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One stride at a time: 14th annual Sean's Run hits Chatham
Article originally featured on Regiterstar.com
By Katie Kocijanski Columbia-Greene Media

CHATHAM— Thousands of people from around the Capital Region and the Hudson Valley came out for the 14th annual Sean’s Run this weekend at the Chatham Central School District campus.

The annual run is in memory of 17-year-old Sean Patrick French, who died on New Year's Day 2002 while riding as a passenger in a single-car, drunk driving accident. As a gifted athlete and talented runner for Chatham High School, his legacy has lived on through this event.

A total of 1,151 runners took part in Sunday’s 5K run and Meghan’s Mile, a mile-and-a-half youth race for children ages 12 and under. Meghan’s Mile was named in honor of French’s friend and Sean’s Run founder, Meghan Kraham. She lost her life to cancer on August 18, 2007.

“We’ve had such a good turnout today and good weather,” Shari Franks, one of the race’s committee members, said. “It’s such a great event for runners and the kids.”

This year’s Sean’s Run Weekend was dedicated to the memory of Max Richard Kelly. He died in a drunk driving accident on December 31, 2012. His memory lives on at Columbia-Greene Community College, where he was a member of the college baseball team.

The weekend kicked off on Saturday with three bike rides. The presenting sponsor for each of the rides was the Lofgren Agency of Chatham. Riders could participate in a 10-, 20- or 50-mile race. The 50-mile ride sponsor was Hudson Design Group LLC and the 20-mile ride was sponsored by New Leaf Tree Services of Chatham.

The 10-mile ride was sponsored by the Old Chatham Country Store and Cafe. Following the bike rides, a Zumbathon took place at the Mary E. Dardess Elementary School.

This year’s sponsor for the Zumba Fitness Party was Dells’ Plumbing Heating & A/C Service of Ghent. The special needs kids race sponsor was TrainerFit.

“This is an exciting time in Chatham, this is one of our most important events,” Megan Meraldo said. “We’ve participated every year since 2008.”

Meraldo and her daughter, Francesca, 4, participated in Meghan’s Mile. Meraldo said her daughter woke up this morning asking if they were “going to Sean’s Run today.”

Sunday’s events kicked off with a Prevention Education Expo. Franks said the expo had informational booths and exhibits from different community and government agencies to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving.

The 10th annual Battle of the Belts World Championship took center stage before the runs began. This year’s middle school champions were the M&M’s of Algonquin Middle School, based in the Averill Park Central School District, with a time of 37.41 seconds.

For the fourth time, the “Safety Bucklettes” team of Mohonasen High School of Schenectady took home first place in the high school division with a time of 39 seconds.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and the Village of Chatham Police Department also faced off. The sheriff’s department triumphed in their Battle of the Belts.

Casey Sitzer, 12, of Ghent, came in first place for Meghan’s Mile with a time of 6 minutes and 5 seconds. This was his second year finishing in first. Coming in second was Owen Everett, 9, of Old Chatham, with a time of 6 minutes and 31 seconds.

Finishing in third was Andrew Bryne, 11, of Rhinebeck, with a time of 6 minutes and 41 seconds. Katie Everett, 11, of Old Chatham, finished in first place for the female division with a time of 6 minutes and 49 seconds. Behind her was Scarlett Stevenson, 9, of Rocky Point, with a time of 7 minutes and 7 seconds and coming in third was Lennike Sitzer, 8, of Ghent, with a time of 7 minutes and 12 seconds.

The 5K run began at 12 p.m. with 802 runners pounding the pavement. This year’s first place finisher was Thomas O’Grady, 29, of Latham, with a time of 16 minutes and 54 seconds.

Finishing in second was Richard Messineo, 26, of Nassau, with a time of 17 minutes and 22 seconds. In third was Aaron Knobloch, 39, of Guilderland, with a time of 17 minutes and 32 seconds.

U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, R-19, 50, of Kinderhook, took part in the race as well. He finished with a time of 30 minutes and 20 seconds.

The first place female winner was Lisa Daniello, 29, of Albany, with a time of 19 minutes and 27 seconds. Coming in second was Meghan Mortensen, 29, of Rotterdam, with a time of 20 minutes and 4 seconds. Brina Seguine, 25, of Rensselaer, finished in third with a time of 20 minutes and 28 seconds.

“This is my first time here at Sean’s Run, it seems like a good cause,” Marcielia Pacheo said. “Success Rice is here promoting healthy eating with our brown rice, it’s refreshing to not be in New York City.”

The presenting sponsor for Sean’s Run 2015 was First Niagara. The 5K run sponsor was Gabel Real Estate, the Battle of the Belts’ sponsor was Rensselaer Honda, and Meghan’s Mile was sponsored by DST Systems. Media sponsors were the Chatham Courier and Register-Star newspapers.

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