By Chris and Debbie McHaney
The CY 4 Miler has been going strong since 1992 when Richard Coletta chaired the first race. The goal was to find a unique and fun way to raise money for the CYCA. The board wanted a race that was different and stood out from the pack which is why they chose 4 miles instead of the traditional 5k. They also added the famous after party and Light the Way parties to make it truly Cooper-Young. The baton has been passed a few times since Coletta’s time. Meet our current race chairs and see how they are making the 2019 race bigger and better than ever.
Who is officially the chair?
Chris: Officially, I have been the race chair the last few years, but Debbie knows the race like the back of her hand and is always a huge resource for me. I can’t take all the credit though since we have always had a strong, yet small race committee that has provided great input. Of course, having Richard Coletta’s involvement since the founding of the race up until just a few years ago has been huge. I always tend to think, “What would Richard do or say?”
But you’re obviously a team? How long have you been working on the race together?
Chris: I looked back and I think it’s almost been 10 years now. Debbie was on the race committee before me though.
Debbie: I was helping out on the race committee before Chris became chair and he would volunteer to do stuff to help me so he probably was involved long before he thinks he was
What is your fave part of the race overall?
Chris: The moments right before the race starts, when all the runners are lined up at the start, like the calm before the storm, yet in our case it’s like 9 month of planning for that one moment. I know for the runners it has tons to do with our awesome neighborhood throwing Light The Way parties, sign up today plug!, but I see the same thing through our neighborhood coming together with so many volunteers and all the fun and spirit they have. The race would not be possible without them.
Debbie: Well at the time…when it is over! 🙂 But honestly it is nice hanging out with CY neighbors in the down time. We have so many fun people that have almost become like family. It’s a CY holiday like Thanksgiving. You get to, at least once a year, see ALL your relatives.
What is the most challenging part?
Chris: It’s the double edged sword of planning the race and then executing that plan. On one hand it seems tough and a long slog to the finish line but without it our event could not happen.
Debbie: Making sure all the boxes are checked!
What can we look forward to this year at the race?
Chris: The main thing that 4 Miler participants will see is the change to the after party, now becoming the first ever Cooper-Young Trestlefest, a street party at the finish line. I think it will be an awesome experience for not only the runners but also our loyal race sponsors.
Debbie: One door closes and another door opens. Last minute changes can be difficult to figure out and cause much stress but I think the new location of the race party will be the best thing to happen to our afterparty. We will soon see, won’t we?
Where do you want to see the race go/become?
Debbie: I would love to see the Light the Way parties grow to be more of an attraction to the race. I know that we have had some great years but want to see that part of the race get even better.
Chris: I would love the race to continue to be a fantastic event for the CYCA. I see the newly created TrestleFest turning into a bigger experience in the future. I’ve been wanting to change the race route for a number of years. Our event was founded so many years ago to be something unique, something that would not be just some other 5k. So as Richard Coletta used to tell me, as he and the other founder of the race stood on the corner of Cooper and Young pondering how to raise money for a newly created, fledgling community association, “What can we do? 4 miles, yes. Not a 5k. A Friday night, not a Saturday morning race. Let’s make it a party, something to show off our unique neighborhood.”