When Vince Frisicaro heard the date of this year’s Iroquois Foundation 4-miler, he knew he had to do something special.
The retired history teacher understood what Nov. 11, 2018, meant – the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.
So Frisicaro got to researching. He discovered five men from the area within the Iroquois school district who died during the Great War. Their sacrifice will be honored on Nov. 11 at the annual race, reaching across generations to celebrate the contributions of veterans.
“World War I tends to sometimes get lost between all the research of the Civil War and World War II,” Frisicaro said. “World War I is the only war the U.S. was in that doesn’t have its own national memorial. As a veteran myself, I’m always interested in what we can do for veterans to keep their memories alive, even though it’s 100 years past. When we saw the date, it was natural to do something for the local veterans, to remember the service they’ve given and tie it to the community.”
So on Nov. 11, runners will have bibs bearing the names of one of the five veterans who died in World War I:
Alfred Beels and Charles Kurtzhals were from Elma, Carl Hellman and Dennis Kelly were from Marilla and Allen Dimon was from Wales.
The race, now its third year, began in honor of four Iroquois students who died while serving in the military. Milton Snow, Eric Jednat and Edward Shanahan died during the Vietnam Era while Sgt. Mark A. Rademacher died during the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
Part of the proceeds of the race go to Honor Flight Network, which flies veterans, free of charge, to Washington, D.C., to visit the war memorials, giving priority to World War II veterans.
“They’re treated like kings for a day,” said Frisicaro, who volunteers for the organization. “They’re so humble and this is such a gratifying experience for them.”
The American theme is part of the race as well, as the course begins at the Iroquois Veterans Memorial at 2111 Girdle Road, in Elma, ending at the Made in America Store at 1000 West Maple in Elma, featuring a chicken barbecue this year.
The other feature which separates this from any other race is the distance; there aren’t many 4-mile races.
“I coached cross-country and track,” Frisicaro said. “I ran six marathons, finished four. In my day, we’re talking '70s and early '80s, it was pretty much 10Ks that ruled the roost. Now there’s a vast number of 5Ks and we thought 4 miles was a different distance for people. We usually end being about two weeks before the Turkey Trot, so we say it’s a good tuneup. It’s really nice and scenic. People say it’s hilly, but they’re usually the ones who only run in flat places.”
Pre-race registration is $25. For veterans, it’s $20. Day of registration is $30 or $25 for veterans. Packet pickup will be Friday, Nov. 9 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Made in America Store.
Sarah Danner of Buffalo had an impressive performance at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. She finished 16th overall in the women’s field with a time of 2:50:19. In April, Danner ran the Boston Marathon in 3:04:17.
Danner is having quite an impressive year. She was second in the Buffalo Half-Marathon (1:22:02), second at the Oak Tree Half Marathon (1:25:56), and was fifth at the Subaru Buffalo 4-mile Chase (23:12).
Saturday, Nov. 3
- Veterans Race 5K/10K, 9 a.m., Templeton Landing
- UAW Region 9 Veterans Appreciation 5K Run, noon, UAW Local 686, 524 Walnut St., Lockport
- The Mighty Fitz 5K, 2 p.m., Brickyard Pub, 432 Center St., Lewiston
Saturday, Nov. 10
- Take A Breath For Life 5K, 11 a.m., Hamburg Fairgrounds, Lower Grandstand, 5600 McKinley Ave., Hamburg
Sunday, Nov. 11
- Iroquois Foundation 4-Miler Salutes Veterans, 9:30 a.m., Iroquois Central School District, 2111 Girdle Rd., Elma
Saturday, Nov. 17
- Michelle's Memorial 5K, Middleport Fire Hall, 28 Main St., Middleport
- Kaely's Kindness 5K, 11 a.m., Mahoney Restaurant, 199 Scott St.
Sunday, Nov. 18
- Run With The PAC 5K, 10 a.m., Holy Cross Cemetery, 2900 South Park Ave., Lackawanna
Thursday, Nov. 22
- YMCA Turkey Trot 8K, 9 a.m., Delaware Avenue YMCA, 2564 Delaware Ave.
- Cold Turkey Run (4.5 miles), 9 a.m., Sunny's, 43-45 Water St. Fredonia
Saturday, Nov. 24
- Home For The Holidays 5K, 9 a.m., Medina City Hall, 600 Main St., Medina
- Amy's 5K, 11 a.m., Lakewood Community Center, 9 West Summit St., Lakewood
Saturday, Dec. 1
- Holly Jolly 5K, 10 a.m., Orchard Fresh Plaza, 4050 N. Buffalo St., Orchard Park
Saturday, Dec. 8
- Niagara PAL Santa Dash 5K, 9 a.m., Sheraton At The Falls, 300 Third St., Niagara Falls
Saturday, Dec. 15
- Ugly Sweater Caroler 5K, 10 a.m., 11th Frame, 206 Main St., East Aurora
Sunday, Dec. 16
- Freezer 5K, 11 a.m., Buffalo Iron Works, 49 Illinois St.
Saturday Dec. 22
- Holiday 5K at Old Fort Niagara, 11 a.m., Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown
Monday, Dec. 31
- New Year's Eve 5K, noon, Fort Niagara State Park, Lewiston