HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. – The 8th annual Steeplechase Distance Run, involving more than 1,000 runners, walkers, cancer survivors, physicians, family and friends, netted over $30,000 for the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset in Somerville.

Participants ranging from 9 to 99 joined together to honor survivors, the memory of loved ones and to celebrate personal stories of recovery. Organized by the Somerset Health Care Foundation and presented by Diamond-level sponsor Care One at Somerset Valley, the event featured a 10K run, 5K run, 2-mile walk, kids’ sprints, music, refreshments and more over a scenic course in the central New Jersey town.

“In its eighth year, the annual Steeplechase Distance Run continues to generate excitement and has become an event members of the local community look forward to as way to remember, honor and support loved ones,” said Kathleen Toomey, MD, medical director of the Steeplechase Cancer Center.

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“We know that cancer impacts so many lives, and we take pride in setting aside this day each year to raise money in honor of those who have battled the disease, those who continue fighting and those we remember for their courage. The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset continues to deliver quality care, programs and support services for cancer patients and their families, largely made possible by the generosity of donors, volunteers and the crowd that enthusiastically participates in this event each year.”

The Steeplechase Distance Run/Walk was held Sept. 25 began and ended at Amsterdam Elementary School in Hillsborough. All runs were USA Track and Field (USATF) certified. A tent with art supplies allowed participants to make “shirt signs” with inspiring messages.

RWJ Somerset’s Sports Performance staff was available to provide runners with free trainer-assisted stretching, and a private massage company was also onsite. In addition, the Steeplechase Cancer Center had a special tent dedicated for cancer survivors. Guests gathered at tables in the festive tent to enjoy food, refreshments, and the company of fellow survivors, friends and family.

David Vail of Dunellen, N.J. helped kicked off the start of the 2-mile walk this year. Vail ran the 5K race three years ago with his wife Linda, to mark their 40th wedding anniversary, finishing first in his age category. This year, Vail’s participation marked another personal milestone – the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis with lymphoma. Vail was treated at The Steeplechase Cancer Center and is now a cancer survivor.

The largest contingent of runners and walkers at the event represented Steps Together, a Hillsborough-based non-profit that supports families facing a medical crisis.

Following the completion of the races, Somerset Health Care Foundation held an awards ceremony to recognize top runners in each event and age group. Kyle Price of North Brunswick took first place out of over 200 runners in both the 10K and 5K races, completing the 10K in just over 37 minutes and the 5K in just over 16 minutes. Price was awarded two medals for his accomplishments, and medals were also awarded to the top finishers in each age category. Every runner/walker was provided a t-shirt and goodie bag as a token of the hospital’s appreciation for their support.

Proceeds from the event will support RWJ Somerset’s many cancer-focused community health lectures, survivorship and rehabilitation programs, cooking demonstrations, nutrition classes, and complementary medicine, including yoga, reiki, and meditation classes. 

Anyone interested in donating to the Steeplechase Cancer Center may do so through the Somerset Health Care Foundation at 908-685-2885 or www.shcfdn.org.