BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Larkinville saw big crowds Sunday morning as dedicated athletes came together for the inaugural Run 716 15K race and relays. More than a thousand runners took part.
“Usually you get 300 to 500 runners your first race. A thousand runners is great!” said Art Wingerter, President of Univera Healthcare, the community sponsor for Run 716.
All of those runners, including News 4’s own Shannon Shepherd, gathered early for the start of the race outside the Flying Bison Brewing Company on Seneca Street. Race organizers say the whole event was the brewery founder’s idea.
“It’s so exciting to be at the start and watch it and hear them cheer as they started,” Flying Bison founder Tim Herzog told News 4. “It was wonderful.”
But, those involved in putting this race together say this was just the beginning of much bigger things to come. They’ve set their sights on bringing something the size of the Utica Boilermaker to Buffalo, and they say Sunday’s race here was a good start.
“Just watch and see, we’re going to do it. The Utica Boilermaker is 15,000 runners, and we’re starting with a thousand. Their first year was only 866, we’re a thousand, so we’re on the track to be successful,” said Richard Meyers, race co-director for Run 716.
Runners we talked to at the finish line said they really enjoyed the course for this year’s race, and many said Larkinville was a great area for the event.
The race also helps support a great cause. The Food Bank of Western New York is a major beneficiary. “We’re just very lucky. It’s going to help a lot of people in our community,” said Marketing and Development Manager for the food bank.
“These events are so important not only for just the food and the funds that come in, but also for awareness,” she added, “because people get to know about our organization and how important it is to work with the people in our community and get the hungry neighbors fed.”
Run 716 should have an even bigger community impact in the future, as more and more runners join in. “We know it’s going to grow,” Wingerter said. “Next year, who knows? Maybe 2,000 runners.”
Race organizers say formal planning for next year’s race will begin first thing Monday morning.