Thousands of people will be running for a cause this Sunday as the 21st annual Linda Yalem Safety Run kicks off at Alumni Arena. The race is a UB tradition and honors the memory of Linda Yalem, a UB student who was murdered in 1990 while training for a marathon on the bike path near North Campus.
Andrea Constantino, director of Student Life at the University at Buffalo and race director for the run, explained that the run is for a good cause but brings back emotions as well.
"With the recent capture and conviction of the bike path rapist and murderer (Altemio Sanchez), it is a bittersweet event for the entire WNY community as we reflect on the losses of our family, neighbors and friends," Constantino said. "UB continues to present this important event to remind our community to remain vigilant about personal safety."
The race is a five-kilometer (3.1 mile) USA Track and Field certified course both starting and finishing at Alumni Arena.
Runners also have a chance to qualify for The Buffalo News' Runner of the Year series, welcoming experienced runners and casual walkers alike.
Registration will take place Friday in Alumni Arena from 4-7 p.m., and before the race on Sunday at 7:30 a.m.
Amanda Iseppon, a junior communication major with a minor in art, has volunteered for the race the past two years amongst the hundreds who help make the event a success.
"My sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, always helps with the race," Iseppon said. "It's exhausting because it's early on a Sunday morning, but it's a great event and I'm happy they've continued to do it every year."
Awards will be given to first place finishers in several categories, including the top male and female finisher and the top three finishers in five-year age categories. There will also be a post-race party featuring food, giveaways and live music performed by Black Widow.
David O'Keeffe set the record for fastest time by a male in 1991 after crossing the finish line in 14 minutes and 39 seconds, while Allison Carr has held the female record since 2005 with a time of 17 minutes and 30 seconds.
The first 1,200 registrants will receive a Safety Run t-shirt. Students can race for $15, while adults fees are $20. Proceeds from the event support UB's rape prevention and safety awareness programs. The race starts Sunday at 9:30 a.m.