By STEFAN GESTWICKI
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
The 14th Annual Dunkirk Lakefront 5K will be a little bit different than in years past when the race is held Saturday.
This year, the event is part of the Chautauqua Striders Runner of the Year Series, which should help bolster participation numbers.
"The Chautauqua Striders series has 10 races and this year we became one of those races," Meet Manager Kurt Warmbrodt explained. "They have a dedicated core of people who run their races. It's a very high quality organization."
While the Dunkirk Lakefront 5K is usually held the weekend of July 4, becoming part of the Chautauqua Striders Series forced the change to early August, which Warmbrodt said was a smooth transition among the running community.
Another new feature this year is the addition of a computer timing system, which Warmbrodt noted will be a "big plus."
Previously, the race had started in Memorial Park and the course took runners through Point Gratiot. Last year marked the first time when the course ran through Wright Park instead, which it will again this year.
"We start in Memorial Park and end in Memorial Park," Warmbrodt said. "We go down along Wright Park Boulevard and down around the skate park. It's a nice little course."
Following the race there will be an awards ceremony right in Memorial Park. Pizza Village will provide food and refreshments.
One problem the event has always faced is a lack of high school athlete participation despite the fact that Warmbrodt is also the Dunkirk cross country coach.
"I do have a spattering of them this year," he said. "Few kids have ever been a part of it, but you'd be surprised by how many runners I have in the 50-60 age bracket."
See LAKEFRONT, Page B4
The weather report for Saturday shows a slight chance of precipitation, but it shouldn't provide too much of an inconvenience.
"It's rain or shine," Warmbrodt added. "Runners are familiar with that. It's one thing if you're getting a snowstorm, but Saturday should be a decent day."
There is still time to be a part of the action. The race begins at 9 a.m. and pre-race registration will start at 7:30.
"This is our 14th year," Warmbrodt concluded. "We're very happy to keep it going. We have 80 people preregistered. It's going to be a fun time."