WEST PITTSTON — The eighth annual Fourth of July Young Run 4 Fun has a little more meaning this year.
Not only will the West Pittston Parks and Recreation Board team up with the Wyoming Area cheerleaders, but this year’s race will be run in memory of the late West Pittston Mayor Tony Denisco, who was a supporter of everything involving the rec board.
The annual run is set for 9 a.m. Monday, July 4 at Wyoming Area’s Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium in West Pittston. Children ages 2 to 14 are welcome to participate in the race. Events will be held from 1/8 mile all the way up to a two-mile race. The event runs rain or shine.
The objective of the race is for everyone to finish the distance and have fun. Every child receives an award after completing the event.
Organizer Gina Malsky said the event usually draws around 100 families. There are participants who run around the track at Wyoming Area, and also participants who are wheeled around in strollers by parents. At the finish line, the cheerleaders and the West Pittston Borough Council will be there to hand out prizes and cheer runners to the finish.
Malsky said Denisco was never hesitant to help out the rec board in any way possible — everything from the annual Christmas tree lighting and parade to many other things throughout the borough.
“He was always at our events,” Malsky said. “Being a lifelong resident of West Pittston, even before he was mayor, we thought it was appropriate that the kids could run in memory of him.”
Vanessa Shedlock, a senior captain for the cheerleading squad, is no stranger to the sport of running. She has competed on the Wyoming Area track and field team the past three seasons and made an appearance at the state track and field meet this past spring.
At this past year’s District 2 championships, Shedlock placed fifth in the 400 and sixth in the 200. She was part of the 4×100 relay that went to the state meet. She enjoys seeing the faces of each participant.
“I’ve always enjoyed running so it’s nice to see younger kids getting into running and they are here for a good cause,” Shedlock said. “It feels really good to cheer them on and it’s amazing seeing all the little kids. They are running just for run.”
The Wyoming Area senior had some words of encouragement for anyone who wants to continue in the sport.
“Just keep running,” she said. “Something like this can always help them down the road.”
Registration can be made at the West Pittson Borough Building or by registering by 8:45 a.m. on the day of the race. Cost per participant is $10, which includes a T-shirt and a “goodie bag.” To make a donation to the event, checks can be made payable to the West Pittston Parks and Recreation Board and mailed to the West Pittston Borough Office.
“The rec board relies on donations and these events are for the community and the kids,” Malsky said. “Anyone can come down and volunteer. It’s a fun race and everyone’s a winner.”
This year’s sponsors include Independent Graphics, MVP Sports Academy, Work of Art Learning Center, Argo’s Sportswear and Wyoming Area School District, along with the rec board and the cheerleaders.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick