UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The weather made the 2009 version of America's Greatest Heart Run and Walk very enjoyable for everyone involved.
About three dozen runners started the day off in the 30-K run which begins in Barneveld. They met up with other runners along the way that were running shorter distances, like those running the five mile run beginning on Main Street in Whitesboro.
The three and five mile walks began at ten, and everyone ended up at the gymnasium at Utica College. That is where many people signed a memorial wall along the hallway leading into the gym. Volunteer Marolyn Wilson says "for an area that's supposed to be not good economically, we've got people leaving town, the hearts in Oneida, Madison and Herkimer Counties are bigger than any hearts anyplace else."
Many of those that participated know someone personally who has suffered heart failure, and say they have one reason for being there, but all admit they do have fun along the way. Ray Goracy of New Hartford said"I meet everybody, I just say hi to everybody as I go along, slap people high five, Sheriff's, it don't matter." Pamela Smoulcey of Utica said "the crowd when you hit New York Mills, it was crazy, all the cheering it was great."
More than 8000 runners and walkers participated in this year's event, 800 more than last year.