The Montclair YMCA/MRCA will host their 35th 10K run / 2-mile walk on Sunday, June 4. The event is an annual tradition that draws participants from all parts of New Jersey and beyond.
The very first run was held in 1982 and was the brain child of Perry Doerr, who was township Parks & Recreation Director at the time, and Dave Hardtop of the YMCA. The missions of their respective programs were closely aligned: provide leisure programs and activities for Montclair to meet the mental, physical and social needs of residents, while enhancing their overall quality of life. The 10K Run and 2-mile fun run were a perfect way to collaborate to provide the community with an event for the entire family. The 10K was also one of the first running races offered in town at the time.
Some of the key players in the event may have changed but many of the 100-plus volunteers have remained the same, returning year-after-year to help direct runners on street corners, hand out water at the water stops, set up the food tent or work on pre-registration. The date has stayed the same as well – rain or shine, always the first Sunday in June. Montclair Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Pat Brechka has been with the run since its inception, along with Carol Kearney, who recently retired from the Montclair YMCA.
The race continues to grow every year, attracting some 1,200 participants. The 2-mile walk/run has seen the largest change in numbers.
“In the early days of the race we would see only serious runners and never any walkers,” said Ms. Brechka. “Now, we seem to get about the same number of participants in each race.”
The event also appeals to all ages and levels.
“We’re getting more children and seniors involved,” said Ms. Brechka. “We had to increase the age level of our awards because the senior category was originally for participants 60 years of age and over, but now we offer awards to a 70 years and over category. We have runners as young as four and some who are well into their 80s.”
The event also sees greater participation among Montclair schools and the school with the most participants in the runs receives an award.
“Currently Bradford School holds the title for the most wins,” said Ms. Brechka.
The 10K race will likely see an increase in registrations this year, “since we had it re-certified, drawing more serious runners who need to qualify for marathons,” said Ms. Brechka.
One minor change has been made to the run: the start and finish lines will be at the same spot this year, on Park Street in front of the YMCA.
“This race is truly a community effort,” said Ms. Brechka. “We could not hold this event without the help of all our volunteers, community organizations and our generous sponsors.”
Some of the organizations that the race counts on each year are the Boy Scouts, Brother to Brother, Montclair High School students, Friends of Edgemont Park, Fleet Feet, FMBA and the YMCA Senior group.
Proceeds of the Montclair Run are used for YMCA of Montclair and Montclair Recreation scholarships.
If you are interested in helping with this year’s 10K Run/2-mile Walk/Run, please call the Montclair Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs at 973-509-4915 or visit www.montclairymca.org/montclair-run/