More than 2,000 Mighty Niagara Half Marathon and Hospice 5K Dash/Walk participants hit the pavement in Lewiston on Saturday, creating quite a view from Artpark all the way to Porter on the Lake, where finishers vied for cash prizes and trophies.
The Mighty Niagara Half Marathon is the largest run in Niagara County and the only run along the lower Niagara River and through Old Fort Niagara. It provides scenic and historic views all the way. Music played a part in the race, with different musicians placed along the route encouraging racers along with the many spectators who turned out for the event.
Runners came from as far as England, from all over Canada, and the U.S., including California, Montana, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Maine, Colorado, Texas and Washington. More than 100 teams were assembled to represent an organization or to run in memory of someone special.
Race Chairman Paul Beatty Jr. said: "We're ecstatic at the turnout of this year's race, (which) continues to grow each year since 2011. The weather was beautiful and provided a great day for the runners and family members who came out to watch and cheer."
"I am continually amazed at the support we receive from local businesses in the form of financial contributions, support of our Mighty Niagara Discount Card, and a wide range of services and in-kind donations," he added. "We especially thank Yahoo! for stepping up as our title sponsor, as well as the many fire and police personnel who ensured the safety of our runners."
The winner of the men's Mighty Niagara Half Marathon was Matthew Glynn of Buffalo. The Women's winner was Mindy Sawtelle-Zottola of Indiana, Pennsylvania. The men's winner of the Hospice 5K Dash/Walk was Martin Leff of Syracuse. The Women's winner was Stephanie Schmidt of Sanborn. Full race results can be found at www.itsyourrace.com/results.aspx?id=107.
The post-race party included music by Strictly Hip, food trucks and fun for the whole family. Both races fully benefit Niagara Hospice; no proceeds go to outside race organizers.
"Volunteers and staff make it happen every year," said coordinator Maureen Rizzo of the Niagara Hospice Alliance. "We could not put on an event of this size without the help of our many volunteers and local supporting agencies. Everyone went above and beyond; we truly appreciate all the terrific help we received."
Call 716-439-4417 or visit www.NiagaraHospice.org to learn more about hospice services.