Race in fallen trooper's honor gears up for 26th edition

FILE Runners leave the start line on Main Street in Oneonta during the 2018 Pit Run.

The 26th annual Pit Run is coming up Sunday, Oct. 6, in Neahwa Park in Oneonta with events starting at 9:45 a.m.

The day is in memory of Ricky J. “Pit” Parisian, a state police investigator killed while trying to stop an armed robbery in 1994.

The 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer runs, both starting at 10:45 a.m., are both $33 to register, said Nancy Scanlon, a member of the Pit Run committee. The 2-mile stroll, also starting at 10:45 a.m., is $22.

Those who want to participate from afar can register for the Virtual Pit Run, which is $20, includes an emailed race bib and can be done from anywhere Sunday. No registration is needed for the 9:45 a.m. Fun Run, which is for children ages 10 and younger.

Runners can pick up race packets and bib numbers on race day from 8 to 10:15 a.m. at the registration tent in Neahwa Park. All runners, minus those participating in the Virtual Pit Run, will be treated to lunch from Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q after the race.

Scanlon said when the event first started, mostly people who knew Ricky and his family attended. Over the years, it's grown to reach many more people, she said. The Pit Run coincides with Oneonta High School Alumni Association's annual alumni weekend, bringing people from all over the northeast, Scanlon said. Ricky graduated from Oneonta High School in 1978, and a significant number of people from his graduating class came to the Pit Run last year, she said.

Proceeds from the event go toward the Ricky J. Parisian Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented each May to an Oneonta High School graduating senior. This year's goal is $2,500, according to www.runsignup.com/Race/Donate/NY/Oneonta/PitRun

Mark "Sid" Parisian, Ricky's brother, said students receive the scholarship each year on May 20 — the day of Ricky's death in 1994 — to add a positive aspect to an otherwise somber day.

"We like to say we're introducing a new member to the family," Mark said.

Mark said Ricky was "my best friend who happened to be my brother." He said when the event was first held in 1994, it was more of a healing outlet, but now is a huge, iconic Oneonta event that brings people from all over the country. Mark said the event is meant to make everyone feel welcomed, and that he's touched by the community support that still persists.

"That little piece of it is still there after 25 years and getting ready for the 26th, the community is still hugely supportive of the event," Mark said. "It's still a memorial for a huge number of people that came back for 25, 26 years, because of how Ricky touched their lives."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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