RYE, N.Y. – The Rye YMCA expects about 500 runners for the 26th Annual Rye Derby and another 500 for the Healthy Kids Day Sunday, April 27, as it celebrates its centennial year.
The Rye Derby and Healthy Kids Day has become an institution during the last 26 years. But it began out of desperation.
“They started the derby because the YMCA hit hard times,” said Margaret Mead, special events assistant for the Rye YMCA. “So, they came up with the idea to do a road race to raise money. Now we have about 500 runners and it is an institution.”
Terry Birdsong, who served on the Rye YMCA board of directors in the 1980s, said of the race fundraiser that “It really was the start of a new vitality and financial health for the Y.”
The YMCA event now draws elite runners, like Hicham Alaoui, of Morocco, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other notable runners this year include Titus K. Rotich, of Kenya, who took fifth place in the 2014 Atlantic City half marathon, and Askale Merachi, of Ethiopia, who took 11th place at the 2014 New York City half marathon.
All three will compete in the 5-kilometer and 5-mile races, which begin at 10:15 a.m. with a registration fee of $25 or $30 the day of the race. The first 100 finshers will win a prize. Registration for the races begins at 8 a.m.
“At least half dozen elite runners come from all over because we do give out cash prizes. So they come to compete and makes it not only fun, but prestigious,” Mead said.
A Family Fun Run and Walk begins at 12:15 pm. and registration costs $20.
Proceeds of the event go toward teen programming, financial aid for families and other community work.
Participants are encouraged to register for the races in advance online or at the Rye YMCA’s Member Services Desk.