Record crowd of runners for this year’s Strawberry Festival Race

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Participants tops 300 for first time in race’s history

Photos by Catherine Thom

ALBION – A record crowd of 310 runners finished the 5k/8k races today for the 25th annual Strawberry Festival. That topped the previous record of 296 from 2014.

The race started on East State Street by the Presbyterian Church and headed east. The course included side streets and the towpath along the Erie Canal before the finish in front of the courthouse.

Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess, center in black, was among the runners in the race.

Photo by Tom Rivers – The race was organized by the Albion Running Club, which dedicated the race to Judy Christopher. She organized the race in its first two decades and promoted fitness in the community.

Mrs. Christopher died from cancer at age 70 on Aug. 3, 2013. Her husband Gene and their son David were among the family members at today’s race.

Cathy and Kurt Schmitt of Albion finish the 5k race together this morning.

Elliott Neidert and his father Mike Neidert of Albion approach the finish line together.

Every year, race organizers have someone dress as a strawberry. Runners who beat “The Strawberry” win a medal. Race organizers asked Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub editor, to be the strawberry and this is a selfie he took just before the race.

The Rev. Randy LeBaron, pastor of the Albion Free Methodist Church, leads the group in the “Run for God” program in prayer before the race. The church hosted the 12-week running program, taking people from walking to finishing the 5K race.