HAMILTON: Township fire company hosts snow fun run

Second annual 5K race raises money for Wounded Warriors

by James McEvoy, Managing Editor
HAMILTON — Events during the holiday season often go off without a hitch despite the weather. However, the second annual Mistletoe 5K Run to benefit Wounded Warriors got a festive jolt by snow.
   Unfortunately, the white stuff had an impact on the race, as 215 participated though organizers expected approximately 400 based on registration information,
   Those who did participate ultimately raised $1,000 for Wounded Warriors. Last year, $5,000 raised was raised by the inaugural run last year.
   Also, organizers invited participants to bring unwrapped toys for Toys-For-Tots.
   Runners came hailed from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecicutt, according to race organizers. The youngest participant was six, whereas the oldest was 86.
   Despite the impact of the weather Deputy Chief Chris Tozzi said the event, which was near and dear to his heart having served in the U.S. Marine Corps., becomes a neighborhood tradition.
   ”Some of the guys are veterans on staff here,” Deputy Chief Tozzi said.
   He acknowledged the importance of designing the 5K to intertwine with the neighborhood near the fire station.
   ”We’re into the neighborhood kind of philosophy,” he said. “I know Hamilton’s getting big, but we love Mercerville.”
   Deputy Chief Tozzi said charitable events like the 5K are a way the fire company can be proactive about doing good.
   ”Here’s something proactive and positive,” he said. “It’s so important for my guys to be with the community at a good time because most of the other times it’s tragedy. When somebody calls 911 their life has changed, usually in a bad way.
   ”Whenever everything goes wrong the people that you rely on is the police, fire and EMS,” he added. “Sometimes we feel we have to do the opposite and bring the warmth and the family back into it because we see so much tragedy, hardship and pain over the course of the year that we feel it’s also important that we get together as a community.”
   He said he also enjoyed the impact the snow had on runners’ spirits, noting last year the race was held in unseasonably warm conditions.
   Julianna Denes-Perry, of Hamilton, said she wanted to come out for the event because “It’s local and it’s for a good cause.”
   Ms. Denes-Perry noted because of the length of the race, the run was “doable” for racers of most ages and ability levels, further enhancing the neighborly feel of the event.
   While she said she enjoyed the ambiance created by the wintry weather, she acknowledged it has another effect for runners.
   ”It puts you in the Christmas mood,” she said with a laugh. “Honestly, for running it just makes you want to go faster to be done quicker.”
   Overall she said it was a fun chance to get involved and do good.
   ”I’m not just donating money, I’m participating,” she said of the run. “I’m not just writing a check. It’s motivational and it’s fun — you get together with your neighbors.”
   After the race, runners were provided complimentary food and drink by the Texas Roadhouse of Hamilton and Bill’s Olde Tavern. Runners also enjoyed live music will be performed by Sweet Vita.
   Even Santa made appearance at the race despite it being less than two weeks before Christmas.