WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 2,400 runners and thousands of spectators gathered in Downtown Westfield Wednesday evening for the 14th annual Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza, organized by the Downtown Westfield Corporation.
Mayor Andy Skibitsky praised the DWC, volunteers and sponsors who made the “Pizza Run” possible.
“It was another successful 5K race in Downtown Westfield,” said Skibitsky. “We had hundreds of people from out of town. I think people from 13 states participated. People said that they had a terrific time in Downtown Westfield.”
Past the finish line, volunteers from the Westfield Jaycees served runners 750 pizzas baked by Cosimo’s, Ferraro’s, Casa di Pizza and Fiamma Wood Fired Pizza, while Stop & Shop offered treats for everyone to enjoy. Michael Craig Band & FOG (Five Old Guys) provided entertainment.
Many ran or walked with groups, such as Moms Run this Town of Union County, which brought more than 40 runners to the race.
“I’m so excited that we have such a group out tonight,” said Chapter Leader Erin Weil, who was one of the three runners from the group at the Pizza Run when the chapter was getting started three years ago.
The Westfield Area Y Flyers Track Club brought at least 50 young runners, according to Greg Hatzisavvas, senior director of member and wellness engagement at the Y.
Jeni-Fit Studios in Garwood used the run to raise money for the ALS Association in honor of one of their own trainers who is fighting the disease. With 70 runners, Jen-Fit had raised more than $3,500 on the eve of the race. Members wore shirts that read, “Kiss My ALS.”
For 12-year-old Rebecca White, this was her fifth Pizza Run, and likely her last as her family prepares to move to upstate New York.
“She’s going to try to finish strong here,” said her dad, Charlie White, before the race.
Organizers thanked all who made the run possible, including the team from Practice Hard, Michael Craig Band & FOG, more than 100 volunteers, staff, the town of Westfield, the Westfield Fire Department, the Westfield Police Department and the race’s sponsors.
For the sixth year in a row, Trinitas Regional Medical Center was the Platinum Sponsor of the event. As the Platinum Sponsor, Trinitas Regional Medical Center and their Edge magazine staff were on hand to share information about their award-winning hospital and lead the runners at the beginning of the race.
Stop & Shop of Westfield was a Gold Sponsor for 2015 and providing sponsorship and many product donations needed for the race. Members of the store were on hand to provide goodies as well as information about their anticipated store expansion in Downtown Westfield.
Present at the event were also Silver and Bronze Sponsors. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Overlook Medical Center, UBS, and City Sports returned as Silver Sponsors. Advanced Wellness of Westfield, Barnabas Health – Saint Barnabas Medical Center; Drew & Rogers; JAG Physical Therapy; Kessler Rehabilitation Center; Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper; Morgan Stanley, Mosquito Shield, Performance Rehabilitation & Integrated Medicine, PSE&G, Summit Medical Group; Trenk DiPasquale, Trivium Academy of New Jersey, Westfield Pediatric Dental Group and Westfield Running Company were Bronze Sponsors.
Contributing sponsors this year included Spencer Savings Bank and The Office Beer Bar & Grill. State Farm Insurance Christine Cosenza Agency signed up once again as a Supporting Sponsor. Weichert, Realtors was a Supporting Sponsor, as well.
“It was a great night,” said DWC Executive Director Sherry Cronin. “Wonderful weather. Great volunteers. Great organized event. Everyone had a good time.”