Based on the huge success of the inaugural HEELS UP 5K event last year, race organizers were optimistic that this year’s event would be a bang-up fundraiser for activities and exercise programs offered at the Homestead at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital.

The race was set for Saturday, April 4 with strong, early support from the close to 100 registered participants and a long list of race sponsors on board by early March. But, when New York State implemented social distancing rules and a “pause” to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, it was clear that the race could not be held as planned.

Thanks to some creative thinking and very understanding supporters, the 2nd annual HEELS UP for Healing 5K went virtual. T-shirts imprinted with logos and names of the many generous sponsors were distributed to all who wanted to participate. Runners and walkers were encouraged to do so from their home treadmills, neighborhood streets, or local trails from April 4-8, with social distancing in place. They submitted their times, stories, and photos via email to Amy Lee, race organizer. Lee received times and photos from several participants, all of whom said they hope to run or walk in person, next year.

Incredibly, the net profit from this year’s virtual event outmatched that of 2019. More than $9,000 was raised for the residents of the Homestead to enjoy activities and exercise programs at a time when, because of the Coronavirus precautions, they need it more than ever.

Overwhelmed by the results, Lee says, “I want to thank the amazing community that continues to astonish me with the never-ending support. I look forward to the success of next year’s race and continuing to grow as an event and community!”

She says the organizers are grateful for the outstanding support of participants and generous 2020 HEELS UP for Healing sponsors: American Legion Auxiliary, Bow & Wow K9 Bed & Breakfast, BPOE Elks Lodge #1722, Branchport/Keuka Park Fire Dept., Century 21 - Mark Malcolm, Community Bank, Curbeau Realty, D.J. Builders and Remodelers, Loyal Order of the Moose, Lyons National Bank, Millstone Veterinary Clinic, Penn Yan Eye Care, Penn Yan Volunteer Fire Companies, Penn Yan Plumbing & Heating, Pleasant Valley Wine Company, Ports Café, Roto Salt Co., Seneca Foods Corporation, Seneca Lake Duck Hunters, Trombley’s Tire & Auto, and Wegmans of Geneva.