Race Raises $10K for Hopatcong Students
More then 150 runners participated in the second annual Chief's Challenge 5K Sunday.
Several hundred community members and runners from around the area came out to the second annual Chief's Challenge 5K and Kid's Fun Run on Sunday morning to support Hopatcong High School students and honor a beloved community member.
The 180 participants at the event raised about $10,000 for the Paul D. Pinsonault Memorial Foundation. The event started at 9 a.m. with a 3.1-mile course that began and finished at the high school track. A 1-mile kids run followed right after the race.
Event organizer Tony Pinsonault said the money will go towards scholarships for high school seniors who excel in both academics and sports. Pinsonault created the event last year to honor his father, Paul, a dedicated community member who passed away in 2005, and to help students out.
Pinsonault, who spent most of life in the town and graduated from Hopatcong High School in 1982, is grateful for the chance to help the kids out.
He said the best thing about the event was "getting everyone together and seeing old faces and friends, and making it an event for the community."
Five Hopatcong seniors received the scholarships this year from the money raised at last year's Chief's Challenge—AJ Fasano, Nick Chasty, Yalixsa Delgado, Colleen McNamara and Evyn Tarvydas.
Two of the award recipients, McNamara and Tarvydas, ran the 5K on Sunday.
"I thought it was a great way to give back," McNamara said. "I had fun and it was very well put together and everyone is very friendly in the community."
McNamara, who will attend CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the fall, said she was very thankful when she found out she got the award.
"I was happy," she said, "I was really excited and I was glad they saw me as a very big community participant."
Tarvydas, who will attend Lehigh University this September, said he was honored to receive the scholarship because his family has been close to the Pinsonaults for many years.
Tarvydas also ran in the race last year, and said the thing he liked most about this year's race was seeing "everyone coming out to support a great cause."
The 5K saw a close finish, with the first- and second-place runners finishing within .2 seconds of each other.
Dylan Capwell, 16, of Hopatcong, finished first overall with a time of 17:29.6. Mark Williams, 39, of Columbia, took second a few milliseconds later, and Christopher Dugan, 16, of Hopatcong finished third with a time of 18:05.
The top three female finishers were Jessica Urban, 17, of Newton in 21:55; Lilia Stantcheva, 23, of Rockaway in 22:49; and Vicki Vara, 34, of Sparta in 24:05.
The race started with a steep hill, and had flat portions and rolling hills throughout the course. Volunteers handed out water to the runners at each mile-marker.
The event also had a face painting station, a photo booth, and prizes and music for all to enjoy.
Pinsonault said he appreciated those who made the event possible.
"I want to thank every body for their participation, thank everybody for coming out, really supporting the community and doing a nice thing and putting in their time," he said. "I would also like to thank all the volunteers. We had a ton of people who came out who wanted to be a part of the race."