by WILMA HURWITZ
for Montclair Local
While Memorial Day on May 28 is considered the official start of summer, in Montclair the season truly begins with the YMCA/MRCA 10K and 2-mile Montclair Run.
Always the first Sunday in June — June 3 this year — this annual tradition attracts participants from all over New Jersey and beyond.
“Since its inception in 1982, the race has been a partnership of Montclair Recreation and the YMCA of Montclair,” explained Pat Brechka, Montclair’s Recreation and Cultural Affairs director. “This year’s race is dedicated to the memory of former YMCA program coordinator Carol Kearney. She was my co-race director for over 30 years and was continually amazed at how the race grew over the years to 1400+ runners, walkers and volunteers.”
Buddy Evans, the YMCA of Montclair’s new President and CEO, welcomes this collaboration with the Township for this event and its special lifestyle value for the Montclair community.
“As a partner with the Montclair Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department in this community-wide event, our YMCA is especially proud of the fact that this run supports all three of our priorities in the community, healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.
“All proceeds from this Montclair event go towards scholarships for children and members to participate in special Y activities. As the new YMCA CEO, I too recognize the late Carol Kearney, a dedicated YMCA employee of 37 years, for setting the mark for event organization and volunteer resource coordination. We’re honored to have her husband Tony at the start of this year’s 2-Mile Family Fun Walk/Run.”
This race would not be possible without the support of over 100 volunteers.
Washima Redding, the YMCA of Montclair’s Senior Health and Wellness Director, heads up this year’s event with some important new procedures to make the day a delight for what could be 1,400+ participants.
“We’ve expanded in-person and online registration procedures, provided more hours for registrations/t-shirt pick-ups and we relocated everything in front of or inside the YMCA’s Park Street Branch. Like last year, volunteers will help direct runners on street corners, hand out water at the water stops, set up the food tent or work on preregistration. Many have worked with us for many years and recognize the importance and impact of giving back to our YMCA community.”
The race will take place rain or shine beginning with the two-mile fun run/walk at 8:30 a.m. The 10K USATF-certified run begins at 9:30 a.m. Registration and check-in for all races runs from 7 to 9 a.m. The cost to register is $39 (adult) and $32 (youth) for the 10K and $35 (adult) and $27 (youth) for the two-mile.
Participants can pick up their race packet, including their number and a T-shirt, at the YMCA of Montclair this Friday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; or Sunday beginning at 7 a.m.
While Edgemont Park is undergoing some construction, Pat Brechka tells the 10K runners to “rest assured that the pathways of the park will be completed in time for race day.”
The Montclair Run receives kudos from runners and walkers of all ages.
“My son Lucas (age 11) and I ran the race together last year,” said Joe Grisafi. “It was our first 10K. It was really special to run it together and to support such an important organization in our community as the Y. We’ve been training together to run it again this year.”
“I got involved with running the race in the last few years,” said Kevin Palek, a firefighter with the Montclair Fire Department. “I like that this YMCA of Montclair event supports community relations and local scholarships. For me, this promotes health, wellness and fitness which directly impact my career as a firefighter.”
Clara Maass Medical Center, a facility of RWJBarnabas Health, is this year’s lead sponsor. Also supporting this year’s event are three platinum sponsors – Metric Plumbing and Heating, Fette Ford and Fleet Feet Sports.
“Clara Maass Medical Center is always seeking ways to support our community as they pursue lifestyles of health and wellness. Like the Montclair Y, our support of the Fun Run this year reflects our desire to be available to help our community achieve good health.” said Mary Ellen Clyne, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Clara Maass.