Source: Jimmy FisherSunday Dispatch reporter Jimmy Fisher prepares for the Gentlemen’s Dash during the third annual Paint Pittston Pink event held in Pittston City on Oct. 8.
After months of collecting donations and practicing running in heels, the 2016 Paint Pittston Pink Gentlemen’s Dash has come and gone.
The event, held Saturday, Oct. 8 on Main Street in Pittston, was everything I hoped it would be and then some.
The race was a 50-yard dash from the end of the Lower Tomato Festival Lot to the end of the Newrose Building, by UFCW Federal Credit Union.
Over the course of the last several months, several other participants — Vito Quaglia, John Haas, Matt Carmody, Joe Nealon, Tom Tigue Jr., Girard Mecadon, James Bobeck, Dave Day, Michael Rebovich and Jerry Mancinelli — and I went above and beyond to raise money for the event.
Paint Pittston Pink organizer Barb Sciandra wanted us to collectively reach $25,000 but we blew that total out of the water with over $37,000.
Individually, Haas raised the most money with over $6,000, and I raised $1,615. But, even though the Gentlemen’s Dash is over, donations can still be made to the runners until the end of October.
The whole idea of the gentleman who raises the most money running in flats appears to be a myth, as Haas donned high heels like the rest of us.
I arrived at the event about one hour before we were scheduled to run, all decked out in pink and carrying my heels while I walked around in my sneakers.
Several residents knew I was a participant in the dash and asked why I wasn’t walking around in my heels yet.
“Because,” I replied. “I want to wait until the last possible minute to put them on so I don’t hurt my feet or risk twisting an ankle before the race even begins.”
Twisting an ankle was my biggest concern.
As you can tell by the photo in this column, and the various photos that ran in the article for last week’s Sunday Dispatch, my heels were very high.
Many people commented on my heels, saying they were the highest ones after seeing the other participants’ footwear.
I didn’t let that bother me.
Truth be told I wasn’t concerned about who had the highest or lowest heels, or won the race in general. In fact, I don’t think any of the participants did.
There was friendly smack-talking through emails and social media over the past few months, but on race day it was hugs and handshakes as we congratulated one another on accomplishing our goal of raising $25,000 and then some.
One thing that definitely surprised me was the amount of people crowding around to watch and support us.
People were lined up all along Main Street waiting to watch us run, and I have to say it was great seeing the sea of pink, not just to support the runners, but the event itself.
Barb Sciandra, founder of Paint Pittston Pink, introduced all of the runners individually and we all lined up at the starting line.
Vito Quaglia, principal of Wyoming Area Secondary Center and dash participant, made sure he stood at the far left saying he wanted to “work the crowd.” I didn’t know what that meant, but we found out a few minutes later.
With “Dude Looks Like A Lady” by Aerosmith blasting, the start gun was fired and we all began running towards the finish — well, not all of us.
Turns out what Vito meant when he said he was going to “work the crowd” was he was just going to walk the race and give out high fives.
Not going to lie, that was a pretty cool thing.
Atty. Matt Carmody won the race by a landslide, practically sprinting to the end.
Me? Well, I struggled.
Turns out all the practice I put in wasn’t enough to pace me with the rest of the gentleman as they outran me. I didn’t let it bother me though — I made it fun.
“Don’t worry,” I said as I made my way towards the finish line as the other dashers (minus Vito) cheered me on. “I’m on my way! I’ll be there in a few minutes!”
Sure enough, I finished and the best part was I didn’t twist my ankles!
After Vito eventually crossed the finish line, Barb’s husband Sal Sciandra, who participated in last year’s Gentlemen’s Dash, gathered us together and we put our hands in.
He talked about how great we all did and how much it means to him and Barb about how seriously we took the race and how much fun we had doing it.
In reality, Sal, the pleasure was all ours.
On a three-count we threw our hands in the air and yelled “Pink!” to signal the end of a fun journey the 11 of us took together.
Paint Pittston Pink is over, and Barb will be recruiting new runners for next year’s Gentlemen’s Dash.
To those participants, I can only say “good luck.” The 2016 group set the bar sky high.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher