Story by Anya Tikka
FORESTBURGH Ranging from ages 3 to 82, runners in the Forestburgh 5K all completed the fundraiser race for Orange and Sullivan County Hospice in sweltering heat on Saturday morning.
The event’s committee director, retired judge Anthony Kane said the run is in its 6th year, and altogether has raised about $60,000 for the hospice.
The youngest runner, 3-year-old Elysia Jackson from Middletown has been watching the Olympics and said she’d like to be like Allyson Felix one day, representing her country. Elysia has been going for runs and walks with her parents (dad Earl once lead the Delaware High Tech team to a national competition in 5 mile cross country).
“She loves running, and also ballet,” Earl said.
The overall winner Jim Bernstein, an 18-year old recent Tri-Valley graduate from Grahamsville echoed the sentiment about Olympics, adding with a smile he’d have to train really hard to get there.
Bernstein described the race as interesting because it had a lot of up and down hills, and also because it ran both on and off the road. Bernstein is off to SUNY Oneonta in a few weeks to begin his college running career.
Rianne Erlwein was the first woman to cross the finish line.
Judge Kane said the event has been growing each year, with 20 more participants this year than last.
“It started when then Forestburgh Supervisor Jim Gallagher approached me with the idea,” Kane said.
“I approached Susan Loughlin who’d organized a similar event in Rock Hill, and then Sullivan Striders, led by Dr. Gary Berson, and they were both very helpful.”
Many volunteers and supporters came to help out and cheer on the runners and walkers. The three winners of each of the many age categories got medals.
“I’ve ran this race almost every year, said Phil Peelor, 64, of Middletown. “I started running and had my first competitive race at 56. That’s when I gave up smoking, gained weight, and decided to get healthy.”