Lakewood YMCA Set To Host 16th Annual 5K Run, Walk

Participants in a previous edition of the Lakewood YMCA’s Amy’s Run 5K run and walk are pictured. The annual event is a Thanksgiving weekend tradition in Lakewood, with many of its participants coming in costume. Submitted photo

LAKEWOOD — Fifteen years after 29-year-old Amy King was killed in the tragic events that transpired on Sept. 11, 2001, the Lakewood YMCA still honors her memory in a fitting tribute to one of her biggest passions: Running.

The YMCA will host its 16th annual Amy’s Run 5K run and walk in the village of Lakewood at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, as part of the Chautauqua Striders 2016 “Runner of the Year” series.

A Celoron native, King was killed while working as a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 175, which took off from Boston and was bound for Los Angeles before it was hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists and flown into the south tower of New York City’s World Trade Center on 9/11. Those who knew her say she always enjoyed running since her time as an athlete at Southwestern High School.

“Of all the events I run, and I run a lot of them, this is probably the happiest one,” said Tom Anderson, branch manager of the Lakewood YMCA. “We just want to honor (King’s) life because she was a good person who loved kids and was always happy.”

In her memory, the Amy’s Run event has become an annual tradition on the weekend following Thanksgiving, during which hundreds of participants congregate — many in costume — at the Lakewood Community Center to run in King’s memory. The race takes place through the historic Lakewood district, and features a paved, generally flat route.

Participants will compete within divisions by age group: 10-14; 15-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; and 70 and over. Anderson said a new age group has been added for children 9 and under.

Also featured during the event is a costume contest — with a prize for the contestant voted “best dressed” — live music by Rod and Dee Welling and pizza catered by Honest John’s, which will be available to contestants upon completion of the race. The Amy King of the Hill race for children ages 3-10, which is free, will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Registration for the race is $30 in advance, and $35 for same-day registration. Advance registration will include a limited edition custom sweatshirt, which can only be guaranteed if forms are submitted by Friday. Race day late registration will be from 9-10:30 a.m. Checks should be made payable to the Lakewood YMCA and mailed to 183 E. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, NY 14750.

Proceeds from the Amy’s Run 5K benefit the “Amy King Kids YMCA Summer Camp Fund” and Southwestern Central School scholarships — for which Anderson said more than $150,000 has been given since the event’s inception. Sponsors for this year’s event include the Lakewood-Celoron Moose, Matric Group, the Marra family, the Gorrell family, Wegmans, the Mallory Foundation and the Dibert Foundation.

For more information, call the Lakewood YMCA at 763-0303.