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18th Annual Inwood 5K to be Held Sunday

Race has something for everyone, co-founder says, such as runs for tots and a 92-year-old competitor.

The 18th annual takes place this Sunday, and is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at . Patch spoke with Mike DeRosa, one of the founders of the race, about what to expect this year.

For those who may not know about the 5K or are new to the neighborhood, tell us about the race and its background.

The race was the idea of Peter Sobol, my co-director. He and I became friends in the early 90's and ran the LI Marathon/Half-Marathon each year. In 1993, he approached me with the idea of hosting a 5K in Inwood. 

Despite advice not to, we forged ahead and have made it a successful annual event. Peter grew up in Bellmore, but his former business, Sobol's Distributors, was located in Inwood. He has a fondness for Inwood that would rival anyone and continues to create new events for the community.

Who usually runs in the race?

Anyone and everyone. We have regular participants from all over Long Island, including the Twin Forks, the five boroughs of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut as well as other out-of-state residents who come home or are visiting for the weekend. 

Each year, I marvel at how our mailing list expands. Our oldest runner this year will be 92 and he has run every year — as far as I can remember. Our "Fun Run" and "Tot-Trot" allows participants as young as newborns to participate. It is also a very diverse cultural cross-section of participants.

Where is the best spot for spectators?

The best spot is along Bayview Avenue near Inwood Park, where the race starts and ends, although the road closes to cars at 8:45 a.m. To watch the race come by, Doughty Boulevard from Bayview Avenue to Burnside Avenue is probably the next best spot for spectators.

This is the 18th year that the race has taken place. What's new about it this year?

This year we hope the race continues its' growth since the implementation of computerized chip timing two year ago. Thanks to the support of St. John's Episcopal Hospital, we are able to provide this technology, bringing it on par with other larger races. As always, we hope to provide a very positive experience for the new runners that will visit Inwood for the first time.

Why should people come out for the event?

Why not? You don't have to run! Volunteers are always needed and spectators are much appreciated by the runners, young and old. There will be some very competitive runners giving it their all, not just having a leisurely jog. 

Then you have the children, the youngest of who will be racing across the field at Inwood Park for a pumpkin. The faces on these kids as they come back to the finish line is priceless.

The proceeds of the race go to area kids through scholarships, correct?

On race day, we utilize the volunteers of 12 local organizations in order to run the event. In the spring, each organization then chooses a graduating high school senior from the Five Towns to receive one of our scholarships on their behalf. We give out whatever we raised that year and our goal once again is $500 per student. Donations are always welcome!

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about the Inwood 5K?

The Inwood 5K Committee is just as proud of this event as the residents of Inwood are of their community. We welcome the runners each year with open arms and hope they enjoy the day as much as we do. For more information and photos go to www.inwood5k.com.

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