Runners of all ages took one or more laps around Saturday afternoon as part of the "."
In, of Westfield, was hit by a motorist who fled the scene while she was jogging in Harriman State Park, NY. A cross country runner, Lowenstein sustained serious injuries but friends were happy to report Saturday that Alli is getting stronger every day.
Organizers Josie Reinhardt and Caraugh Ball, friends and former teammates of Lowenstein, said dozens of people, having heard about the accident, wanted to do something to show their support. They said the run in the Westfield park represents a coming back to their roots since many got to know Alli through track and cross country. Because lots of friends and former classmates will head back to college in the next several weeks, the timing seemed perfect as well.
"A bunch of us who'd gotten to know each other through cross country wanted to do something formal but not too intense to get people together," said Reinhardt.
A suggested donation of $5 was collected from particpants. The proceeds will benefit the Lowenstein family. Those who are interested in contributing can visit http://www.indiegogo.com/funrunforallilow .
What particularly touched Ball was the turnout by current boys and girls cross country team members, most of whom have never met Alli.
"We have multiple generations here," Ball said. "The response has been wonderful. We've had a lot of support."
Alex Tarlow, who works at , where Lowenstein frequently shops, said he had just helped her pick out new running shoes the day before the accident.
"It was just so sudden; it was really a shock," he said. "We rallied the troops and there's been a tremendous outpouring of support. The weather is perfect. We couldn't have asked for more."
Melissa Shulman, who ran at WHS with Lowenstein and is currently her teammate at Oberlin College, said she knows Lowenstein is sorry that she couldn't attend the event herself. Shulman said Alli's cousin and grandmother were with her keeping her company. A videographer recorded messages from attendees to let Alli know she is in everyone's thoughts.
"I think she's really touched and bemused by all the support she's gotten from the Westfield community," said Shulman, who reported that Lowenstein should return home "real soon" to receive out-patient therapy.
"She has an amazing personality," said friend and former teammate Daryl Garfinkel. "She's getting better every minute."
Gift baskets and prizes were raffled to raise additional funds. Organizers thanked the following local businesses and families who donated materials, food and gift certificates:
The Colbert Report
Columbia County Cheese
Hot Yoga Revolution
Westfield High School Boys and Girls Track
Cognetti Family & Mars Candy
The Krest Family
The Lowenstein Family