Low turnout, but high donations at 9/11 race

Although attendance was down at the 49th Precinct’s Annual 9/11 Memorial 5k Run this year, donations were not, thanks to the generosity of those that came.

Nearly 70 people ran in this year’s event, which was held on Saturday, September 11. That number is a drop of about 20 people from last year, when nearly 90 attended.

Donations, however, stayed steady at about $1,200, which went to the widows and orphans of fallen police officers.

“I guess attendance fell because the event fell on the actual anniversary,” Victor DiPierro, community affairs officer with the precinct, said. “Maybe some people had other memorials they went to or they went downtown, but a lot of people gave a little extra money this year, so we raised the equivalent.”

At about 10 a.m., the runners gathered at the precinct on Eastchester Road and ran from Pelham Parkway South, up to White Plains Road and then back again to Eastchester Road.

Kathleen Reilly came in first in the women under 50 category, beating out Serita Chalen, who placed second, and Julie Early, who placed third.

Reilly was also the overall winner in the race.

Steve Guglielino placed first in the men over 50 category, and had the second fastest time in the race overall.

John Rau placed second in the men over 50 category, and Mike Donavan placed third.

In the 50 and under men’s category police officer Kenneth Rodriquez came in first. Lieutenant Mike O’Riordan came in second and Lieutenant Steve Russo placed third.

“We had a great mix of residents and police officers,” said Community Council president Joe Thompson. “It was great, and a lot of kids came out to run and everyone loved it.”

According to Thompson, the event is less of a race and more of a chance for community members to get together to remember the victims and Lieutenant Thomas Clesse, a longtime member of the force and a Bronxite who passed away from cancer in 2001.

The first race was held in 2002 as a way to honor the beloved officer, but after 9/11 the race became a memorial event. Runners pay $20 dollars to participate, and all proceeds go to the widows of orphans of fallen officers.

Thompson said he hoped that next year’s event will drawn a larger crowd, since it will be held on September 10 and will also mark the historic 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

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