by recreating the iconic I Love Lucy grape stomping TV scene with 1,232 people – more than ever before, anywhere in the world – who treaded grapes in a vat as long as a city block. Last year featured veteran stand-up comedian and Emmy award-winner, Joy Behar.
This year, the 2016 Lucy Town Half Marathon weekend will welcome Tammy Piscatelli, a Top-5 star of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and a popular TV, talk show and movie comedy hit. Tammy takes to the Willow Bay Theater stage on Saturday evening, October 8.
The two main races, the 5K run/walk and the half Marathon, will be run the same as in previous years, but the Univera Kids 2K has been given a new, improved time and place.
On Saturday morning, at exactly 10:00 a.m., the Lucy Town 5K Run/Walk will step off at the Northwest Arena, with awards presented at race HQ on W 3rd St. between 11:30 and noon. On Sunday morning the half Marathon event begins at 9:00 a.m. beside the Northwest Arena with awards and the Lucy Town Half Marathon Post-Party from noon until 1:30.
Based on past years, however, race organizers learned that Saturday morning is an important time for many school and community activities. This created a conflict for the young runners who were eager to take part in the Kids Univera 2K. As a result, this year’s race has been moved to Sunday morning, starting at 9:30 right after the half Marathon runners, but from the corner of Cherry and 3rd Streets, with awards presented from 10:30 to 11:00 at race HQ.
The days when judges clicked stopwatches at finish lines have given way to electronics. Each registered runner will be issued a personalized RFID chip (radio frequency identification chip) in a shoe tag at the starting line. It will then automatically log the runner’s step across the finish line, accurate to a fraction of a second, according to Reinhardt. These times can be accepted as documentation to qualify for other US Track & Field events.
Race organizers will not be surprised to see last year’s best times beaten by this year’s field of runners, according to Reinhardt.
Last year’s race saw 387 registrants clock an average a pace of 10:20 per mile for an average finishing time of just over 2 hours, 15 minutes. The 1st place winning time, however, was clocked in by 25-year-old Greg Selke from North Chili, NY at 1:13:58 for a blistering 5:38 mile pace over the 13 mile course in the male category.
Trisha Byler, a 31 year old runner from Rochester, NY, finished first in the female category and 7th overall with a time of 1:26:44 and an average of 6:37/mile.
“More than 100 volunteers, our title sponsor for the fourth year, Univera, and the Lucy Desi organization have made this event a pleasure to plan again,” Dave Reinhardt said. “I want to specially thank Lou Depas of the Legend Group and a Lucy Desi board member, also Journey Gunderson, Lucy Desi executive director and once an avid long distance runner herself for many years, and Olivia Belter with Univera, our founding sponsor.”
“When an entire community experiences what it’s like to work together in creating an event like this,” Belter said, “it shows what a healthy community can really accomplish.” Jamestown’s WCA Hospital is also partnering with the Lucy Town race event by providing critical health and wellness care and oversight throughout and after the race, as needed.
“The police departments in Jamestown, Celeron and Lakewood have worked real hard with us, too,” Reinhardt said. “The race goes through all three towns and safety is paramount, for runners and drivers. We couldn’t do this without them.”
Not a Runner? Not a Problem!
Volunteers are still welcome throughout the race weekend, according to the Lucy Town Half Marathon website, to assist with registration, as course marshals, water station aides or simply in cheering on the runners. No experience necessary. Appropriately credentialed medical professionals, MDs, PTs, RNs, EMTs and others are also invited to support the half marathon. For additional information, contact David Reinhardt at email@example.com.
Net proceeds of the Lucy Town Columbus Day weekend event will benefit the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy. In addition, special provisions have been made for race supporters to make a contribution on behalf of a runner, volunteer, friend or loved one at http://runwithlucy.com/ under the “Register” tab.
Readers interested in volunteering can visit Lucy Town Half Marathon & 5K Headquarters at 319 W 3rd St., Jamestown, call 716-484-0800, Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact race organizer Dave Rheinhardt email@example.com.