New event added to America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Weekend

PrintThe running community in the Greater Utica area has spoken – and we’re listening! This year, we are proud to announce a brand new event for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Weekend. The inaugural Have a Heart Half Marathon will be held on Saturday, March 5th, 2016.

The event will be a timed race starting at General William Floyd Elementary School in Holland Patent and finishing at Utica College. Registration is officially open for the first 500 participants at There is a registration fee of $60.

Board chairman Steve Gassner (right) presents dedication plaque to Jim Stasaitis

The first-ever Have a Heart Half Marathon was dedicated to Heart Run & Walk Director Jim Stasaitis during Thursday night’s kick-off and news conference. We kept the dedication a secret until the announcement, so Jim had no idea it was coming! Jim has been a dedicated volunteer with America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk for many years, and even shared his personal story during Thursday’s kick-off. He had a stent put in only two months ago after a minor heart attack.

If you’re not a competitive runner, don’t worry! There will still be lots to do for everyone at Heart Run & Walk Weekend. You can choose the 30K, 5 mile, or 3 mile runs. These are not timed events. And of course, the popular 5 mile and 3 mile walks are still an option. No matter what your pace is, we want you to get moving with us!

America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Weekend starts with the My Heart. My Life. Expo on Friday, March 4th at Utica College. The Health & Wellness Assessment Screenings will be available once again from 9am-9pm, sponsored by Mohawk Valley Health System.

The WIBX Heart Radiothon is sponsored by Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, P.L.L.C. and will be broadcasted on WIBX of Townsquare Media.  The Heart Radiothon will be broadcast on Friday, March 4th from 6am – 6pm and Saturday, March 5th from 5am – 1pm and streamed online at

WKTV Heart Telethon is sponsored by UFCW Local One and will be broadcast live on WKTV NewsChannel 2 and streamed online at  The Telethon will be broadcast live on Friday, March 4th from 7pm – 8pm and Saturday, March 5th from 8am – 1pm.

During the news conference Thursday, finalists were announced for the Lifestyle Change Award, sponsored by Olivari Mediterranean Olive Oil.  The award honors those who have made significant changes to live a healthier lifestyle.  Finalists Michael Debottis and Jeff Percacciant have both lost weight, added exercise to their daily routines, and changed their eating habits. The winner will be announced at America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.

Dorothy Sperbeck-Cornnell, long-time volunteer and Friend & Family/Community Teams Committee Chairwoman, announced this year’s Red Cap survivor ambassadors.  Our Red Cap ambassadors strive to educate and inform people of various cardiovascular diseases through their own personal and inspiring experiences.  They ask you, the participants, to instill their passion as you raise money that will be used for training, advocacy, research and education.  They hope the knowledge you gain from listening to and/or reading their stories will make you want to involve your family, friends and colleagues on your team and fundraising efforts.  In addition to information about America’s Greatest Run & Walk, stories from the heart were shared by this year’s Red Cap survivor ambassadors; Liam Hoag and his family, Terry Leonard, Donna Myers, and Mark Cummings.

If you are interested in forming a fundraising team or volunteering for the event on Saturday, March 5th, 2016, please contact the American Heart Association at 315.580.3964, or log onto

Be sure to connect with us on social media using #HeartRunWalk. You can follow updates from us at on Facebook at AHAMohawkValley or on Twitter at @HeartCNY.

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