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Photos: 10th Annual Batavia Kiwanis Independence Day 5k

By Steve Ognibene
10th Annual Batavia Kiwanis Independence Day 5k  Photo by Steve Ognibene
10th Annual Batavia Kiwanis Independence Day 5k  Photo by Steve Ognibene

More than 150 runners and walkers participated in the annual Batavia Kiwanis Independence Day 5K at Centennial Park in Batavia. 

The top male winner was Justin Vrooman from Batavia with a time of 17:05.  The top female winner was Becca Galanti from Alden with a time of 23:44.

To view all results, click here.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
Justin Vrooman from Batavia was the overall winner of the race with a time of 17:05  Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
Winners pictured who came in first and second in each age catagory for men and women.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
Becca Galanti took first place overall for the womens division and Justin Vrooman from Batavia was the overall winner of the race.  Photo by Steve Ognibene

Batavia Downs hosts 2nd annual Jackpot 5K on Sunday

By Howard B. Owens
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2024
Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs, and his wife Caroline Wojtaszek crossing the finish line at Sunday's race.
Photo by Kara Richenberg

On a clear, sunny Sunday morning, 158 people turned out to participate in the Batavia Downs Jackpot 5K, an event that benefited WNY Heroes, Inc.

Batavia resident Justin Vrooman, 24, had the best overall time at 15:09. Second, Matt Oberst, 43, of Farmington, at 15:31.

The top female runner was Miranda Gatto, 19, of Niagara Falls, at 15:22.

This was the second year of the event at Batavia Downs.

Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Henry Wojtaszek speaking before the race on Sunday.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2024
Runners at the starting line.
Photo by Mike Richenberg
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2024
Kimberly Mills (#35) finished 1st in her age group with a time of 17:16.
Photo by Mike Richenberg
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2024
Runners starting the race.
Photo by Mike Richenberg
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2024
Photo by Mike Richenberg

Sponsored Post: Jackpot 5k to raise money and awareness for vets

By Sponsored Post
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Kimberly Tomasik out in front of the field at the start of the Batavia Downs Jackpot 5K in 2023.
File Photo.

By James Fink

For one morning, racers at the Batavia Downs' starting gate and finishing line will have two legs, not four.

Batavia Downs is hosting the second annual Jackpot 5K run - set for 9 a.m., Sunday, June 16 (Father’s Day) - where the runners will start and finish along the one-half mile track.

“It is designed to be a fun, fast, flat, and unique course,” said Dan Horan, race director and a retired Buffalo Police Department officer.

Runners (and walkers, too) will start on the Batavia Downs harness track and then make their way through various Batavia streets and the Batavia VA Medical Center grounds before returning to the track and the finish line.

“Actually, I think running through the VA hospital grounds is one of the more picturesque parts of the course,” Horan said.

The race’s genesis came from a happenstance meeting between Horan and Henry Wojtaszek, Batavia Downs president and CEO. Wojtaszek was looking for new events to bring to Batavia Downs, and the 5K (3.1 mile) race fit the bill.

“Things just worked out,” Horan said.

In its inaugural run, the race attracted 165 runners last year. More than 140 people, as of June 4, have pre-registered.

“It is gaining some traction, especially because of the course and being on the track,” Horan said. “But, our intent is to see this grow."

Entry fees are $40 and are available through the Batavia Downs website. A portion of proceeds benefit WNY Heroes Inc.

Participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt, $25 in free play at Batavia Downs, a post-race party on the track with pizza and beverages.

Sponsors include NUTRL, Michelob Ultra, Aqua Fina, Pepsi, Tops Friendly Markets, Pizza 151, Vivify, and Red Bull.

James Fink writes on behalf of Batavia Downs.  Sponsored Post paid for by Batavia Downs.

Inaugural Pavilion Gopher 5k fun run and walk, June 1

By Press Release

Press Release:

Pavilion Central School District (PCSD) is thrilled to announce the inaugural Gopher 5K Fun Run/Walk on June 1, utilizing the newly developed Pavilion Walking Trail. This community event marks the first public introduction to the scenic campus trail, offering a unique opportunity for community members to engage in physical activity while enjoying the natural beauty of the school’s surroundings.

"We are so excited to finally be able to share our beautiful campus with the community," said Ashley Tallman, Pavilion Central School District Wellness Committee Coordinator and Health/Physical Education Department Chair.  

"We have been planning for how we could use our grounds for physical activity since former and retired teacher Marianne Witowski was here. Our inaugural Gopher 5K on June 1 gives us an opportunity to share the trail with a wider audience in a more formal way and brings awareness to this great resource in our community. We are really excited about how the trail will support the health and well-being of our school community. We are truly hoping the 5K becomes a staple in our community and that the 1st ever Gopher 5K brings the community together and highlights the trail as a great resource to support the health and well-being of our school community."

The Pavilion Walking Trail, a collaborative effort between Pavilion Central School District staff and various community stakeholders, including the Genesee Valley BOCES, has been in the works for over a year. Funded in part by the State of New York through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Initiative, the trail is designed to increase physical activity opportunities for students, families, and the broader community.

The Gopher 5K Fun Run/Walk invites competitive racers and casual participants alike, with the option for timing via chipped bibs for those who register by May 27. Walk-in registrations are welcome on the day of the event, though chipped bibs may not be available. Family registrations are also encouraged; however, these entries will not be timed.

To register for the Gopher 5K Fun Run/Walk, please visit the Google Registration Link. We appreciate cash donations on the day of the race to support the ongoing maintenance of the trail and the event's timing system.

For more information, please contact Ashley Tallman at

Join us in making this inaugural event a staple in our community and help us celebrate a healthier, more connected Pavilion!

Photos: Caryville Inn Turkey Trot in Oakfield

By Howard B. Owens
logan clark winning caryville inn turkey trot 2023
Logan Clark won the 2023 Caryville Inn Turkey Trot on Thursday with an unofficial time of 17:05.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Caryville Inn in Oakfield sponsored its annual Turkey Trot on Thursday morning.

It was a new, and for the first-time certified, course for this year's event.

heather mills, caryville inn turkey trot 2023
Heather Mills was top woman finisher in the 2023 Caryville Inn Turkey Trot. (Time not available).the 
Photo by Howard Owens
caryville inn turkey trot oakfield 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
caryville inn turkey trot oakfield 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
caryville inn turkey trot oakfield 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
caryville inn turkey trot oakfield 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
caryville inn turkey trot oakfield 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
caryville inn turkey trot oakfield 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.

Notre Dame’s running with the Irish 5K set for September 30

By Press Release

Press Release:

Notre Dame will host our 2nd annual 5K Run on September 30. This will coincide with our ND’s Homecoming Football game vs. Geneseo/MM at 1 p.m. Alumni are welcome! 

There will be a kid’s fun run starting at 10 a.m., with the 5K Run/Walk following at 11 a.m. Food and ice cream trucks will be available after the run.  

Long-sleeve T-shirts are guaranteed to participants who sign up before September 22. Proceeds to benefit Notre Dame High School Athletics Department. For more information and to sign up visit

Kimberly Tomasik wins inaugural Batavia Downs Jackpot 5K

By Howard B. Owens
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Kimberly Tomasik out in front of the field at the start of the Batavia Downs Jackpot 5K
Photo by Howard Owens.

In the inaugural Batavia Downs Jackpot 5K, Kimberly Tomasik, age 30, ran away from the field for a wire-to-wire win at 18:02.

Matt Oberst, 42, was the top male runner at 19:03.

Third place overall and second among the women was Kimberly Mills, 32, at 20:12.

Marie David, 52, was third among the women at 24:08.

Jacob Seppe-Shultz, 31, was second among the men at 21:27, and Kevin Sheehan, 61, was third among the men at 21:44.

The course opened with a lap around the race track, exited Batavia Downs onto Park Road to Richmond, and back to Batavia Downs, finishing with another lap around the track.  The length of the 5K race was not certified.

Proceeds from the race benefit WNY Heroes, an organization that services area veterans.

Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Kimberly Tomasik finishes well in front of the field.
Photo by Howard Owens
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023
Matt Oberst finishing the race.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Batavia Downs Jackpot 5k 2023

Batavia Downs announces first-ever Jackpot 5K on June 17

By Press Release

Press release:

Officials from Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel announced that their inaugural Jackpot 5k will be taking place on Saturday, June 17th.  Proceeds from the race will benefit local community groups and WNY Heroes, an organization that works with Veterans and their families across WNY, including Genesee County, to provide support and assistance.

This family-friendly 5K will start at 9 a.m. and finish at Batavia Downs. The start will be out in front of the facility, following a course around the streets near Batavia Downs and ending at the actual finish line on the Harness Track.  The post-race party will be on the track apron, where an awards ceremony for 5 different age groups will be held.

The early Bird price is $25, and participants can sign up at

Racers will receive $25 free play, a T-shirt, a post-race drink and snack.  The price increases after May 15, so those wishing to race or walk are urged to sign up as soon as possible.

“We here at Batavia Downs are looking forward to hosting our first 5k event, “said Batavia Downs CEO and President Henry Wojtaszek.  “We’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and having a course that incorporates the track is a unique twist you won’t find with other local 5k races.  We’re proud to be partnering with WNY Heroes on this event.  As a veteran myself, I know that WNY Heroes does great work locally, and we are honored to be hosting an event that will raise funds and help them gain exposure for the important work they do.”

The race is sponsored by Michelob Ultra, Nutrl, Tops Friendly Markets, Pepsi, Vivify, Red Bull and Pizza 151.

Notre Dame announces second annual Irish 5K Run/Walk

By Howard B. Owens

The Notre Dame Running with the Irish 5K Run/Walk is back for its second year and is set to take place on March 11.

The event will kick off with a Kids Fun Run for children under 11 years old at 9 a.m., followed by the 5K run/walk starting at 10 a.m. The course will start behind the school and take runners north on Richmond Avenue, around the VA facility, and up and down Redfield Parkway before returning to the school.

All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the athletic department at Notre Dame.

Participants in the Kids Fun Run can register for $10, with prizes being given to all participants. T-shirts for the kids can be purchased separately. The 5K registration fee is $25 and includes a cotton long-sleeved T-shirt with the race logo.

Awards will be given to the top overall male and female runners, as well as the first-place winners in the following age categories: 14-Under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+. There will also be awards for the local school with the most registered runners, the business with the most registered runners, and the family with the most registered runners.

Registration for the Notre Dame Running with the Irish 5K Run/Walk can be found online at or on the ND website at

The race is held in close proximity to St. Patrick's Day to celebrate Notre Dame's Irish pride. Last year's event had 125 participants, and the organizers are hoping to see even more runners this year.

(Based on press release).

Photos: Rotary's Trick or Trot 5K at DeWitt

By Howard B. Owens

With a course that encompassed the lake at DeWitt Recreation Area and took runners through two fall-colored cemeteries, the Batavia Rotary Club hosted its second Trick or Trot 5K on Saturday evening.

There were 61 runners in this year's contest, and Zak Jantzi (top photo in white shirt) won with a time of 18:05.

The top woman runner was Joanne Kachelmeyer (second photo) with a time of 21:31.

Photos by Howard Owens.

Run for domestic violence awareness reaps top winners

By Howard B. Owens

In a field of only 26 runners, a couple from Union City, Penn., won their respective races in Saturday's "Run Until Their Voices are Heard 5K" sponsored by YWCA of Genesee County. The event was part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and was in honor of victims and survivors of domestic violence.

The race started and finished on North Street in front of the agency's building. 

Peter Boyd, 48, won the men's race with a time of 16:47 and Jeanette Boyd, 46, won the women's race with a time of 22:18.

Photos by Howard Owens

Domestic Violence awareness 5K set for 9 a.m. Saturday at YWCA

By Joanne Beck

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the related Run Until Their Voices are Heard 5K begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the event will take place rain or shine. Fee is $35.

Register at YWCA tomorrow or online

The 2022 Run for the Acorns is Sunday

By Press Release

Press release:

Enjoy a trail run in the Genesee County Park & Forest this weekend! Join us for the 10th annual Run for the ACORNS 5k/10k trail run and walk this Sunday, Oct 2 at the Genesee County Park & Forest!! Meet at Pavilion B on Raymond Road. In-person registration opens at 8 a.m. or register online at The price is $35/person and all proceeds benefit ACORNS, the nonprofit friends-of-the-park group. 10k begins at 9:00 am, and 5k run/walk begins at 9:15 a.m.

This 5k/10k trail run and walk is designed for people of all ages and activity levels.

5k and 10k courses are marked with signs and direction arrows. Your start and finish times will be recorded and posted to the results automatically. 10k runners must finish the first 5k of the race in 50 minutes or less or will be disqualified. The courses are on single and double-track trails through the forest, along a creek and up and down rolling hills in the Genesee County Park & Forest, with an estimated 100 feet of climb in the 10K loop. Trails are very wide and easy to negotiate (rocks and roots are clearly marked for safety). The courses start on asphalt and then lead into the woods for a truly beautiful run through the countryside.

Surround yourself with the beauty of the autumn forest on trails through the woods, along the headwaters of Black Creek and over rolling hills.

Awards will be given to the top male and female running finishers in each race and to the top male and female running finishers in each age group. You must be present to receive your medal. Enjoy post-race snacks and drinks as you congratulate your fellow participants.

Rebert, Mills repeat as Elba 5K champions

By Howard B. Owens

Brandon Rebert took a quick, long lead in Saturday's GLOW Arc Friends and Family 5K in Elba, and finished ahead of the rest of the men's field by nearly two minutes.

The Oakfield resident's time of 18:54, however, was a bit short of the course record he set in 2021 at 18:09.  

This is the third straight victory (with no race run in 2020) in Elba for Rebert.

Kim Mills, also of Oakfield and another multiple repeat winner in Elba had the second-best time and the best woman's time at 20:29.

Michael Richenberg, of Batavia, who himself previously had a streak of six straight wins in the race, and held the previous course record, came in third overall and second among men at 20:49.

Richenberg and Mills both won the first Arc 5K in 2010.

Photos by Howard Owens

Kim Mills crossing the finish line.

Photos: GLOW Corporate Cup 2022

By Howard B. Owens

Kim Mills, a frequent winner of local 5Ks in recent years, once again had the best women's time in the GLOW Corporate cup, crossing the finish line at 19:31.

Perry MacKinnon, an intern with Farm Credit East, and from Canada, bested the men's field by two minutes with a time of 15:23.  Zakariah Jantzi, Bontrager Real Estate & Auction, came in second at 17:24.

Bontrager won the team competition with Zakariah, John Bruggman (17:41 and third overall), and Abby Jantz (19:56, second among women).

In the 50-59 age group, Brian Fraser, 52, came in first at 18:50, and Nathan Balduf, 52, second at 22:14.

For full race results, click here.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.:  Coordinator Steve Tufts reports that there were 760 registered participants and 599 completed the 5K race.

"Yellowjacket Racing – our race management company – tell me that they’ve been seeing 20-25% no-shows since the pandemic," Tufts said. "They added that our 6% increase over last year was good because most races in the northeast this year are down from last year."

There were 50 teams.  There was no cost to have a team but each registration was $25.  Some employers covered all or some of this expense for their team.

The winner of the team T-shirt contest was U.S. Gypsum Co.  They actually repeated from last year.  The Merrill Lynch office will donate $500 to their charity of choice in the near future.

There were 8 Gold sponsors at $1,000, 13 Silver sponsors at $500, and 10 Bronze sponsors at $250.

There were 38 corporate tents of various sizes mapped around a stage and numerous more 10x10s were thrown up on the perimeter.

There was a first-time winner this year of the GLOW Corporate Cup:  Bontrager Real Estate & Auction.  This team competition combines the fastest 3 local employee times of a team and compares that to other teams.  The perennial favorite team from Batavia City Schools was second and Intergrow Greenhouse was third.

Early estimates on the net money raised for the GLOW YMCA is around $25,000, Tufts said.

"There was a route change this year in case Richmond Avenue was impassible due to road construction," Tufts said. "We probably could have run the original course, but a lot of work went into designing a different way to safely get runners and walkers around this city at the tail end of rush hour on a hot August night.  Starting at the south side of Centennial Park allowed us to close off traffic to the section of Park Avenue nearest State Street.  It was fun running down State, turning left onto Washington Avenue, and left again onto Bank Street.  Two huge water stations were necessary this year along with a misting tent at the finish line."

We will update this post with more information from the organizers when it is available.

Perry MacKinnon

Zakariah Jantzi


Grillin' in the Upstate Toyota tent.

Liberty Pumps tent.

The Blueways Band provided the soundtrack for the race afterparty.


Here are a couple of additional shots of one of the water stations by Jim Burns.

Fourth of July is no picnic, but still plenty to do

By Joanne Beck

So there’s some good news and some bad news about Fourth of July festivities this year. While there don’t seem to be too many local events taking place on the actual day, including the long-standing Picnic in the Park, (the bad news), there are plenty of activities during the long weekend leading up to the patriotic holiday.

That should be good news for anyone interested in baseball, fireworks, live music, cultural and artisan entertainment, a road race and the camaraderie that naturally accompanies family and friends gatherings.

Friday, July 1
First up is the Old Hippies from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in Jackson Square (between Jackson and Center streets, Batavia. You should know the drill by now: bring a lawn chair, relax and enjoy. Across town will be a Muckdogs game at 7:05 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium. In addition to swing-batter-swing, there will be fireworks following the game.

Or how about “Get(ting) the Led Out” at Batavia Downs Gaming, where a Led Zeppelin tribute band takes the stage at 5 p.m. trackside. Click here for tickets

Josh Groban will be taking the stage at 7 p.m. at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, 9993 Alleghany Road (Route 77). For tickets, go here 

Restaurants are also planning to provide some live music for patrons, including the Red Osier on Route 5 in Stafford, and Center Street Smokehouse on Center Street in Batavia.

Saturday, July 2
From 6:30 to 10 p.m., the Sinner Band will be at Jam at the Ridge, 8101 Conlon Road, Le Roy.  Click here for tickets

Saturday will also bring the family fun all day and night long with the Batavia Ramble Explore Arts & Music Fest downtown in Jackson Square. Live bands, cultural dances, hands-on artist crafts, and more will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more details, see prior coverage here 

Big Time Rush Forever Tour is set for 8 p.m. at Darien Lake Amphitheater at Six Flags Darien Lake Theme Park. For tickets, go here

Public Water Supply will have the music flowing from 8:30 to 11 p.m. at Cherry Hill Campground, 1516 Sumner Rd Darien Center. For more information, go to

Sunday, July 3
Sunday will feature another Muckdogs home game at 7:05 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium, complemented by a nightcap of fireworks. For more information or tickets, go to Muckdogs

Backstreet Boys: DNA World Tour is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Darien Lake Amphitheater. Click here for tickets 

Monday, July 4
Holiday? What holiday? Lace-up your sneakers for a little early morning exercise before firing up the grill and enjoying picnic treats. You’ve got a week to prepare for the annual Kiwanis Club Independence Day 5K, set for 9 a.m. July 4 at Centennial Park.

The annual fundraiser is back on the road this year, after a temporary pandemic virtual option, says club member Dave Chua. For those runners not willing or able to take on the morning 3-mile jaunt, there will be a virtual option again this year, Chua said.

Runners will be helping Kiwanis Club raise money for the Autism Nature Trail and Batavia City School District Foundation.

As for no Picnic in the Park, Chua didn’t think that would impact the number of participants in the 5K, especially since the event has always wrapped up before the picnic festivities began anyway. It will mean, however, the rental and expense of port-a-potties. Participants have previously been able to use the ones already put in place for the picnic, he said.

This year’s race is going with a new timing company, Spirit Timing, which seems to be well-organized, he said. As part of that change will be fewer paper registrations versus online. There will also be a phone app to register that way ahead of time or while standing in line that morning as a day-of registrant.

Those that do register ahead of time are pretty much guaranteed a T-shirt with the official race logo, and all runners will get a bib with the timing chip on race day. Fees are $25 for each of the July 4 and virtual races.

Packet pick-up (and pre-registration) will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 3 at Batavia’s Original, 500 East Main St., Batavia. For more information, go to Batavia Kiwanis 5K

With all of the construction and a one-way Park Road along Batavia Downs Gaming, there won’t be any fireworks at the site this year, marketing director Ryan Hasenauer said. He recommends checking out the Friday concert as part of the Rockin' the Downs series, above.

Godfrey’s Pond is hosting a fun, members-only parade on July 4, complete with decorated bikes and golf carts. A step out of the county will find Genesee Country Village & Museum with a good old-fashioned Independence Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Mumford. For more information, go here.

Photos: Notre Dame 5K and fun run and walk

By Howard B. Owens

Notre Dame hosted a 5K race along with a run and walk for families this morning with proceeds raised going to the school's athletic programs and GLOW Arc.

Photos: Turkey Trot in Oakfield 2021

By Howard B. Owens

Brandon Rebert won another local 5K today. This time the Turkey Trot in Oakfield, hosted by the Caryville Inn.  He finished with a time of 18:02.

Kim Mills, also a regular winner of local 5Ks, was the top female runner today.

Photos: 2021 Friends and Family 5K in Elba

By Howard B. Owens

Brandon Rebert set a new course record of 18:09 today in Elba in the annual Arc of Genesee  Orleans Friends and Family 5K.

Rebert beat his 2019 winning time -- the last time the race was won -- by nine seconds.

Kim Mills took yet another women's 5K title with a time of 21:37.

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