On Sunday morning over 350 runners participated in the Fourth Annual Oak Tree Race – Half Marathon and 5K in Geneseo. Christopher Chichester (Male: 1:20:38) and Katherine Aldridge (Female: 1:23:39) won the Half Marathon. Katherine set a new course record by breaking her previous 2006 time by nearly 3 minutes. The 5K was won by Brandon DiPasquale (Male: 18:23) and Katie Passarell (Female: 20:00). Katie also set a course record.
The Oak Tree Race is run for the benefit of the Genesee Valley Conservancy, a not-for-profit land conservation organization based out of Geneseo. The Genesee Valley Conservancy (GVC) works “to protect the habitat, open space and farmland of the Genesee Valley region.” Currently GVC protects over 8,300 acres of open space in the region thanks to annual membership contributions.
These open spaces protect the important rural characteristics of our Western New York communities. The scenic enjoyment of farm fields, pasture land, and forests provide for a quality of life that is often taken for granted. GVC works to remind people how beautiful our region is, and the importance of protecting these places for the future. The Oak Tree Race highlights some of GVC’s work in the Geneseo area; the Half Marathon course passes roughly 2,000 acres of privately owned GVC protected lands. The 5K course also passes a protected property, as well as the GVC owned Island Preserve. Located on Route 39 in the village of Geneseo, the Preserve has public walking trails that are open from sunup to sundown.
Over 50 volunteers assisted with the Oak Tree Race, from planning the event and making sure the day of ran smoothly, to cleaning up afterwards. Without their dedication and help this race would not be possible.
Many businesses also contributed to this race in important ways. The race was presented by The Bank of Castile, AM&M Financial Services and Tompkins Insurance Agencies. Over $1,000 in awards were given out from various local businesses such as Swain Sports, Barilla Pasta, Monks Bread, Worm Power, and NutButter. The overall finisher awards for the Half Marathon and 5K were oak leaf crowns and potted Oak trees provided by Palmiter’s Garden Nursery in Avon. All of these awards give the Oak Tree Race a unique local flavor that brings in runners from throughout Livingston and Monroe County. This year, runners even traveled from as far as Canada, Michigan, and Massachusetts for the race.
For more information on the Genesee Valley Conservancy, the Island Preserve, or the Oak Tree Race visit www.geneseevalleyconservancy.org or call 243-2190.