SPRINGFIELD, NJ - For the third straight year, the festivities at the Springfield Fall Street Fair and Carnival kicked off with a charitable endeavor that brought runners together for a great cause.
The proceeds from the race, now in its third year, were split evenly between Temple Sha'arey Shalom in Springfield, and the New Jersey Veterans Network (NJVN).
NJVN Director Michael Boll spoke with TAPinto before the race about what the fundraising and publicity mean to his organization
"The most important thing for our organization is to get mentors and people that are willing to join our mobile outreach program," Boll said. "We're able to aggressively seek out veterans in need and help them with the resources and solutions to have them live a better life."
"Money is awesome," Boll added. "Money does help fund our programs, but it's not the most import thing. The most important is getting awareness out there and people to join the team. We lose 22 veterans each day to suicide and with our programming, [and we] are able to get the best people in the state to join us to help bring that number down."
During the race, participants could either run, walk or ruck the course. Rucking involves marching with a large weight on the back. One of the people behind that portion of the race was Robert Bouthillette, a Sayerville resident and Navy Veteran.
Bouthillette siad that he enjoyed being at the 5K this year, and will most likely come back next year as well.
"I'm a very proud veteran, Bouthillette said. "It means everything to be out here with my brothers and sisters and just helping, raising awareness and getting physical. This is an awesome program."
After starting the run in front of Jonathan Dayton High School, the participants made their way down the course and headed for the finish line in front of town hall. For the men, Kellyn Amozoqueno won, but only after presumed men's winner Justin Phillips notified judges that Amozoqueno would have beaten him if not for making a wrong turn.
On the women's side, the field was paced by Abbey Hochreiner. She runs in the track and field program at Jonathan Dayton.
Following the race, plaques were awarded to local veterans for their service, and the top finishers in each age group were read out and awarded trophies for their efforts. Local American Legion member Don Auer was among the group of veterans honored for his service.
After the race was finished, the crowd stayed around to experience the Springfield Street Fair and Carnival.