Niskayuna running enthusiasts will be out in force Saturday to support the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting and honor a local girl that was killed in a fire on Jan. 4.
The Niskayuna Strides for Sandy Hook Memorial 5K and one-mile walk will take place at Niskayuna Town Hall. The 5K run will start and 9:30 a.m. and loop through Orchard Park using the same course at the Niskayuna Fall Fun Run before concluding at Town Hall. The one-mile walk will start at 9:45 a.m.
Kelly Anderson of Niskayuna Moms on the Run said the group of running enthusiasts got the idea to do the event after planning to participate in a similar run being organized in Newtown, Conn., where on Dec. 14 gunman Adam Lanza shot and killed six adults and 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself.
“I think we’re all reeling from what happened in Connecticut,” she said.
However, about 5,000 people expressed interested in taking part in the Sandy Hook event.
“They couldn’t accommodate that on such short notice,” she said.
Instead, organizers asked people in other communities to hold similar events and raise money for worthy causes.
Some of the funds will go to Sandy Hook to raise money for a memorial. However, officials in that town have been showered with so much support, they asked organizers of the satellite events to support local charities.
The majority of the money Niskayuna raises will go to support the Van Antwerp Middle School Best Buddies Program and the Niskayuna Fire Department — in honor of 14-year-old Grace Kline, a seventh-grader at Van Antwerp Middle School, who died as a result of a Jan. 4 fire at her Niskayuna Drive home.
Kline is believed to have a form of autism and belonged to Best Buddies, a friendship club for disabled and nondisabled peers.
“This seems like a perfect opportunity to make a difference in our community while still supporting Sandy Hook and the memorial they’re trying to do,” Anderson said.
The event is not a race, so there will not be any registration, timing or prizes. Refreshments, including coffee and hot chocolate, will follow the event at Niskayuna Town Hall.
Donations of $25 per family are encouraged. People can send cash or checks to “Van Antwerp PTO.” Write “Sandy Hook 5K” on the check memo line. Contributions should be sent to the Office of Community Programs:, attn. Lori Peretti, Niskayuna Town Hall, One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309.
In case of severe weather, the event will be postponed and an announcement will be made on the town’s website at www.niskayuna.org.
For more information, contact Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tina Lee at email@example.com.