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Iona College XC & TF Volunteers At Sean's Run

          Release: 05/01/2017
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY - On Sunday Apr. 30, the Iona College Cross Country and Track & Field programs travelled to Chatham, NY to volunteer their services at Sean's Run, a charity 5K race and community event.

The annual Sean's Run is organized as a memorial event to Sean French, a local runner who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2002. The event aims to raise awareness regarding the dangers of drunk driving and driving under the influence of other substances. Through charities, Sean's Run provides grants for prevention programs in the area, as well as scholarships to deserving students who dream of pursuing higher education.

More recently, the event has supported the family of Chatham native, senior Ross Wightman.  His sister was diagnosed with leukemia last year. The family have been long-time supporters of Sean's Run and the 2017 edition raised awareness for the family. The Wightman family have been great advocates and supporters of Iona's cross country and track & field programs, so this event was particularly significant to the Gaels.

Additionally, the event has added importance to the team as Associate Head-Coach Joe Pienta was a friend of Sean French.  They shared a friendly local rivalry over the cross country and track seasons during high school.

The Gaels arrived in Chatham prior to the start of the event and were charged with marking out parts of the course.  They also helped set up the environment, pitching up tents and setting up decorations.

The experience began with fine clear skies as cars pulled up greeted by student-athletes and a large number of balloons, whilst some Gaels buttered and ‘cream-cheesed' hundreds of bagels for the finishers of the race.

The children's ‘Megan's Mile' began just as rain started to fall. A number of Iona students lined the course directing the runners braving ever-increasing precipitation and impending thunder.

Unfortunately, the inclement weather caused the main 5K, ‘Sean's Run' to be delayed by thirty minutes, before being cancelled entirely due to lighting.  Nonetheless, student-athletes assisted in transporting food from the tents inside for participants to enjoy.

Wightman said of the day's events: “It meant a lot to me and my family that the team could all come and support this event. It is something that we have always been a part of, and to give back by volunteering here was really important to me."

Junior Alex Carter agreed that the event was a great way to volunteer: “Although the weather was a highly unfortunate occurrence, we all showed great spirits and were still able to aid the organizers. I hope that the team continue to support a charity event such as Sean's Run; it is for an important cause."

Freshman Gemma Nuttall enthusiastically stated the event was, “Marvelous, I can't wait to help next year."

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