Stampede outruns them all

Saturday's race marks 23rd year

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  • Molly Riva, right, and Ashley Espinosa finishing last year's race.

  • Mark and Ann Paterno in last year's race. Both work at Thor Labs, a race sponsor.

By Laurie Gordon

---Thanks to community support and some great sponsors, The Stampede Five-Kilometer Race and accompanying Mile Fun Run has been held annually for 22 years, making it Sussex County's longest-running race. The weather looks great, so come run or walk.

This Saturday, the Stampede will again be held at Lodestar Park, in Newton, and this year's race has an added touch: it will be held in memory of a beloved firwoman/EMT. Terrie DeFabritis lost a long and courageous battle with lung disease in January. In keeping with her advocacy of The NJ Sharing Network, this year's race proceeds will go to both the NJ Sharing Network and to sustain The Bears Youth Running Program.

In the world of running, many races come and go, but one popular event has endured the test of time, morphing and reinventing itself as needed to stay alive. It originated at The Stillwater School as the TIGS 5K then changed names to The Stampede. For a number of years, the race was held at Swartswood State Park before finding its permanent home amidst the bucolic setting at Lodestar Park.

“What makes the Stampede unique is the course, the energy and the sense of community,” said long-time Sparta resident and race participant, Bill Bosmann. “The course will be a triple loop around the park this year so not only will it be super spectator-friendly, but runners and walkers will be able to hear music for the entire way.”

Music will come in two forms. Incomparable singer/songwriter Jack Tannehill will be performing live and while the races are gong on, pump-up music will be blasting to keep the runners and walkers going.

The race helps sustain The Bears Youth Running Program, a vital youth activity that teaches kids the many physical and mental benefits of the sport of running. in an era of cell phones, texting and social media overload, gets kids out running to enjoy the many physical and mental benefits of the sport. The Bears Youth Running Program has included over 1,000 kids over the past 22 years.

Gavin DeYoung went through the Bears Program and now the Newton High alum and Sussex County Community College student volunteers as an assistant coach. “It's really great to see how excited the kids get to come out and run. There's so much technology around today so it's important to get them out doing something healthy while having a lot of fun.”

NJ Sharing Network is the non-profit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for those in need of a life-saving transplant. Over 4,000 New Jersey residents are currently awaiting transplantation. The Network is also part of the national recovery system, which is in place for the more than 120,000 people on waiting lists. It operates 24/7/365 with a team of over 150 highly trained and dedicated members on staff.

The Stampede is about community and to this end will feature some great gift certificates to local businesses to the three male and female finishers. Another hallmark of the event is that the top three in 10-year age groups will receive medals, and the race is capped off by some delicious post-event home-baked goods.

“Lodestar is an outstanding venue for our event,” said Al Siuta who has been an integral part of the race and youth running program. “The varied terrain is a big hit with the runners, and the way the race sets up, they can hear music most of the time that they are out on the course.“

“Something very unique about the Stampede is its low cost,” Siuta added. “Where most running races cost upward of $40 to enter these days, the Stampede is $20 for pre-entry and $25 the day of the race which is pretty much unheard of these days.” This year's race is sponsored by The Law Office of Jeffrey S. Katz, George Morville and The Morville Agency, The Back on Track Agency, Thor Labs and Andover Hunt & Fish.

Day-of-Race registration opens at 8:30 am on Saturday. Both runners and walkers are welcome. For information or a paper application call 973-362-8006. To register on-line, go to:


The Stampede 5K and Mile Fun Run

This Saturday, May 20th

10 am at Lodestar Park, Newton

For information, call 973-362-8006 or e-mail

Register On-Line: <URL destination=" ">

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