A bigger crowd than ever participated in Katie’s Run on Sunday, but the annual 5K and post-run festivities were still like a big backyard barbecue.
“It just feels like family, really,” said Carolyn Kelly, a childhood friend of Michael McBride, who organizes Katie’s Run through the Katie McBride Foundation.
The run, held for the past eight years in honor of Katie McBride, Michael’s daughter who died of cancer at age 11 in 2008, drew more than 1,000 runners to the streets of New Hyde Park Sunday morning.
Each year the run gives $15,000 to the New Hyde Park-based Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, where Michael McBride and his wife, Jeanne, stayed while Katie was undergoing treatment for Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare childhood cancer.
After this year, the Katie McBride Foundation will have given $115,000 to the Ronald McDonald House since the first Katie’s Run in 2010, said Michael McBride, the vice president of the New Hyde Park Funeral Home.
McBride said he probably knew 80 percent of the people who gathered in New Hyde Park’s Memorial Park after the run. Strong community ties have been a big part of why the run has been grown continuously since its inception, he said.
“This is New Hyde Park. It describes New Hyde Park,” McBride said. “This is like a visual example of how these people are in this community.”
Kelly has attended all eight Katie’s Runs and seen the event get bigger each time.
She and her daughter, Jackie, keep coming back to support the McBrides and their efforts to give back, they said.
“They’re doing so much for other people,” Carolyn Kelly said.
Matt Alcide, a New Hyde Park native, has worked as a volunteer for Katie’s Run since the first event. He now lives in Arlington, Va., where he manages the Katie McBride Foundation’s website remotely.
Volunteers are also key to the run’s success, Alcide said — the only people who get paid for their work each year are the vendors.
“There’s so many people that just come here out of the kindness of their heart and volunteer to honor Katie and to do good for Ronald McDonald House and other families,” Alcide said.
Harshil Patel of New Hyde Park was this year’s second overall finisher, running the five-kilometer course in 17 minutes and 32 seconds, his personal record.
The event gives Patel, 15, a good workout and a chance to support a worthy cause, he said.
“The Katie McBride Foundation, I think they’re one of the most successful organizations on Long Island,” Patel said.
The live music, food, drinks and raffles hosted in the park after the race are features that few other runs offer, McBride said.
McBride tries to make the run special each year and keep it growing to do his daughter’s memory justice, he said.
“It’s important to kind of try to do everything the right way, because Katie’s name is on every shirt,” McBride said.