The SIRA Memorial Day Run gets back to live racing with new race director

A Staten Island tradition is coming back full circle.

The Memorial Day Run, launched in 1981 by the Staten Island Advance, sparked an annual tradition of racers, runners and walkers participating in honor of the national holiday. Held annually, the race (whether it went through the streets of New Dorp, around Susan Wagner and Tottenville High School, or along Father Capodanno Blvd.) created feelings of togetherness, competition and accomplishment.

In 2019, the Staten Island Running Association took the reins and organized a run through Clove Lakes park, where close to 400 participants showed up.

2019 Memorial Day Flag Run Champions Sahar Victoria-Vitale and Johnny Sokoll.

Hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the race went virtual in 2020 and 2021 and helped raise funds for various first responders and veterans groups.

Now, the race has returned with a new home course and race director.

At 9 am on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30), runners and walkers will once again be competing, but this time along the double-loop course in Brookfield Park. And leading the charge to direct the race is Marine Corps Veteran and 2016 race winner Michael De Vito Jr.

Michael De Vito

2016 Memorial Day Champion Michael De Vito is now the race director for the annual Memorial Day Run.

”Our Staten Island running community has celebrated our fallen heroes with this race for decades,” said De Vito, who is no stranger to the local running scene. fancy. It’s part of who we are as an Island and SIRA is proud to up the mantle of ensuring that the legacy of those lost their lives in service of our country continues to be honored. ”

“Bringing one of Staten Island’s oldest running traditions to Brookfield Park, one of our newest parks, is a great way to celebrate our running history and embrace a fantastic new open space for running,” said SIRA President Mike Schnall. to be donating the proceeds of the event to smaller local non-profits who work every day to make Staten Island a better place to live, work, play and run. ”

Mike Schnall

Staten Island Running Association President Mike Schnall is one of the organizers behind this year’s Memorial Day Run.

Groups benefitting include the Staten Island High School Track & Field Association, the Staten Island Heart Society, The CANVAS Institute and the New York Nature Mobile. Longtime runners in the community have welcomed the news that the race will go in again. ”

“Many of the road races on Staten Island are so much more than a race,” said competitor Patricia Mulligan, who has competed on Memorial Day going on three decades. lives lost in service and it will be great to see the runners and walkers united again. ”

Patricia Mulligan

Patricia Mulligan has long been a model of running consistency on Staten Island and will once again be running Memorial Day.

“It’s wonderful that the Memorial Day run is back!” Said 92-years young Bill Welsh, the local legend who wrote a daily training program for the race in the Advance during the 1980s.

A look back at the Muche-Struck Run

Both Tommy Hart, left, with Bill Welsh will be as two of the honorary Memorial Day race starters. Joining Hart and Welsh will be Assemblyman Michael Cusick and Mike Brennan.

“How cool is it to see the race back and under the leadership of a former winner and veteran?” Said SIRA Chairman Jeff Benjamin of De Vito. Like Coach Welsh, Benjamin has also participated throughout the years going back to 1981.

Jeff Benjamin 1983

In this Advance file photo, Jeff Benjamin competes in the 1983 Memorial Day Run. Benjamin will once again toe the line this year.

”Running on Memorial Day here on Staten Island is back!”

BELL LAP: 5-year age group awards will be sponsored by the Brighton Kiwanis and the Advance… Participants also have the opportunity to purchase discount tickets for the Staten Island FerryHawks game on Memorial Day… Coach Welsh, NYS Assembly Member Michael Cusick, Judge Mike Brennan and Tommy Hart are the honorary race starters… Commemorative bib and running t-shirt (runners and walkers) will be given (t-shirts while supplies last)… Kids’ hats and medals (children 10 and younger)… For further info on race registration please email: Michaeldevitojr@gmail.com … For further race information go to 2022Flag5K.eventbrite.com or statenislandrunning.org

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