Count Mark Parisian among those who never thought the Pit Run would last to a 20th year.
Not only is the annual road race in Oneonta turning 20 on Sunday, but its health would appear to be stronger than ever.
“I would have asked which event you were talking about,” Parisian said when asked if he envisioned the Pit Run making it to 20. “I’m not comparing the Pit Run to the Boilermaker (a huge 15-kilometer race held annually in Utica). I’ve been active in the Pit Run and the Boilermaker. I was doing the Boilermaker before Rick was killed.
“I was recalling in 1996 that it was (the Boilermaker’s) 20th race and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, 20 years. I don’t think we’ll ever get that point,’” he continued. “Even that fall, that was third year of the Pit Run, and I was thinking five would be great, but 20 is out of reach. I don’t think it would be possible anywhere but Oneonta.”
Parisian’s brother, Ricky, died while trying to prevent an armed robbery in Oneonta in 1994. The Pit Run is held in honor of Ricky “Pit” Parisian, who was a New York State Police Investigator at the time of his death.
“There are some days when it seems like two years and others when it seems like 60 years,” Mark Parisian said. “It’s part of the whole process and not just the Pit Run, but what it’s been like for our lives. It’s a great milestone and it’s unbelievable we’ve been able to reach it.”
The signature race, the 10-kilometer, will start at 10:45 a.m. Sunday at the Main Street Bridge. The schedule also includes a 5K race, a two-mile stroll and a kids fun run that kicks things off at 9:45 a.m. in Neahwa Park.