More than 50 people gathered at the west lot parking area of the Field of Dreams to run, jog and walk 3.1 miles to help raise money for the Ulster County Dog Park.
On Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m., For Paws of Ulster and Wright Naturals co-hosted their First Annual Family 5k Run at the Ulster County New Paltz Recreational Park.
For Paws of Ulster President Danielle Cardella said the 5k was about fundraising and garnering attention for the future park, as well as a “fun activity to organize and expand on each year.”
“We…are trying to reach a new demographic for awareness,” she said. “We try to vary our fundraising activities to reach as many different areas of interest as we can.”
The location was chosen because it was where the future dog park will be built.
“We chose the specific location…to orient people with where the dog park will be,” Cardella said. “Our starting area [was] right near where the dog park entrance will be.”
The event was also supposed to raise awareness for Wright Naturals, a natural products manufacturer in Tillson, N.Y., who helped organize the event. Melinda Wright, co-owner of Wright Naturals, said Cardella asked her to help direct the 5k because she has directed several running races in the past with her husband.
“I was part of the planning team, and used my connections with the running community to help get affordable insurance, the race clock and finish line team,” she said. “On race day, I helped with the registration and finish line.”
Along with helping plan the event, Wright Naturals also donated products for the goodie bags that were given out to race participants.
“[We] donated $350 worth of lip balms for the runners,” Wright said.
Cardella said local businesses were very supportive of the 5k and the organization’s other fundraising efforts.
“They really came through when we asked for sponsors for our race day shirts,” she said. “We also have donation cans in a number of businesses, and they’re always genuinely interested in dog park news when we go and check on them.”
This was Wright’s first event with For Paws of Ulster, but she said she enjoyed working with Cardella and is already looking forward to next year’s event.
“I know that [Cardella] has a high standard of excellence, and everything she does is well thought out and done top notch,” she said. “I was more than happy to partner with her — both on a personal level and as a business. We are already planning and excited about our second annual 5k with For Paws of Ulster.”
Looking toward the future, Cardella said they are concentrating all their efforts on getting the dog park off the ground and when they do, they will start to organize and host events to make Ulster County more dog friendly.
“We will…continue with our fundraising events albeit there will be much fewer of them, as there will always be a need for a maintenance fund for this endeavor,” she said. “The 5k will definitely be one of our annual fundraisers.”