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Group organizes first run

October 28, 2002|by Tony Mulieri

It's amazing what people can get done when they put their minds to it.

When a few Hagerstown YMCA members found out that the annual Vince Tantillo Run wouldn't be held this year, they put their heads together and came up with their own event - the Run for Your Life 5K - which will be held next Saturday at Marty Snook Park in Halfway. The race starts at 9 a.m.

The Tantillo event was to be held Sept. 21, but had to be canceled when the logistics for the annual race couldn't be determined at the Y's new location on Eastern Boulevard. It is hoped that it can be revived next year.

In the space of just a few weeks, a local organization known as Hagerstown Runs found cosponsors - the Washington County Recreation Department and the YMCA - nailed down a location and mapped out the race and even set up its own Web Site at hagerstownruns.com.

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Several local organizations and businesses have agreed to sponsorships for prizes and T-shirts. The proceeds will benefit Hospice of Washington County.

It's not often that a new running event crops up in Washington County. The running craze of the 1970s and '80s kind of ran its course and most running events now seem to be geared more for the seasoned runners.

But this one is being billed to promote physical fitness in the community. The organizers say runners and walkers are welcome to take on the 3.1-mile event that will wind its way around Halfway County Park on a relatively flat course.

Flat is good when it comes to these running events. I remember participating a couple of times in the Optimist 10K when it was held back in the '80s. The one thing I remember is that I felt like I had a refrigerator on my back as I tried to run up the hill behind City Park.

Flat is good. In fact, downhill would be better.

The Vince Tantillo race drew close to 300 participants, including many children, in years past. Vince would have been humbled to know a race had been named after him.

He was a Y board member who cared deeply about the YMCA. We used to dress in the same aisle at the old Y and often shared stories about our kids, sports and, quite frankly, anything that would put off the inevitable - hiking upstairs to hit the indoor track. Vince, who passed away in 1997, liked to run around the raised track and watch the kids playing basketball below.

I hope his race is picked up again next year. He was one of the really nice guys.

The Run for Your Life 5K is the first race organized by Hagerstown Runs. The group hopes to stage more running events in 2003.

Tara Amann has been the spark behind this new event as well as Hagerstown Runs committee members Terry Gearhart, Noel Kline, Steve Brigido and Sherrie O'Haver.

The group is hoping for a modest turnout Saturday since this is the first year for the event and there hasn't been much time to get the word out. They are accepting registration on race day.

If you were the daring sort, you could complete the Hagerstown Ironman of sorts on Saturday - participating in the Run for Your Life 5K in the morning and marching in the Alsatia Mummers' Parade that evening.

You'd sleep well on Sunday.

Tony Mulieri is managing editor of The Daily Mail. He can be contacted at 301-733-5131, extension 7647, or by e-mail at tonym@herald-mail.com.

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