The UFT’s sixth annual Family 5K Run/Walk took educators and students from the smartboard to the boardwalk on May 11, as participants laced up their sneakers for a jaunt along the shore at Coney Island.
Margaret Joyce, the chapter leader at PS 35 in the Bronx, and teacher Eunice Bang were enthusiastic first-time participants in the event, which raised nearly $24,000 for the UFT Disaster Relief Fund.
“I just recently got into fitness and I’m not a strong runner yet, but I’m excited to be here because it’s a community of teachers,” said Bang.
From strolling to sprinting, all paces were welcome. Participants ran and walked along the iconic Coney Island boardwalk and headed into MCU Park, home to the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones, for a finish at home plate.
This year, participants who were gunning for a fast time got an extra boost of competition in the form of 25 young runners from Brooklyn’s IS 223 running team, the Montauk Red Tide.
“These kids are so appreciative of what their teachers do for them, and being here is a way for them to support their teachers and support the UFT,” said their teacher, John Sorocco.
Other participants had personal ambitions. At PS 506 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 15 members are taking part in a “Biggest Loser”-style challenge to shed pounds, complete with monthly weigh-ins and a cash prize.
“So our goal is to finish!” said school aide Andrea Scanni, who walked alongside paraprofessional Siu Chia and teacher Jeanne Carroll.
The top male and female finishers in the event weren’t just racing rivals. Rakibat Abiola and Nick Lesser are also co-workers at International HS at Lafayette in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
“It feels nice to win, but it also feels nice to be doing something with co-workers and other UFT members and being around the community,” Abiola said.
UFT Vice President for Middle Schools Richard Mantell, who organized the event, said it was a beautiful day for a run.
“Everyone came out to enjoy the weather and participate in raising money for a great cause,” Mantell said.