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Harrison 5K Raises Money for Local Hospital

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Runners and walkers took to North Street and the Westchester County Club Saturday morning for St. Vincent's Hospital's 3rd Annual Spring Sprint.

Spring Sprint Co-Chair Dianna Barber said the 5K race is meant to bring the community together while bringing awareness to mental health issues. Barber said the number of participants doubled from last year's race with about 530 people young and old crossing the finish line.

"We don't want people to think that it is taboo if they need help," Barber said about the awareness of mental illness the race aims to bring to light. "There are real people here 24/7 who will let you know that you're not alone. More people are becoming aware of what St. Vincent's does and that is very positive."

The Spring Sprint had both seasoned runners and first-timers giving the race a go. Runners and walkers started at the hospital and proceeded up North Street before turning into the Westchester Country Club and back to St. Vincent's. Susan Pizzutello, president of St. Vincent's Auxilary Board, said the group wanted something that would draw the community together in a healthy way.

"This event brings out the best in our community," said Pizzutello, a Harrison resident. "And we can make some money for the hospital as well."

Spring Sprint Co-Chair Katie Pagnani said the event is the only race of its kind in town, noting that bordering municipalities like Rye and Mamaroneck have a couple of 5K races a year. Pagnani added it gives kids a chance to get out and exercise. Participating schools at the Spring Sprint included Resurrection, Fordham Prep, Rye Country Day School, Holy Child, Ursuline and Iona Prep.

At the heart of the event was the hospital's mission. St. Vincent's Communications Director Terri Ezekiel said events like the Spring Sprint help the hospital to grow.

"A lot of mental health goes along with good physical health," Ezekiel said. "A lot of people don't know that we are here until they need us. There is no stigma for anyone who wants to get help."

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