by W.B. King
Despite being a cold, windy day, roughly 860 runners participated in this year’s Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon, which took place on Saturday March 23. Organized by the Rivertown Runners, the event has grown so much in recent years that it might soon prove difficult to secure a spot.
“We had about 185 people sign up the day of the race and we were just about maxxed out because there were so many people running,” said Rivertown Runners President, Todd Ruppel, a 32-year resident of Sleepy Hollow, who added that the first half marathon in 2011 had around 400 entrants.
This year’s event had runners from ages 18 to 70 participating. Their entry fees are donated to local causes, explained Ruppel, who added that Rivertown Runners is a volunteer organization.
“The money we raised is distributed through the RTR Outreach Fund, a separate group, that donates the money to local charities, such as the Kids’ Club of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, the Community Food Pantry in Tarrytown, RSHM LIFE Center, Neighborhood House in Tarrytown, Friends of the Rockefellers Preserve, among others,” said Ruppel, whose day job is as a reinsurer for the Chubb Insurance Company.
Running for a Good Cause
In 2018, the organization raised $40,000, and this year it has already given $20,000, which was raised from the 10k race that was held last October in Sleepy Hollow. “Since we started, we have raised and donated $325,000,” he added.
Ruppel lauded the support that organization receives from local business sponsors, including Phelps Hospital and Prestige Consumer Healthcare, as well as the Sleepy Hollow village government, including Mayor Ken Wray and the trustees, as well as the police department and the volunteer fire department and ambulance corps.
“We really value their support and couldn’t do it without them,” he said.
The 2019 Half Marathon winners were Rivertown Runners members Shanna Beairsto and Abe Falek. Ruppel explained that aside from bragging rights, they each won a watch courtesy of Harnick Bros. Jewelers, located on Main Street in Tarrytown.
Looking forward, Ruppel has his sights set on the popular Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10k race scheduled for October 26, 2019. The Headless Horsemen opens the race and throughout the course, runners are spooked by ghouls and goblins from the Horseman’s Hollow.
“This will be our 10th annual 10k race, so it will be an anniversary celebration,” said Ruppel. “It’s a really fun event because a lot of people dress up in costumes for it. We are looking to making it extra special this year.”
For more information, visit: www.rivertownrunners.org.