More than 800 runners gathered at Long Branch Park in Liverpool Saturday for the14th Annual Arc Race, one of Arc of Onondaga's most important annual fundraisers.
The race, which included a 5K, a half marathon and a 3K "fun" walk, also offered more than $8,000 in prizes, live music, a petting zoo and family activities. Despite the clouds and Hurricane-related drizzle, the 2008 race drew more runners and corporate sponsors than any of the previous 13 races.
"All around, it's a banner year," said Arc representative Michael Kieloch. "This is the best and biggest race we've ever had."
Kieloch said the race is one of Arc's two most successful annual fundraisers, along with a dinner in June.
Of the more than 200 volunteers on hand during race day, many were veterans of the event.
Melanie Richardson, a Cicero resident, was volunteering for her thirteenth year, and said she "just always enjoyed doing it." Richardson is a parent of an Arc client and was volunteering in the concession stand on Saturday.
Volunteer area coordinator for the stand was Barb Kimber, and Arc employee, who noted how much more organized the event seems to be each year.
"Every year we get a little better at it. It's really for a very good cause," Kimber said.
The event was a first for teens Tricia, 15, of Baldwinsville and Tori, 16, of Syracuse, who volunteered at the face painting table, but they both would come back next year to get involved.
"It's really cool how they put it all together," said Tori. Tricia had planned to walk if the rain had continued, and said she would come back next year to participate in the race or fun walk.
"It's nice to get awareness out," Tricia said.
The face of the race
There was ample experience to be found among race participants as well.