By JOHN PURCELL
Recorder News Staff
Amsterdam police next month will help residents burn some calories before heading to the South Side to feast on Italian food, with the annual race moving to a new location.
The Amsterdam Police Benevolent Association’s fourth annual Cops and Joggers 5K will be held Saturday, Sept. 9, at Riverlink Park. Registration and packet pickups will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K will step off at 10 a.m. near the north entrance to the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge.
Amsterdam Detective Joseph Spencer, an event organizer, said around 100 people participate in the annual 5K, which offers a way for the public to connect with police outside of a traditional setting, such as when an officer responds to an incident.
“We’re not there for a police matter … so it’s a more personal interaction,” Spencer said.
Cops and Joggers participants could also easily walk to the River Ridge ItaliaFest, which kicks off at 11 a.m. that day and is centered around Bridge Street on the South Side.
“If you come out for the race, you can hang around the park and it’s going to go right into the ItaliaFest,” Spencer said. “We’re hoping to get a lot of people that come for the run and then stay, eat and patronize the places on the South Side.”
Race participants will step off from Riverlink Park, travel across the MVGO to the South Side and onto the Erie Canalway Trail, with participants then looping around and traveling the same pathway back to the MVGO to cross the finish line. There will be a water stop and post race refreshments provided.
Awards will be given for the top three finishers by gender in age groups of 10-year increments.
Spencer said this year’s course is more flat and will likely lead to faster race times than prior years when the event was centered around Shuttleworth Park. He said event organizers also wanted to take advantage the MVGO since this is the first year it has been available.
Pre-registration is $20 per person and guarantees a long sleeve t-shirt designed for the event. Online pre-registration is available at CopsAndJoggers5k.RaceDirector.com. Race day registration is $25 and event t-shirts will be available while supplies last.
Spencer stressed walkers are welcomed to participate at the event, too.
“We have another course for the walkers and if they sign up and just want to walk a portion of the course they’ll get a t-shirt as well,” Spencer said.
Proceeds from this year’s 5K will benefit the Amsterdam PBA and the Amsterdam Free Library. Spencer said union members selected the city library to provide assistance following the blaze outside the historic building earlier this year.
PBA members each year select an organization to benefit from the event alongside the union, which has included Wishful Thinking, Amsterdam Little League Baseball, and the Amsterdam High School Track and Field/Cross Country Booster Club, according to event organizers.
Amsterdam Free Library Director Nicole Hemsley was honored the police union included the library as a beneficiary of this year’s event.
“The city proves time and time again just how thoughtful and considerate they are,” Hemsley said.
The Amsterdam library will also be holding its annual “Community Thank You Picnic” at noon on Sept. 9. People are encouraged to bring a dish to share with others at the picnic, which will be held on the library’s back lawn.