BERGEN — This Saturday, August 11, at 8:30am in Bergen the Jenny Kuzma 5k will take place with some of the regions fastest runners participating.
More than 400 runners are expected to participate in this small town Genesee county race. Defending champion and pre-race favorite Maegan Krfichin of Dewitt, NY is set to race on Saturday.
“It’s exciting coming back to the race as defending champion.” Krifchin stated. Krifchin won last year’s race in the time of 16:29 on route to shattering the pervious course record, which was held by Corning, NYs Morgan Burrows with a time of 17:19. “Being the defending champion and course record holder makes coming back even more special. This is something that is motivating to me and I hope to perform well on Saturday.” Krifchin added. “This race is local for me and I enjoy racing in the western and central New York area and hope to represent the area well.” Krifchin is a custom to racing outside of the New York area.
Krifchin finished 2nd at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, Minnesota back on June 16. Krifchin finished in a time of 1:10:46 only 2nd to USA Olympic Marathoner Kara Goucher who finished with a time of 1:09:34. Other women entered in the field that will contend for the top places are Christa Meyer of Fairport, NY who has a 5km personal best of 17:11, Amanda Jinks a Pavilion, NY native, Marissa Liberati a SUNY Geneseo cross country and track stand out, Trisha Byler of Henrietta, NY who ran 17:16 at last year’s Bergen 5km, and Sarah Loerch of Rochester, NY who finished 2nd at the Rochester JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge.
The men’s race will be wide open and there will be a new champion. Defending Champion and Course record holder Linus Chumba will not be returning. Chumba who was entered in the field had to scratch on Tuesday night. “I am not in position of running the Bergen race this year.” Linus Chumba said over the phone. “I pulled my hamstring last week and thought it could be better by then, Im disappointed because this was a great race.” Chumba was a late entry last year when he contacted the race director the evening before the race and slept on a bus over night to arrive to Bergen. Early this year Chumba finished 6th overall at the Utica Boilermaker 15km. Kip Tisia of Rochester, NY who is a familiar name to the Rochester Running scene was also entered in the race but will not be racing on Saturday. Tisia who won the Flower City Half Marathon, Mountain Goat 10miler, Lilac 10km, and Buffalo Half Marathon is currently visiting family back home in Kenya and could not make it back in time.
The race favorites for the men are Colin Leak of Syracuse, NY who has a personal best in the 5km in a time of 13:53. Leak 5km best came at the Colonial relay back in 2010 when he attended William & Mary. Leak has had a light racing schedule so far in 2012 but finished 3rd American at the Utica Boilermaker 15km. Tim Chichester of Mount Morris will also be a contender. Chichester has had a stellar racing season this year by finishing 2nd at the Johnnys Runnin’ Of The Green in Rochester, 11th place finish at the Boston Marathon, 2nd place finish at the Lilac 10km, and made the USA Mountain racing team that will be competing in Italy later this year. Chichester finished 6th at the Mount Washington Road Race on June 16th to earn this honor. Peter Kosgei of Binghamton, NY who won 9 NCAA titles when he attended Hamilton College and a 3rd place finisher at the Lilac 10km is entered for Saturday’s race. Nick Guarino of Bergen, NY who is a 5 time Division III National Champion is entered along with his twin brother Josh Guarino of Bergen, NY.
Other notable runners are Patrick Geoghegan of Syracuse, NY who finished 9th at the Buffalo Subaru with a time of 19:22 and who has already has won 3 Rochester area races, Tito Medrano an University of Syracuse Cross Country and track runner has run 14:06 for a 5km this year and competed in the NCAA division I cross country and track and field championships this past year, Kevin Collins a former Olympic Trial Marathon participate along with 2012 Olympic Trial marathon finisher Fred Joslyn will be in the field for Saturdays race. Mark Andrews one of the top masters runners in the country and Rochester JP Morgan Chase corporate challenge champion along with Buffalos JP Morgan Chase corporate challenge champion Vasilas Kariolis are also entered in the Bergen race.
Jenny Kuzma was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with CML at a regular pediatric visit. (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia usually presents in adulthood and has no known cure except for a successful bone marrow transplant.) Jenny was treated as an outpatient at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo with oral chemotherapy for the next 8 years. This young girl was able to lead a somewhat normal life of an elementary age student except for the weekly blood tests and frequent bone marrow aspirations.
In the summer of 1989 it was decided that since her remission times were becoming fewer and shorter, the only option left was an experimental bone marrow transplant. She and her mother went to Sloan – Kettering Hospital in NYC for the procedure. It required a 4month stay due to complications and infections. Jenny returned home in December in time for Christmas. She returned to school part time as a 7th grader at Byron-Bergen Middle School.
In May 1990, spots were discovered on her lungs and she again was hospitalized. The bone marrow transplant had not been successful and she died at 13 in June 1990. A 5k race has been held in her honor; the proceeds of which go to a scholarship given to an 8th grade student at Byron-Bergen who fulfills the requirements of the reward. This year’s proceeds will be divided between the scholarship & Camp Good Days and Special Times.
Along with a competitive field for Saturday’s race there will be plenty of prizes to be giving away. The Bergen 5km has over 40 raffle prizes to be giving away which includes Buffalo Bills tickets and Saucony Running shoes. The race will also have over 6 music spots on the 5km course to entertain runners. For more information on the Bergen 5km go to www.bergenroadrace.com. Follow the race on twitter to get live race updates of the race @bergenrace.com.