ONEONTA — More than a thousand runners, walkers and joggers took to the streets of Oneonta on Sunday for the 26th annual Pit Run, held to honor the memory of Ricky “Pit” Parisian, who was shot and killed May 20, 1994, when he attempted to stop an armed robbery at an Oneonta supermarket.
Parisian was off-duty at the time, shopping for groceries with his wife when he spotted the robbery in progress, according to organizers. He ushered customers to safety before tackling the suspect, causing them both to fall through a plate glass window. Parisian was shot as the suspect fled.
Between the 5K, 10K and 2-mile stroll, more than a thousand people participated in this year’s event, according to race director Dave Weaver.
“Today went great,” Weaver said. “It was actually really great weather for runners — not too hot, not too humid.”
“We couldn’t do it without all the volunteers and the troopers,” he continued. “Without them, we wouldn’t be here.
Kyle Thompson, of West Davenport, ran the 5K with his 8-year-old son, Nicholas, by his side.
The race was their first, Thompson said. They were greeted by Nicholas’s two brothers and a family friend at the finish line.
Lindsey Gardepe, an employee at Otego Family Dental*, completed the 2-mile stroll with her 5-month-old son, Gage, in a stroller.
“This is our first year doing it,” she said. “He did good — he slept through the whole thing.”
Members of the SUNY Oneonta women’s basketball team greeted their coach, Daphne Thomspon, with high-fives at the finish line as she finished the 10K race.
“I’ve been running this for a long time,” Thompson said.
She has participated with her team every year since 1999, when she coached at Hartwick College, she said.
Robert Wanser, supervisor for the town of North Norwich, ran the 5K carrying a full-size “thin blue line” flag, which he said honors police and emergency workers, especially those who have died in the line of service.
“Running with a flag, even on a windy day, is easy,” he said. “The hard job is done by our police, our firefighters and our military — those that protect us.”
Though he himself has not served, Wanser said he has many friends who have.
“Running in honor of them adds some extra meaning to my miles,” he said.
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.
*Changed at 2:47 p.m. Oct. 7 to correct the name of the business.