On a spectacularly beautiful Saratoga morning, hundreds of racing fans turned out to support New York backstretch charities and get a little exercise in this morning’s Fasig-Tipton 5k to benefit the Belmont Child Care Association, the Backstretch Education Fund, Backstretch Employees Service Team, and the Racetrack Chaplaincy.
I went into this morning’s race with no hope of matching last year’s not terribly impressive time of 27.44 (ish—I don’t remember exactly). I had been training poorly and infrequently (though Allen Jerkens did offer some advice when he saw me just after a run earlier this week), and my timed runs offered few indications that I’d break the 30-minute mark.
Gathering at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion before the race was a hearty crowd: among those who turned out for the race were trainer Rick Schosberg; Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation executive director for external affairs Diana Pikulski; a slew of Saratoga Special Clancys; Backstretch friends and readers Rich & Kathy from Massachusetts and Kim from Virginia; the Belmont Child Care Association’s Stuart Chenkin; the Gazette’s Mike MacAdam; racing blogger Robert from They’re in the Gate.
For the first time in my running life, I ran without headphones, and it was rather disconcerting, particularly at the halfway point and beyond. Do I, I wonder, sound like those people around me? The ones breathing so heavily that they sound like they might expire? I don’t know what worried me more: that I too might sound like demise was imminent, or that one of them would fall over and I’d have to become a steeplechase jumper to avoid a fallen rival.
An essentially good trip was not without its trouble spots: I nearly ran up the heels of a 7-year-old, but she stayed upright, and around here, I knew that I didn’t have to worry about my number getting taken down. Around the ¾ pole, I had to go three wide around a six-year-old and his family members, losing precious ground.
But along the way, friends and supporters turned out, offering encouragement, and special thanks to MacAdam, who, as I was doing my pathetic interpretation of a sprint to the finish along George St., caught my eye and urged me on. I don’t know what the final time was, but I think it was a little less than 28 minutes, more than satisfactory—in fact, for me, highly pleasing.
Today, the Belmont Child Care Association is the featured community group of the New York Racing Association. A number of NYRA employees turned out to volunteer at the run this morning, and until 6 pm today, the BCCA is offering t-shirts for a $10 donation near the jockeys’ silks room, just a few steps beyond the horse path if you come in the main Union Avenue gate. Huge thanks to everyone at NYRA for their support.
And BCCA fundraising continues through August. This Tuesday, August 10th, come to the Crush & Cask wine and spirits store at 170 South Broadway for a wine tasting; all donations go the BCCA. In the words of the advertising, drink well AND do well!
Two days later, on August 12th, the folks at Chianti II Ristorante at 18 Division St. are donating a generous 30% of dinner checks to the BCCA. Eat well and do well!
And on August 25th, the BCCA will hold its annual major fundraiser of the year, a benefit, live auction, and silent auction at the Gideon Putnam Hotel. It’s a down-home rodeo this year, honoring John and Leona Velazquez and D. Wayne Lukas for their support of Anna House. The dress is Western casual, which means that you can wear jeans! Tickets are $250.
We are still accepting silent auction items, so you can help by donating an item, an experience, or a service, and we need volunteers the evening of the event.
If you’d like to help, you can contact the BCCA directly or e-mail me, at the address listed under the “contact information” tab at the top of the page.
And now, I’m off to stretch a some protesting hamstrings…oh, and Crazy Catlady worked out this morning, so that made two of us.