Accident casts pall on fundraising run

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James Post jpost@the-leader.com

PAINTED POST | A fundraising run Saturday was marred when one of the runners was struck by a car, suffering what police said were minor injuries.

The AIM Center for Independent Living Allies in Disguise 5K and Mile drew 70 participants and raised $5,500 for AIM’s programs to help people with disabilities.

AIM spokesman John Zick said while they were happy so many turned out for the event despite the frigid weather, the incident, involving a woman who has run in the race before, cast a long shadow over the day.

“We were very saddened” by the incident, Zick said. “All of our attention and thought went to her safety.”

He said he went immediately to the scene, and found the woman conscious and talking. She was taken to Corning Hospital for treatment.

Sgt. Carter Payne of the Corning Police Department said the incident occurred when a driver turned left from Fuller Avenue onto Western Lane, where he said the woman was running in the middle of the road.

Payne said because the runner wasn’t staying to the side of the street, following proper pedestrian rules of the road, no citations were issued to the driver.

Zick said in planning the course, which begins in Craig Park and mostly follows the Painted Post bike trail, they hadn’t considered the short section on Western Lane, Dwight Avenue, Stimson Street and Cutler Avenue to be a safety concern.

“It’s very secluded, very quiet,” he said.

Nevertheless, Zick said the injury to a participant will obviously affect future course planning.

While he said those in the immediate area stopped to assist as they could and ensure that the victim was being cared for, they eventually continued on to finish the race, along with those who were ahead of the incident and unaware of it.

The overall and female winner of the 5K was Amanda Baker, 26, who clocked a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds. The male 5K winner was her father, David Baker, 54, who was sixth overall with a time of 23 minutes, 21 seconds.

Finishing just behind the younger Baker was Donna Koss, who said she takes part in events like Allies in Disguise to set an example for her children.

“I do it for my kids — setting goals and accomplishing them,” Koss, of Horseheads, said.

But she said she was also aware of the work AIM does in the community.

“I’ve dealt with them a little bit,” Koss said. “I’m a speech pathologist.”

The first person to actually cross the line was Andrew Cleary, who was running the mile course.

Cleary was taking part in the event along with his team from Crystal City MotorWorX in South Corning.

He said this is the first time he’s taken part in a fundraising run, but did it because it’s a good cause (and because his girlfriend works at AIM).

“They do a lot of good in the community, that’s for sure,” Cleary said.

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