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Into every life a little rain must fall, but for more than 1,400 runners who turned out for the Mighty Niagara Half Marathon and Hospice Dash 5K, that is an understatement.
Proving they certainly are "Mighty," the runners made the event a huge success, despite the rainy weather. This year marked the third year for the half-marathon and the fifth year for the Hospice Dash 5K, both held Sept. 21. This year's event drew the largest crowd to date and raised more than $100,000 for Niagara Hospice.
With the sounds of the MacKenzie Highlanders bagpipes at the starting line at Artpark, the half-marathon runners embarked on the beautiful course that took them through the Village of Lewiston, along Lower River Road, through Fort Niagara and Four Mile State Park, to the finish line party at Porter on the Lake Park in Youngstown.
The pre-race concert with Soul Committee, along with the live bands along the route, has become something the runners count on to motivate them.
"I want to thank the bands who came out to play along the course just to keep us runners in good spirits, it definitely worked," said runner Elisabeth Faughnan, who traveled from Binghamton for the race. The music continued at the post-race party with a concert by Strictly Hip. Thanks to the support of local businesses, the post-race party also included complementary food and drinks for the runners to enjoy.
Paul Nielsen of Orlando, Fla., was the overall half-marathon finisher with a time of 1:09:55. Trisha Byler of Rochester was the first female finisher with a time of 1:22:39. Each was awarded $750 and a trophy.
Trophies were also awarded to Hospice Dash winners Sean Squire, whose finish time was 18:01, and Amy Fakterowitz, who finished with a time of 19:33.
All proceeds from the race benefit Niagara Hospice. Next year's race is planned for Sept. 20, 2014.
To learn how you can support this event while supporting hospice care in Niagara County, call Maureen Rizzo at the Niagara Hospice Alliance at 716-280-0728. Visit www.MightyNiagaraHalfMarathon.com or www.HospiceDash.com for details and online race registration.