The 11th annual Petruccelli 5k run/walk will be held on Saturday, October 3. The 3.1mile run and 1.5 walk go through historic St. Mary’s City and help raise money for the Alumni Scholarship Program and the Safe Ride Program.
John Petruccelli, a senior at St. Mary’s College in the early 80’s, was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bike near the college. After John’s death, the Petruccelli family established a scholarship to go to a student for academic achievement, devotion to the College and the cause of education, and responsibility to society. They also started an annual bike ride in John’s memory, as interest faded in the ride a triathlon started instead. However, high insurance costs on the triathlon ended up loosing money and so the run/walk began. John Petruccelli’s parents still attend the race every year in memory of their son who would be around 50 now.
The main purpose of the event, in addition to keeping alive John Petruccelli’s memory, is to raise funds and awareness for Safe Ride. This program runs vans to local bars to bring back college students so they do not try to drive back intoxicated. It is not to cater to drunks or give students an excuse to drink, but to prevent tragedies like that of John Petruccelli. The program keeps intoxicated students from inadvertently hurting others or themselves. The funds raised from the run are very important to the organization. The Safe Ride Program receives their employee salaries from the college, but everything else comes from donations. With money for often coming right out of officer’s pockets when funds are low, it really is donations that keep this great program alive.
This year the Alumni Association took over the run upon Safe Ride’s request. The Safe Ride Program has run the program for the past few years but the burden on student volunteers of organizing the entire events within a month’s time at the beginning of the school year was too much. The current Manager of Safe Ride, Daniel Ruthenberg-Marshall, remembers spending up to 15 hours a week last year on the 5k alone. With 30-40 other hours a week also devoted to Safe Ride keeping up with classes was imaginably difficult. The Alumni Association was more than happy to take on what they see as a great cause. “This is one of those annual events you don’t want to see stop,” says Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, Beth Byrd. With the Alumni Association’s full time employees working over the summer to plan for and raise awareness about the run this year’s race should be more successful than ever.
Whether you are a practiced runner looking to improve your time or the farthest thing from a runner you can participate in this event. “We want to see everyone involved,” says David Sushinsky, Director of Alumni Relations. This is a great way to kick off parents weekend so sign up and get your whole family involved in this awesome cause. To register for the walk or run go to the Alumni Relations Office, located in the Rectory across from the Historic St Mary’s State House, or go online to www.smcm.edu/alum/petruccelli.
The official timekeeper for the run will be the Chesapeake Bay Running Club and will post the results on their website.