Hundreds gathered in front of the St. Laurentius School to participate in the second annual St. LauRUNtius Fishtown 5K. While the race was designed as a day of fun, community, food, drinks, music and more its main purpose was to raise money to improve the technology and foreign language programs at St. Laurentius.
Last year the St. Laurentius School, located at 1612 E. Berks St., avoided closure through support and fundraising. The St. Laurentius Rectory hosted its first 5K last year and raised nearly $20,000 to help the school. Saturday saw similar results and an equally large turnout of residents eager to run the streets of Fishtown.
“This is really important to the community,” said run organizer A.J. Thomson said. Thomson, who has a daughter that attends St. Laurentius said, “We want to make this the best school in the neighborhood. Raising money for it will just make it better. ”
The event began with a prayer from Father Frank Gwiazda, a pastor at the church and school, who told the runners to look out for one another and remember those who were affected by Boston Marathon bombing days before the Fishtown event. Numerous Philadelphia Police Department officers were on hand to make sure the event went smoothly. Thomson said that they were cooperative and he was “happy they were there for the community.”
Among the 5K participants were current students of the school, various alumni as well as residents of the neighborhood. Prizes were given out to the male and female winners, the alum with the fastest time and to various winners within certain age brackets.
After all of the competitors crossed the finish line the all-day-long community festival began. Volunteers provided hot dogs, burgers, beer and a variety of other food and drink to all those who participated.
Thomson was not sure how much money was raised but called the event a success. “Bringing everyone together to benefit the school and have some fun is what this is all about.”