BY REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — On Saturday, Sept. 19, Niskayuna Town Hall will be crowded with families in running sneakers, walking or jogging together for a favorite fall event.
The Fall Fun Run, which usually attracts more than 200 runners and even more social visitors, was originally established by Niskayuna’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. DARE was phased out and replaced by newer prevention methods, and the fun run disappeared with it.
Town Board member Julie O’Donnell said she ran for election shortly after DARE disbanded, and she often talked with residents who wished the fun run was still around. “Everybody really missed that race,” she said. This year marks the seventh time the town has hosted the revived race.
As in the past, this year’s race will involve three separate courses: a 100-yard dash for kids, a mile-long run/walk course, and a timed 5K.
The kids’ race and mile course are both free to enter, and every kid who participates in either one will win a prize.
Andrew Canavan, then 17, won the 5K race last year, with a time of 17:35. Madeleine Hesler was the top female finisher for the past two years, when she was 12 and 13. In 2014 her time was 21:49.
Running groups from around the community help support the Fun Run. One particularly involved group is Niskayuna Moms on the Run.
“The Moms on the Run have always had lots of help and participation,” O’Donnell said. “More recently I’ve pulled a couple of key people onto our race committee.
“Usually all the race marshals and everyone along the course are mom runners,” she continued. “Our photographer is also a runner. Many people participate in one way or another, or run.”
Running groups and clubs from the Niskayuna schools often make a showing at the event, too.
For those who register by 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, the 5K costs $25 per runner, or $50 per family. Same-day race registration costs $40 per runner or $75 per family.
All proceeds from the race go toward town programs, with a goal of keeping camps and other recreational activities inexpensive for families. Past races have raised as much as $10,000.
Other perks of running the race include free T-shirts for the first 200 registrants and prizes for top finishers in a number of categories.
For more information, or to register for the race, visit www.niskayuna.org or call 386-4526.