When this year’s Annual Lt. Thomas Clesse 5K Run occurs, another American hero who served his country with distinction will also be honored.
The 17th Annual Lt. Thomas Clesse 5K Memorial Run remembers, as it does every year, one of the 49th Precinct’s finest officers and memorializes the events of September 11th 2001 when it takes place on Pelham Parkway on Saturday, September 8.
Clesse had a 32-year career with the NYPD and was assigned to the four-nine, when he passed away from cancer in 2002.
The race goes from Eastchester Road to White Plains Road, said event coordinator, Joe Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president, with the part of the parkway temporarily closed to traffic.
Participation is $20 per racer, with children under 13-year-old participating for free, and racers receiving participation medals and T-shirts, said Thompson.
Interested runners will meet at 49th Precinct at 2121 Eastchester Road at 9 a.m. the day of the race, he said, adding prizes will be given to the top three participants both over and under 50-years-old.
This year, the charitable race that supports the Patrolmen Benevolent Association’s Widows and Children’s Fund, will pay homage to recently deceased U.S. Senator John McCain, said Thompson.
He said McCain put his country above his party on many occasions as an elected officials and was a Prisoner of War during the Vietnam War for five years, refusing to leave the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ even when he was offered early release because he followed a military code of honor dictating the first captured was the first to be released.
“To me he is a true American hero,” said Thompson. “I cannot think of a better person to dedicate the race to.”
Joseph Kelleher, Simone Metro Properties president, said that his company sponsors the race every year because the 49th Precinct does a great job servicing its Hutchinson Metro Center and that many at the company have close ties to the tragic events of September 11th 2001.
“We are all about supporting our local police and what they do to support the community, the businesses that thrive here and the people who live here,” said Kelleher, adding that he was delighted when he heard that the 5K would pay homage to McCain.
Kelleher said that he participates in the race, and that he believes it is great to run down Pelham Parkway when it is closed to traffic, and think about all of the sacrifices made by our military and police officers.
Deputy Inspector Thomas Alps, 49th Precinct Commanding Officer referenced, in a statement, Clesse’s great rapport with the community he policed, and said that the precinct looks forward to the event every year.
“Lt. Thomas Clesse was a fixture at the 49th Precinct not only to the members of service he worked beside, but to the community as a whole,” stated Alps. “At the 49th Precinct we are so proud of the relationship we have with our community and it’s because of people like Lt. Clesse that paved the way and helped sculpt the relationships that the precinct has with our community still today.”