Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the Marcie Mazzola Memorial 5K Run/Walk, which raises funds for YMCA scholarships for needy children (Photo by Alan Pearlman).

The streets of Huntington will once again reverberate with the sound of pounding feet as hundreds of runners take part in the 10th annual Marcie Mazzola Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Sunday.

Nearly 500 runners from across Long Island turned out last year for this highly anticipated event, which is a part of the Grand Prix Series of Long Distance Running and sanctioned by USA Track & Field. Race organizers expect a larger turnout for the 10-year anniversary of the event, which raised $30,000 that was donated to charity last year. The event’s proceeds benefit the Huntington YMCA’s Summer Camp Scholarship Program for underprivileged children and children’s programs at the Family Service League.

“The whole day is about having fun,” said Nancy Mazzola, Marcie’s stepmother and president of the nonprofit Marcie Mazzola Foundation, which raises funds to help at-risk children.

The event is a heartfelt tribute to the foundation’s namesake, a spirited and compassionate 1999 Commack High School graduate who had just turned 21 when she lost her life in a car crash in July 2002. When the family decided to perpetuate a legacy of compassion and caring in Marcie’s honor, they remembered her abiding love for children and desire to help youngsters at risk or who had suffered abuse, according to Nancy. The foundation’s motto is “helping children in need.”

Through the foundation’s efforts, more than a half a million dollars has been raised for children’s causes, including Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Smile Train, the Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect, Island Harvest, Family Service League, New York Organ Donor Network and the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk.

The event, which takes place rain or shine, begins at 8 a.m. April 10 at the Huntington YMCA with a non-competitive half-mile fun run for children 10 years old and under. The main event, the 5K Run/Walk, begins at 8:30 a.m. on Park Avenue. The 3.1-mile race offers runners a scenic tour of Huntington’s most beloved streets, including Woodhull Road, Spring Road,  Prime Avenue and Sabbath Day Path.

Registration is required for all participants, and the fee for 5K run/walk is $30. The 5K fee for students (grades 12 and under) is $20 and the Fun Run is $10. Registration can be completed online through April 7 (before 9 p.m. for the 5K and before noon for the fun run) at runsignup.com.

Runners and walkers can also register on race day from 6:45 to 8 a.m. at the Huntington YMCA, 60 Main St., Huntington while those who have already registered check in. No numbers will be issued after 8 a.m. Sunday. On Saturday, April 9, those who have already registered can pick up their race packet, including the bib/chip, at the Huntington YMCA between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

First-place male and female winners will receive trophies and one-year YMCA of Long Island memberships. Overall second and third place and Masters, 40-years-old and over, will also receive trophies. Many corporations participate as a group, and trophies will be given for Corporate Challenge 1st Place and Largest Team. Young fun-runners will get medals, and tee-shirts. Post-race festivities in the YMCA Pavilion will include an award ceremony and raffles.

To learn more about the Foundation, visit marciemazzolafoundation.org

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