This year's GLOW Cup t-shirt contest winner was, first time recipient, Genesee Dental. They won with a shirt designed by Brian Kemp at T-Shirts Etc. Genesee Dental's charity of choice was Young Life, a ministry camp focused on helping adolescents grow in their faith.
“Young Life is a Christian outreach to middle and high school students as well as teen moms. The organization partners with adults and teens, building friendships and walking alongside kids through their teen years” said Max Herbert of Young Life.
“Genesee Dental chose this charity after Office Manager, Abby Zawistowski’s husband, Chad, passed away in November 2021 after a courageous battle with Leukemia. Young Life played an important role in Chad’s childhood as he benefited from donations so that he could attend their camp.” said Ashley Diehl, Abby’s coworker and best friend.
When the runners take the line today for the 10th GLOW Corporate Cup at Centennial Park Thursday evening, at least a dozen of the participants will share the rare distinction of being the only ones to take to the track every year of the event.
That will make them part of a fundraiser that will surpass this year's $200,000 in cumulative donations to the GLOW YMCA since 2014.
Close to 800 runners and walkers are expected to complete the 5K track, said race organizer Steve Tufts.
Tufts has organized the race since the first year, because Merrill Lynch office partner John Riter approached him about organizing a corporate challenge style 5K more than a decade ago. Riter came to Tufts because Tufts had experience laying out courses and ensuring they obtain 5K certification.
"The thing that makes the GLOW Cup unique is we entertain people," Tufts said. "We bring live music. This year it's Groove, a local band, and it's always a local band, and most of the teams bring their own food, have it catered, or cook right on site. It's like a corporate picnic built right into Centennial Park."
A twist this year to the race is the "couples challenge," or as it's known at the Corporate Cup, the "CUPles Challenge." The three married couples with the lowest cumulative times will win prizes, with a random drawing prize that all couples, regardless of time, are eligible to win.
Tufts said some smaller companies now use the Corporate Cup as their company's annual picnic, saving the expense of doing a separate event. One local company used to set up their own horseshoe pits each year.
"It's different things to different people," Tufts told The Batavian last week while visiting the Media Center at the Genesee County Fair. "But I think the thing that makes it successful is it's the GLOW region, and people do enjoy a night where they're not heading all the way over to the Rochester or Buffalo areas. This is in our back yard. From a runner's perspective, people do like the course because it's super fast. It is accurate. It's a certified course, which means it's an accurate distance, but it's not eligible for World Records, I'm sorry to say, because it's got a little bit too much down elevation for the distance. That is because we start out by the Blind School, and it goes down the hill down to Northside Deli and then turns left, and then it's pretty flat after that. So, just a little bit too much down for USA Track and Field Conference."
The certification expires in 2024, so Tufts plans to alter the course to start closer to State Street and end the race further up Ellicott Avenue, which should solve the elevation problem, just in case anybody wants to try and set a world record for his or age bracket.
Merrill Lynch chose the GLOW YMCA because the Y, like the Batavia Merrill Lynch office, serves the entire GLOW region.
The bonus is, the Y comes with a built-in set of volunteers.
"Right now, I'd say I wouldn't want it any other way," Tufts said. "I'm not sure how long I would get 70 people out on my course keeping people safe (without the Y). So it's been a great partnership."
Corporate sponsors help cover event expenses, which ensures all of the $25 entry fees go to the Y, Tufts said. Because of corporate sponsors, the organizers have been able to maintain the $25 entry fee, so it remains affordable for small businesses and individuals.
In the first year of the race, Tufts said they were expecting about 350 participants. They had more than 400. It went up every year until more than 800 in 2019, the last race before the pandemic. There was no race in 2020, and in 2021 numbers were down. In 2021, there were more than 700 again, but Tufts doesn't expect to exceed 800 this year because race participation across the nation, he said, is down since the pandemic.
The event has drawn a lot of sponsor support this year, and with anticipated participation from runners and walkers, Tufts expects to raise more than $25,000 for the Y this year, stopping the 2019 record of $23,005.
Last year was the second-best year at $22,963.
Going into this year, the cumulative total was nearly $180,000 raised.
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.
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.
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.
The organizers of the GLOW Corporate Cup are happy to announce that over 750 participants have registered for this year’s event. The 5K run/walk will start on Thursday, Aug 4 at 6 p.m.
Due to construction on Richmond Avenue, this year the 5K run will start on Park Avenue at the bottom of Centennial Park near State Street. The course will go down State Street, turn left onto Washington Avenue, right on Vine Street, right on East Avenue, left on Ross Street, right on Washington Avenue, and finish on Ellicott Avenue.
Motorists and residents should know that Park Avenue will close traffic between Lincoln Avenue and State Street from 4:30 to 6:15 pm. Automobiles are encouraged to be parked in driveways along the entire course so that runners and walkers can pass unobstructed.