Written by Pete Sheehan firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00
Hundreds of runners were tensed and ready near Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School in Oyster Bay as they waited for the start for the eighth annual Brooke Jackman Race for Literacy on May 18.
Then, with the signal, runners young and old, took off, racing through Oyster Bay, past the high school, turning around rushing along the beach at Theodore Roosevelt Park, and crossing the finish line in the parking lot, tired but satisfied after their five kilometer (5K) run.
“I never saw so many people together for a race,” said one 13-year-old runner who finished in just over 30 minutes. Others had come in before him and others followed, including senior citizens and parents pushing strollers.
Yet, they all ran for the same purpose: raising money for the Brooke Jackman Foundation, named in honor of a graduate of Oyster Bay High School who died at the age of 23 on Sept. 11, 2011, in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
“The race went extremely well,” said Barbara Jackman, mother of Brooke, whose family started the Race for Literary in honor of her daughter. “We had double the number of participants of past years.”
Each runner was to receive a t-shirt and a water bottle, Jackman said, “but we had so many runners that we ran out of t-shirts. We’re going to try to get t-shirts for those who didn’t get one.”
“We have received so much positive feedback,” Jackman said, including for the new course that the race took this year. “In past years, we ran up to Planting Field, but there was a conflict there this year.” This year, the runners went down East Main Street to Cove Road and back west to Roosevelt Park.
They hadn’t had time to calculate the money raised, she said, but organizers were hopeful.
The money raised last year bought 4,000 backpacks filled with books and school supplies for children who couldn’t afford them. “We call them ‘Brooke Packs,’” Jackman said. In addition, the foundation supports about a dozen literacy sites in the New York metropolitan area, and other literacy programs.
Jackman said that her daughter, a graduate of Columbia University, loved to read. “You could never find her without a book.” Though she working in the corporate world, Jackman said, Brooke told her family that she was planning to leave the corporate world to become a social worker.
“She wanted to work with children,” Jackman said. So her family decided that a fitting tribute to Brooke would be a foundation to support children’s literacy.
Jackman said that she is grateful for the high degree of community support, such as sponsors including local businesses. She also noted that many local organizations support the race. “There were so many volunteers,” many of them students from the high school.
Food was donated, including bagels, oranges, bananas, Italian ices, and ice cream, for the runners when they completed their course. Bottled water, kept cold in coolers, was also provided.
In addition to the 5K race, Jackman noted, there was a fun run for younger children beforehand. “I love the fact that it is a family event,” Jackman said. The 10th annual Health and Fitness Fair also took place.
“It’s great that there are so many families,” said Richard Cameron, who ran with his son, Terrance. “And it was really nice to finish running by the water.”