Harbor Fitness racers raise money for HeartShare
Residents who regularly exercise at Harbor Fitness in Bay Ridge took their quest for healthy living outdoors on June 11 to take part in the Harbor Fitness Race for Autism, an event held to raise money for the nonprofit organization HeartShare Human Services of New York.
Dozens of runners came out to compete in the 5K race which Harbor Fitness hosts every year. The competitors run through the streets of Bay Ridge, starting outside the fitness center at 9215 Fourth Ave.
The overall winners were Alex Plasencia, 30; David Mendelsohn, 40; and Stephen Wo, 31, who all finished the race in 18 minutes or less. The top female runners were Rachel Marks, 32; Emelyn Ebeyer, 18; and Elizabeth Mattock, 22.
A special Pee Wee Run for children was held to kick off the day. In addition to the races, the day also featured entertainment by clowns, a Zumba class and Feats of Strength competitions.
The 2017 race marked the 10th year that Harbor Fitness has donated the proceeds from its race to HeartShare Human Services of New York. HeartShare uses the funds on its educational programs for students with autism.
HeartShare, headquartered at 12 MetroTech Center, provides housing, education and job training programs for developmentally disabled and autistic people.
“In our programs, children with autism have made extraordinary progress,” said George Cincotta, vice president for public affairs at HeartShare. “There was one child who attended our pre-school program. When she started, she couldn’t speak a word. After time with our educators and therapists, her poignant first words were, ‘I love you, Mommy.’ That’s the kind of work we do.”
State Sen. Marty Golden and Councilmember Vincent Gentile, both of whom represent Bay Ridge, were on hand on race day to lend their support for the event. Sen. Golden presented Harbor Fitness representatives with a state Senate resolution honoring the run.
The run memorialized the late Arthur Mondella Jr., a local resident and avid fan of Harbor Fitness. Mondella was a superintendent with the New York City Department of Sanitation. A raffle was held in his honor with the proceeds from the ticket sales donated to the National Kidney Foundation in his memory.