Every year as students return to school, the fundraising starts. Whether it’s wrapping paper, cheesecake or cookies, children are typically asked to sell something to their families and neighbors in order to raise much-needed cash for their school. At CahillElementary School in the village of Saugerties, however, funds are raised by a single event that brings the school and community together in a positive and healthy way: the Cahill 5k race, which this year will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19.
The race is now in its fifth year, and spokesperson Jennifer Mangione hopes to top last year’s numbers of 170 runners with $14,000 raised. The monies raised went to field trips, family fun nights and yearbooks, among other activities and events.
Since this is the only fundraising event for the entire school, a fact with which Cahill parents are very pleased, there are several components to it. First, there is a 1k race, which the Cahill students themselves run on the day prior to the 5k. These students collect pledges, which add to the funds raised and also gets the school community excited about the event.
Adding to the fundraising total are the sponsors, local businesses who sign up to have their names included on the official race t-shirt and this year, also along the race route. Sponsorships range in price from $100 to $500. Last year there were 35 sponsors who contributed at various levels. Mangione points out that “families can donate, too, which is always nice.” Daisy Bolle, who owns Dig in the village of Saugerties and coordinates the event’s sponsors, says that this year they hope to ask local politicians to join the sponsors. A parent of Cahill students, Bolle says that she is “proud to be a part of it.”
The runners themselves, who can sign up ahead of time for a reduced fee of $20 or on the race day for $25, also add to the fundraising total, 100 percent of which goes directly to CahillElementary School.
Many of the runners turn out year after year. Doug Freese, who is on the board of the Onteora Runner’s Club and one of the race’s organizers, thinks that it is because “people like the hominess.” He says that the race has an old-fashioned feel, where people don’t run to win a trophy but to win a pie or cake, the “edible prizes” baked by members of the PTA and awarded to the top male and female runner in each age bracket.
Bolle agrees that there is a nice community feel to the race, and points out that the race makes physical fitness a priority. “You are a good role model when you run,” she says, stressing the importance of setting an example for the children attending CahillElementary School.
Mangione echoes this sentiment, pointing out that the race is a healthy alternative to the other fundraising methods schools use, such as selling unhealthy treats. She says this race is special and calls it a “fantastic community day,” noting that it is the kind of race where grandparents run alongside their grandchildren.
Since it is a “fast and flat” course, straight down Washington Avenue from Main Street all the way to the end at Mike Kraut Road and back, runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to sign up. Registration forms may be found at the CahillElementary School website at https://www.saugerties.k12.ny.us/Domain/373. Spectators are also encouraged to come and cheer on the runners along Washington Avenue.