Friar 5K Breaks Fundraising, Attendance Records
More than 900 members of the Providence College family took to the streets of the Elmhurst neighborhood to raise money for the PC Fund in the third annual Friar 5K road race.
“We’re really showing Friar pride out there today,” said Colleen Cronin Duffy ’83, president of the National Alumni Association Board of Governors, as she welcomed the runners and walkers behind Harkins Hall at the start of the race.
The fundraiser brought in more than $18,000, the most raised since the race began. Proceeds from the event go to the PC Fund, which supports initiatives such as academic programs, campus life, technology, financial aid, and athletics.
The major sponsor of the event was PC’s Student Congress. The Bentley Foundation and Frank Sciuto ’70 were other top donors to the event, along with 12 other sponsors.
Sarah Firetto ’03, associate director of alumni relations, said the Friar 5K was a huge success.
“I think it’s an event that truly embodies the idea of the ‘PC family,’ and it embraces the local community as well,” she said.
Julian Matthews ’12, a 24-year-old former PC cross-country and track student-athlete from New Zealand, took first place with a time of 14:51. He was followed by Julian Oakley ’16 (Taranga, New Zealand), a current cross-country runner, who finished in 15:30. Joe Vercollone ’16 (Pembroke, Mass.) came in third at 16:01.
The women’s champion was Trish Hillery, 45, of Greenville, R.I., who was the 19th person to cross the finish line in 19:22. Clare Carroll ’14 (Merrick, N.Y.) was the second woman, with a time of 20:00, with Deanna Karam ’15 (Fall River, Mass.) on her heels. She took third place in 20:07.
More than 100 people enjoyed a complimentary pasta dinner on Friday night that was open to all race registrants. “It’s definitely something we want to do again,” Firetto said.
After the race, alumni, students, families, faculty, and staff gathered on the Slavin Center lawn for the annual Friar Fanfest, sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Department of Athletics. The event featured more vendors than previous years, including Kami Cakes, Njabini Apparel, Snookers, and Dunkin’ Donuts, which donated breakfast for volunteers and runners.
About 100 people also attended the post-race party at the Ladder 133 restaurant, where registered runners received a free drink and food discounts.
Race — and a college visit
Two PC alumni used the race as an opportunity to teach their students about the spirit of competition.
Andrew MacMannis ’09 and Ryan Desaulniers ’09 are teachers and track coaches at Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts, a Providence charter school. The school is so small, however, that it doesn’t belong to an athletic conference and its seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade runners had never participated in a competition. Nor could the students afford to register for the race.
The College waived their registration fees in exchange for volunteering at packet pick-up and the pasta dinner. In addition, Charles M. “Chuck” Borkoski ’71 and his wife, Leslie, sponsored two Trinity students.
MacMannis said the 11 students all finished — and three of them beat his time.
“They loved it. It was more than just the race and volunteering,” he said. “It got them really started thinking about college, which was great.”
In addition to volunteering for four hours, running the race and meeting the men’s basketball team, the students took a tour of campus and asked questions about college life, such as how long classes are.
Several alumni said their dedication to the College motivated them to register for the race.
Don Annicelli ’81, ’09P, & ’14P said he drove up from East Greenwich, R.I., “to support the alumni association.” He had run several races in the past but wanted to get back into it. “I figured this is a good way to tune up a bit,” Annicelli said.
Steve Basson ’79 said he has run hundreds of 5Ks but made the trip from South Windsor, Conn., to participate in this race as well as watch the men’s basketball team’s Mal Brown Scrimmage.
Jeff Pond ’97 recruited his three brothers and sister-in-law to run with him and convinced Carrie Houde ’97 and her husband, Scott, to come up from Philadelphia for the race.
“The older we get, the more we try to do stuff that’s kind of healthy,” Pond said. He added that the race also serves as an opportunity to give back to PC.
The Houdes brought along some extra cargo for the trip: their children, who are 1, 2, and 5 years old.
“It might be a while before we cross the line, but we will finish,” Carrie Houde said before the race.
For Kathleen Flanagan ’91P & ’01P, the Friar 5K was the first race she had ever run — and she took first place in her age division.
Her husband, Michael Flanagan ’67, said he “often hits the gym” with Kathleen, but decided this year to try a race. PC’s event was a natural one for them to choose.
“We love Providence College,” said Kathleen Flanagan. “We really believe in the College, so we support it whenever we can.”
For race results, go to http://www.coolrunning.com/results/12/ri/Oct20_Provid_set1.shtml.
— Liz F. Kay