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Santa's 5K Toy Trot draws hundreds of runners, collects hundreds of toys
After breaking his neck while sledding when he was 14 years old, Jarrett Dreyer is now wheelchair-bound. He’s classified as an incomplete quadriplegic, which means his spinal cord was damaged but not severed.
But that doesn’t stop Dreyer from staying active and competing in sports.
The 23-year-old Patchogue man is currently training to play rugby in the 2016 Paralympics Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. So, he decided that one of the best ways to build his endurance for playing rugby was to compete in races.
That’s why he was eager to compete Sunday in the ninth annual Santa’s 5K Toy Trot hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Patchogue.
“I am a member of the NY Warriors in Albertson,” said Dreyer. “I have done about five or six 5K runs this year, the runs help a lot when I play rugby.”
About 500 participated in the race that began at Jennings Avenue, then continued along Roe Boulevard, North Ocean Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in Patchogue.
The toy trot raised $6,000, which will go to the Kiwanis Club of Patchogue to help fund local programs. The 400 toys collected at the event will be distributed to churches and outreach centers throughout Blue Point, Bellport and Patchogue.
“This toy trot is very important. I personally deliver a lot of these toys to the outreach centers and they personally tell me that they don’t have enough to give the kids a Merry Christmas,” said Nick Harding, Kiwanis Club of Patchogue member and toy trot race director. “These donations give so many children a very Merry Christmas.”
Angelo Tarantino and his wife, Eva, of Patchogue, especially love this time of year because they get to dress as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the toy trot.
“The kids love it,” said Angelo Tarantino. “They tell us what they want for Christmas.”
Patchogue-Medford High School students wrapped donated Christmas toys at the Brickhouse Brewery.
“I still get excited about Christmas so I know a little boy or girl will be happy to unwrap one of these gifts I wrapped,” said 17-year-old Victoria Heifferon. “This is my third year wrapping toys. I love it.”
Gregg Cantwell, 25, of Port Jefferson, won first place for the men with a time of 14:58 and Laura Cummings, 25, of Bay Shore, won first place for females with a time of 17:11. They each took home $100 as a prize.
“It’s a little humid today but the race wasn’t difficult for me,” said Cantwell. “I feel good right now.”
Alicia Delano, 38, of Medford ran with determination finishing with a time of 28:44.
After many years of a poor diet and no exercise, Delano topped the scale at 300 pounds.
But after running on a regular basis and eating right, Delano now weighs 160 pounds.
“I want to be fit and fabulous by 40 years old,” said Delano.