Approximately 315 runners pounded the pavements of Flower Hill on April 7 as part of the Friends of the Manhasset Crew Team’s first-ever Off The Water 5K fundraiser race.
Friends of the Manhasset Crew Team, a group of team parents who support the Manhasset high school team, raised roughly $10,000, according to club president Suzanne Mills.
Mills said the most of the money will go toward the season’s expenses, with 10 percent of proceeds going toward the school district’s initiative to replace the turf on athletic fields at the high school and at Shelter Rock elementary school.
“Rowing involves not just being on the water, but running and using [indoor rowing] machines,” Mills said. “This is a great way for the community to give back to the turf initiative and for the crew team to show its support for the other athletic programs, even though our turf is technically the water.”
The crew team raises most of its money from annual dues, with the high school covering the salaries of four of the team’s six coaches.
As the team has grown in recent years, Mills said, so too have the fundraising efforts.
“We just bought a boat that costs $30,000,” she said. “It’s like buying a new car. That’s a lot to ask the parents to finance.”
The team held its first major fundraiser in December using rowing machines known as ergs in what was termed an ergathon.
The event raised $35,000 back to fund a new boat. A portion of the proceeds from the event also went toward the Manhasset chapter of Adventures in Learning, a national nonprofit after-school program.
“We’ve done some small fundraisers in the past, but the ergathon was the first one where the athletes were so actively involved, as opposed to just the parents,” Mills said.
For the group’s next major fundraiser, Mills said the Friends of the Manhasset Crew Team wanted to incorporate the athletes even more, with the 5K also serving as a means of training for the spring season.
“I think because we are a sport and are constantly trying to keep the kids in shape, it’s a more pro-athletic kind of event. Plus, you’ve got parents out there running too,” Mills said.
The race began on Bonnie Heights Road, near Village Hall, and advanced through Flower Hill Park out to Stony Town Road and then Manhasset Woods Road, ultimately finishing on Crab Apple Road.
Initially, the group planned a route that went in the opposite direction, which would have sent runners through Port Boulevard, but police didn’t want so many people on that road, Mills said.
The 5K was inspired by the Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer run last October and the Katie Oppo Memorial Walk/Run, which have each raised money for women’s cancer research.
To organize the event, Mills said the team had to get the permission from the Village of Flower Hill, then reach out to the 3rd Precinct for security and closing off the roads.
The team also partnered with NYC Runs, which helps organize events and pair runners with local races.
“NYC Runs is pretty popular and have a pretty large network of runners, so if you want to do a 5K, people tend to go to their site,” said Barbara Thanos, the event’s chairperson.
The race, Thanos said, cost approximately $2,000 to organize, and attracted sponsors like Pirate’s Booty, which provided its snack bags to the runners, North Shore Farms and Peconic Builders, which each supplied the runners with fruit.