Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 13 November 2009 00:00
Mineola Mustang Run Committee chairperson Linda Fairgrieve said it will be sad on Sunday, Nov.15, after everyone has left Mineola Middle School, the staging area for Sunday’s Mineola Mustang Run. It will mark the final time the Mustang Run, which has become an annual tradition in Mineola and a major fundraiser for local organizations, is being held as the committee decided it was time to end the run.
The Mustang Run has truly been a team effort, led by Linda and Scott Fairgrieve and the dedicated members of the Mustang Run committee for numerous years. From the volunteers to the sponsors to the participants, the Mustang Run took off and ran ever since it first began. Sunday’s run will mark the 25th year the event is being held.
“We just thought it was time,” said Mrs. Fairgrieve of the committee’s decision not to continue the run after this year. “Twenty-five years is a long time.”
The Mineola Mustang Run began in the early 1980s when, after the school budget failed, the school district was operating with an austerity budget. The run was held to raise money to support the school district’s athletic programs. After that, the run was held to benefit the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Now, the run benefits the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Mineola Athletic Association, Mineola Police Athletic League, Mineola Auxiliary Police, Mineola Fire Department for live-saving equipment, Mineola Youth and Family Services, the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital, Parent and Child Education Program (PACE), Mineola Junior Fire Department, the Wounded Warrior Project, and this year, the American Cancer Society.
The run attracts competitors from all over Long Island, but the proceeds benefit organizations that serve the Mineola community while Mineola residents and local businesses support the run. The yearly event, although held on one day, has meant a lot to the community the whole year as it has provided monetary donations to organizations that serve the community. It is estimated that over the years the run has been held, it has raised between $600,000 and $700,000.
Scott Fairgrieve was one of the original forces behind the run and has passed off much of the responsibilities to Linda, who has worked hard along with her committee members to continue the tradition.
Rain or shine, on a Sunday morning in November, the Mustang Run is held each year and has grown to be an event that has gained notoriety in running circles, having been recognized by USA Track & Field Long Island. “After [the first year], it just grew and you learn a lot as you’re doing it,” said Mrs. Fairgrieve.
The Mustang Run raised thousands of dollars each year to benefit local organizations. This year has been more difficult to raise money because of the state of the economy, but the Mineola Run Committee is still hoping that the Silver Anniversary of the run will be the best yet.
The commitment it takes to put on the race is something that is not only evident the day of the race. Volunteers begin their work months before the day of the race, stuffing envelopes in an effort to get sponsors. Of course, the day of the race, each corner is manned with a volunteer in order to ensure safety. “We do pride ourselves on the effort put towards safety,” Mrs. Fairgrieve said.
For those who have been involved in the Mustang Run for years, this coming Sunday will be difficult as they say goodbye to the run, which has been a staple in Mineola. “We all agreed it’s time to move on, but there’s sadness. There’s definitely going to be a sense of loss,” Mrs. Fairgrieve said. “There’s still the memories. We’ve done it for many years.”
Mineola Mustang Run Information
The 25th Mineola Mustang Run will take place this Sunday, Nov. 15. The 1-mile Fun Run/Walk will begin at 9 a.m. with the 5K (3.1-mile) Run/Walk starting at 10 a.m. The check-in area and staging area will be in the gymnasium of Mineola Middle School, 200 Emory Road, where there are also plenty of refreshments donated by local businesses. Participants are encouraged to check-in an hour before each race starts.
You can register to run or walk by filling out an entry form or visiting the website at www.mineolamustangrun.com. For information about the Mustang Run or to volunteer, call the Mineola Mustang Run Committee at 294-5914 or 214-4727.
After the run, there will be trophies given out in the middle school gymnasium. Also there will be a special post-race raffle to win a bicycle, donated by Mineola Bicycle, Fitness & Mower (475 Jericho Turnpike in Mineola), or a color television, donated by Long Island Checker Cab. Results of the race will also be posted.
Please remember that the event will take place rain or shine and that there are no dogs, skates, roller blades, baby strollers or baby joggers permitted.
See you at the finish line!