On Sunday, runners from 37 states and five countries came together to set personal goals, help support cancer research, and ultimately give back to the community by participating in the Buffalo Marathon, a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Approximately 4,600 people ran in the marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay.
Mohammed Awol of Ethiopia won the men’s division with a time of 2:19:03, followed by Daniel Gekara of Santa Fe, NM (2:21:47) and Belay Kassa of Ethiopia (2:25:53). Amy Frazier of East Amherst placed first in the women’s category (3:09:52), with Jess Nowak of Orchard Park in second place (3:18:59) and Zarah Dehnashi of Mississauga, Ontario in third (3:21:03).
Chris Walters of Tonawanda won the half marathon in the men’s category, finishing the race in 1:10:44, followed by Edinboro, PA’s Jacob Krolick (1:11:26) and Derrick Jone of Henrietta, NY (1:11:40). Shakeia S. Wright of West Henrietta, NY placed first in the women’s category (1:17:21). Katherine M. Aldridge of Alpine, NY placed second (1:19:19), and Katie Twarog from Providence, RI finished third (1:22:14).
While goals were established and often exceeded, every runner who participated this past weekend also helped a good cause. The entry fees from the race went directly to help programs and services at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hospice Foundation of Western New York and NF2-Neurofibromatosis Cancer Research.
According to Brenda Spillman, a committee member for the Buffalo Marathon, this is the tenth consecutive year that the race has been held. Prior to this, the race was inactive for “one or two years” until race director John Beishline reestablished it. Since then, the number of participants has increased each year, Spillman said.
Spillman stressed that in addition to individual goals, the fact that this race benefited cancer research made it especially significant for people in Buffalo, across the country, and in other nations. She said the race has raised “thousands and thousands” of dollars to benefit cancer research, with a 20 percent increase in participants from last year.
The race was also a way for people in and outside of the Buffalo community to come together. Spillman said that Roswell and other organizations benefited by both receiving a donation and increasing public awareness. She also praised the committee members who were responsible for organizing the race and said that the camaraderie and group support at the event was not limited to just the runners.
“It’s important to have a really strong committee,” Spillman said. “Each year, more and more spectators are cheering on the runners, and it’s becoming a big event.”
On an economic front, Spillman said that the Buffalo Marathon has helped the local economy in recent years in a time when many people and businesses have struggled. She emphasized that the Hyatt in downtown Buffalo “sold out their hotel in January” for the race, and that such a large event as a marathon “really has an economic impact on the community” as out-of-towners had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls and Canada.
Between the nearly 5,000 runners and approximately 1,000 volunteers who were on hand for this year’s race, the Buffalo Marathon truly helped to enrich the Buffalo community. Spillman said that the entire committee worked hard to make the race a success, and only the combined efforts of all who were involved made it what it was.
“We wouldn’t be able to put on a successful race without everyone…it’s all of those things combined that makes it successful,” Spillman concluded.
To see the complete listing of results for the 2010 Buffalo Marathon, visit this page.