WESTFIELD, NJ — The founders of Greta’s Run announced Tuesday that the annual race in memory of Westfield High School student Greta Schoenemann has been moved from September (the month Greta died) to April (the month she was born).
“Greta's Run is a celebration of life, and should be represented as such,” said Greta’s Run Co-Founder Ben Nanna.
And he announced that Greta’s Run has partnered with the Westfield school district.
In a statement, the district said, “The Westfield Public Schools join with the community in upholding the values of kindness and compassion that have become Greta’s legacy. The students, athletes and staff look forward to helping make Greta’s Run 2017 a success.”
The fourth Greta’s Run will take place in 2017 in a new location, with the Challenged Athletes Foundation as its recipient, according to Nanna.
“Their mission is to make sure all people with physical challenges can enjoy sports. The funds will be restricted to benefit Greater Westfield residents,” Nanna said. “Greta’s Run is so much about the community coming out to do their best, to be with their friends and family and to support one another. Greta's legacy brings a very diverse crowd together, making Greta's Run the race for people in wheelchairs in Westfield. We are very proud of this.”
Greta’s Run began in 2013. Originally run in partnership with the Westfield Area Y, money raised in the annual 5K was used to create the Y's Dragonfly Program, which offers fitness, recreation and social opportunities for young adults with special needs. Greta’s sister Elise, who has cerebral palsy, is among those benefitting from the program.
The newly formed Greta’s Run Foundation, with its 501(c)3 status is pending, is a grant-making organization that will reach beyond this initial program. Its mission remains helping people with special needs, Nanna said.
He called Greta's Run a showcase for what a community can do when people come together to make something happen.
“Greta's Run was started by two friends and a family three years ago. Now it's a volunteer-led foundation with loyal support from sponsors, over a thousand participants, two hundred volunteers and the Westfield Public Schools,” he said.
Co-Founder Jayne Ruotolo added, “Greta's Run has been undergoing some exciting changes over the past few months. With a new date set for April 2017, we have expanded our community partnerships and broadened our fundraising goals. As in years past, we hope to continue to bring our community together for a joyful event celebrating the life of Greta Schoenemann.”