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Kopac's Corner

June 12 Miles of Hope Family Fun Road Race

by Bob Kopac

Saturday, June 12, 2004 is the date for the inaugural MHRRC Miles of Hope family fun road race to benefit the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation. Recently I talked with first-time race director Lori Cassia-Decker.

Q: Why should someone participate in this race?

A: Breast cancer is a serious disease that affects many families in the Hudson Valley. 100% of the funds raised by this race for the benefit of the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation remain in the Hudson Valley. This foundation is a not-for-profit organization established in 2003. The foundation provides programs and support services for women and families in the Hudson Valley affected by breast cancer. [See the http://www.milesofhopebcf.org/ web site for more information.]

Q: Is the race for runners only?

A: Walkers are also welcome. In addition, this as a family fun race. There will be events for children also.

Q: What are the directions to get to the race?

A: From the Taconic Parkway, go east on Route 44 to Route 44A. Go left on Route 44A to the field house at the Institute for Ecosystem Studies, which is the first entrance on Route 44A on the left from Route 44. [Note: the races do NOT start at the Cary Arboretum, where a past MHRRC race used to be held.]

Q: What time do the races start?

A: 9AM: 10K. 9:15AM: 5K. 10AM: 1/2 mile event for kids 4-12 years old, and a "Little Treks" event for kids 2-4 years old.

Q: What is the race fee?

A: Free if you raise $100 or more. 5K: $15 by 6/5/04, $20 race day. 10K: $20 by 6/5, $25 race day. Kids: $5 by 6/5, $8 race day. Little Treks: FREE.

Q: If anyone wants to volunteer at the race, whom should he or she contact?

A: Contact Lori Cassia-Decker at (845)635-1044. There will also be a meeting of volunteers at 7PM on June 3 at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Route 9D in Wappingers Falls,NY before the regular MHRRC meeting.

Q: Why did you pick the Institute for Ecosystem Studies as the place for the race?

A: It is a beautiful setting. The 10K will be held on the grounds of the Institute. Plants and trees will be in full bloom, so it will be a very picturesque race setting-a beautiful, peaceful environment to run in, from dirt roads to paved paths, ponds, just beautiful. The 5K will be on the roadway to provide a fast, flat course.

Q: What additional support are you getting from others?

A: I have received great support from the NYS Troopers Trooper K barracks. Lori Quinlan from the IES has been super. I also I have received much support from MHRRC president Paul Cassitto and from Vince Ferreri, as well as from MHRRC race directors Rich and Marisa Hanson, Vince Veltre, and Pete Sanfilippo.

Q: What about sponsors?

A: The sponsors have been fantastic! Polar Heart Monitors donated high-end heart-rate monitors for the 2 people who raise the most money. Adriane Conrad of North River Abstract Corporation donated $1500. ABC Awards, Sign, and Printing Incorporated donated the flyers, trophies, and mile markers. Dr. Haithem Ennabi from Quality Dental Care, PC of Wappingers Falls, NY donated $250 for a water station, as did LaStina Renewed Image Salon in Mahopac, NY, which handles wigs for cancer victims. Also, for $50 anyone can sponsor mile markers in memory of or in or honor of individual(s).

Q: How does one get a race form?

A: Go to http://www.mhrrc.org/mhrrcraces.html for a form in Microsoft Word format or http://www.milesofhopebcf.org/100milesroadrace.pdf for form in Adobe Reader format. Hardcopy forms are available at Crush Fitness on Route 55 next to Arlington High School.

Q: What awards are being offered?

A: There will be trophies for overall winners and for age-categories. All little Treks will get ribbons. T-shirts are guaranteed for the 1st 100 pre-registrants.

Q: What are the race day refreshments and goodies?

A: Adams Fairacre Farms is donating fresh fruit. Millbrook is donating ice cream cones for the children. The Tuccillo Family is providing bagels and cream cheese. There will be a drawing for health club memberships, lunch certificates & dinners for 2.

A: Q: How long have you been a runner? Why do you run? Why did you decide to direct this race?

A: I have been running for 5 years. I wanted to run a marathon by the time I was 40. A little boy I know had bone cancer, and my mother had breast cancer. The NYC Marathon had Fred's Team [to raise funds for cancer], so that was something I really wanted to do. I ran the 2000 NYC Marathon after 6 months of training. I am a fitness trainer, so I had a base on which to build. Running was a lot harder than I imagined, but inspirational. Running opened up a whole new world for me. The runners I have met have been so positive. I became a race director because I feel you have to give back, and I have been so blessed. My mother was a breast cancer survivor. I want to do what I can for women and families in a similar situation.