RYE, N.Y. – Hundreds of Rye and Westchester County community residents young and old raced Sunday in the 24th Annual Rye Derby to raise money for the local YMCA.
“The money that we raise today goes towards financial aid for kids and families who can’t afford to participate in our programs,” said Sally Wright, development director of Rye YMCA. “There’s great need and summer camp coming up, we have lots of kids who want to go to camp, so it’s all that good stuff.”
The money was raised mainly by the sponsors of the 5K and 5-mile races in addition to the application fees of the 377 runners, said Wright.
She has been coordinating the race for 16 years and said the best part “is seeing everyone in the community come out and have a good time – and all the smiles on the kids’ faces,” but stressed “it’s not an easy race, but it’s very manageable and I think people really feel accomplished when they come in.”
Mauricio Montiel, 35, whose second daughter was born last week, said he was not passing up the opportunity to race. He finished first in the 5K race out of 178 runners with a time of 17:37.
“Between trying to get some sleep and waking up really early at night was a little bit tough on me,” said the Rye resident. “I like to run here when there’s a race. It’s a nice event. The Y puts a lot of effort into the city and it’s just fun.”
He also participated in a Rye marathon last year and plays soccer and tennis, as well as running, to stay in shape and condition for the race.
Greg and Michael Wilson, a father-son duo from Rye, participated in the 5-mile and 5K, respectively. It was their first race together because Michael, a seventh-grader, just started running cross country. His father, who finished in 18th place with a time of 32:10, was running in his sixth 5-mile race.
“We’re members of the YMCA, so this is definitely a worthwhile organization,” said Greg Wilson. Thirteen-year-old Michael, who said he was trying not to start out too fast finished in 72nd place with a time of 27:32.
Lori Pitta and Elizabeth Ayres were at the event with their friend and spin class instructor at the YMCA, Karen DeFilippo, who was hoping Pitta and Ayres would finish under near 50 minutes. Both achieved the goal, with Ayres in 166th and a time of 48:30 and Pitta in 179th with a time of 50:58.
Pitta ran in the New York City marathon last year and plans on participating again this year. She was wearing a Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance t-shirt, which is degenerative muscular disorder she helps raise money for.
Abraham Ngetich participated in the race because he was curious about how quickly he could finish. He ended up finishing in second place in the 5-mile race with a time of 24:13. The Kenyan native, who has lived in America for six years, has run in a New York marathon and said he was challenged by the hills on the Rye course.
Wright did not disagree as she said, “It’s a flat scenic course and the runners like it,” but “the hardest part for them is Playland Parkway. Coming up the parkway, it’s a slight incline, so it makes it challenging.”