By Gloria Stravelli
METUCHEN – There is still time to qualify for a reduced entry fee for the annual YMCA 5K held in memory of former community member Janice Garbolino.
The 25th annual YMCA 5K Run/Walk, a Janice Garbolino Memorial Event, will take place Sept. 25 at Roosevelt Park, 10 Oak Dr., Edison.
The run will feature a virtual run/walk option.
Garbolino, who was wellness coordinator for the Metuchen YMCA, was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away in 2002, according to Hannah Thomas, senior director of Healthy Living at the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, South Amboy (MEWSA) and the recently added Piscataway.
Runners who register prior to June 30 qualify for the early bird special rate of $30 for adults and $20 for racers age 12 and under. After that date, registration will be $35 for runners age 13 and up and $25 for age 12 and under.
On race day, registration for the run will take place on site at 7:30 a.m. and the race will begin at 8:30 a.m., with post-race awards taking place at 9:30 a.m., Thomas said.
“All proceeds from sponsorships go back into the YMCA’s LiveSTRONG program for cancer survivors,” said Thomas, adding proceeds from the 2019 race totaled $12,000.
The 12-week exercise program meets twice weekly and is offered free to cancer survivors. The program and the race were suspended for 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We’ll take somebody who has been diagnosed with cancer at any point so long as they never did the program,” Thomas said. “The goal is just to focus on improving cardio-health, balance and muscular strength.”
According to Thomas, three generations of Garbolino’s family take part in the event each year.
She said the event was not held last year due to restrictions related to the pandemic, but had averaged an entry of 300 runners in previous years.
This year, there is the option to participate in the run in person or virtually.
“You might get some people who are still not comfortable or can’t take part in the run but still want to participate,” Thomas said. “We anticipate this year more people will want to do the run in person.’”
Those who participate virtually can do so on a treadmill, at the local YMCA, in their neighborhood or on a track and can still be counted in the post-race results if they take a photo and tag the YMCA, Thomas said.
She can be reached via email at email@example.com