Finish a 5K or half marathon in Albion on March 25 and get a cool medal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 February 2023 at 12:39 pm

Courtesy of Wolfpack Multisport: The medal for those completing the Wayne Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness 5K or half marathon on March 25 pays homage to the late Wayne Burlison, an elementary school music teacher at Albion who also enjoyed long distance running. Burlison passed away from colon cancer at age 36 on March 26, 2014.

ALBION – There are two big changes so far for the annual Wayne Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness 5K in Albion set for March 25.

This year there will be an option for a half marathon, and there will be medals for those who complete either course.

Bert Galloman, the race director, teased out the medals on social media last week. In the past, those who finished the race received shirts, hats and gloves.

Galloman wants to recognize the efforts of those who complete the courses, and pursue fitness goals during the winter.

“We are doing medals this year because you never know where someone is in their athletic journey,” Galloman said. “Each race is a way to celebrate their achievement and we want to help grow the community. We also love seeing the joy on athletes’ faces as they cross the finish line and get their medal around their necks – there is no better feeling at the finish.”

Galloman wanted to include the half marathon, a distance conquered several times by Burlison, a former Albion elementary school band teacher who passed away at age 36 from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

Burlison promoted fitness in the community through a Run for God program that took people from the couch to a 5K in less than three months. He lost more than 150 pounds through exercise and better nutrition.

The 5k course starts on Clarendon Road near the elementary school and goes east on Route 31 to Mount Albion Cemetery. After running in the cemetery, participants come back out on 31 and head back to the elementary school parking lot.

The half marathon also starts ear the school but heads south and then east through some of the country roads on County House and Holley roads. Runners will come back along Route 31, and take a loop through the cemetery.

The medals includes different neck ribbons for those who complete the 5K and those that finish the much longer half marathon at 13.1 miles.

Galloman said the half marathon should provide motivation to keep people moving at longer distances during the winter. He also thinks it will be a nice kickoff to the running season with half marathons in Rochester in April and Buffalo in May.

Erin Smith, a triathlete from Albion, helped plan the half marathon course. It avoids the towpath, which can be muddy or snow laden in late March.

Smith thinks the timing in late March fulls a void in the racing calendar, especially for a longer distance. Lockport hosts a 10-mile race on Feb. 11 and there aren’t too many longer distance races after that before there are several in the spring.

“I’d like to see what we can pull in for the longer distance,” Smith said. “I love this community and I love running, and we’re able to mesh the two together. Hopefully this will inspire people to try to get out and try this half marathon.”

 Proceeds from the race have gone to a memorial scholarship for Albion at Albion Central School and also were used towards a walking trail at Bullard Park.

“It’s such a great cause,” Smith said. “Wayne was such a loved person and this was his most-loved distance.”

For more on the race, click here.