TORONTO - Everyone agreed it was a hot one Saturday for the 11th annual Robert Urich Memorial 5-Mile Run/5K Walk and the Gem City Day event centered at the city gazebo commons.
More than 150 walkers and runners gathered at Toronto High School early Saturday morning to get in some exercise before the big afternoon heat as well as raise funds for the Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research, a Toronto High School scholarship to a deserving student and future Gem City Day celebrations.
Trophies for overall winners in separate categories at race's end included Sherri Alig, first place female walker; Carl Kondrach, first-place male walker; Cedric Robinson, first-place male runner; and Danielle Lucas, first-place female runner.
Mark J. Miller
ROBERT URICH MEMORIAL RACE — The 11th annual Robert Urich Memorial 5-Mile Run/5K Walk Saturday in Toronto included more than 150 walkers and runners vying for trophies and medallions. Those involved in the different categories during the event — sponsored by the Toronto Ohio Chamber of Commerce —included Lexi Biasi, left, race assistant; Sherri Alig, first-place female walker; Carl Kondrach, first-place male walker; Cedric Robinson, first-place male runner; Danielle Lucas, first-place female runner; and Mike Biasi, race organizer.
Mike Biasi, race organizer for the city chamber-sponsored event, said he was happy with the turnout despite the 90-plus temperatures by the end of the race at 10 a.m.
Overall we had about 60 runners and 30 walkers (competing)," said Biasi, adding not everyone was competing for the trophies and medallions made by TIMET Corp. "We had quite a few leisure walkers, too. I'd say we had about 150 people here today."
Those involved also received T-shirts and lots of free water as part of the event. The race is named after city native and actor Robert Urich, who died after a long battle with cancer in 2002. A veteran of movies and television, some of his better-known roles were in "Vega$," "Spencer for Hire," "S.W.A.T." and "The Lazarus Man." He also appeared in the films "The Ice Pirates" and "Magnum Force." Urich also was a frequent visitor in Toronto during his career, visiting family and friends.
Biasi thanked all those involved in the race and said times for all participants could be found online, at www.smileymiles.com. He also thanked Lexi Biasi for her assistance.
On the other side of the city at the gazebo, games for kids, including a sidewalk chalk art contest, watermelon-eating contest, watermelon seed-spitting contest, patriotic bike and pet parade and other activities proceeded despite the brutal temperatures.
Brenda Cich, chairman for the Focus in Toronto Organization, sponsors of the event, said many of the planned events were moved forward in the schedule because of concern for volunteers and those attending the celebration. Still, children had fun, whether it was enjoying the contests or playing on the giant inflatables, moved to Gem City Plaza.
"There are some troopers here," said Cich. "One girl came back today to defend her title in the sidewalk art contest."
Children did seem to be enjoying themselves, and several winners and medals were the result. Those winning the parade contest included Sophia Allen and Westen Kasper, first place; and Mack, an English bulldog who won best animal.
Sidewalk art contest winners in the ages 4 to 7 category included Gracie Findley, first place; Donevan Poole, second place; and Angelo Porreca, third place. Those art contest winners in the age 8 to 12 catagory included Alyssa Owens, first place; Anthony Porreca, second place; and Janna Glaber, third place.
Those winning the watermelon-eating contest in the ages 4 to 7 bracket included Martie Lovato, Donevan Poole and Gael Ramirez. Winners in the watermelon-eating contest ages 8 to 12 included Joey Shook, first place; Janna Glaber, second place; and Jack Glaber, third place.
Those winners in the ages 4 to 7 watermelon seed-spitting contest included Donevan Poole, first place; Martin Lovato, second place; and Andrus Ramirez, third place. Those in the ages 8 to 12 catagory winners included Joey Shook first place; and Luis Jimenez, second place.
The annual Turtle Race at Newburg Landing Park has been postponed until July 21, said Cich.
"The turtle race will be held July 21 due to the loss in sales from canceling the downtown festival," said Cich. "This event funds the many Focus In Toronto-sponsored events, as well as our $500 community service scholarship and the many donations we make throughout the year. We can't absorb that loss. Postponing gives us two additional weeks to make up for the loss in sales due to canceling the all-day downtown festival."
The owner of the winning turtle will receive $500 cash as well as cash prizes for second- and third-place winners, and turtle certificates for adoption are available at Henry's Dairy Aisle, Sally's Hallmark and Yummy's Homemade Ice Cream, Cich added.
Other events Saturday included a pancake breakfast at the Masonic Lodge and the program and city fireworks later that evening at Clark Hinkle Field.