Downtown Crozet Initiative Hosts Community Fun Run “Friendraiser”

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Event Coordinator Mary Margaret Holden, Grants Consultant Pat Groot, DCI President Meg Holden, volunteer Thea Spitzner, and DCI committee member Suzanne Reid staff the Downtown Crozet 5K registration booth. Photo: Clover Carroll.

The first annual Downtown Crozet 5K Community Fun Run took place under sunny skies the morning of Saturday, November 17. Although race planners were expecting about 30 participants, 119 runners, walkers, bikers—with their dogs, strollers, and baby carriers— actually showed up.

5K Runners head down St. George Ave. toward Buck Rd. in “old Crozet.” Photo: Clover Carroll.

On a perfect, brisk day, they wound for approximately three miles through “old Crozet”—along St. George Ave. to Buck Mountain Rd., through Orchard Acres, and back along Jarmans Gap Rd.—on a route that began and ended at the old Barnes Lumber property, proposed future home of the Crozet Plaza.

The Bates family crosses the finish line. Many families with kids, strollers, and dogs participated in DCI’s Community Fun Run.

Three Albemarle County Sheriff’s vehicles accompanied the group and briefly blocked traffic as necessary to allow the runners to pass safely through downtown. “The primary purpose of this event is community building,” said event coordinator Mary Margaret Holden.

Tim and Sandra Root with Isla Campbell and Quinn Kramer cheer as Lindsay and Tim Campbell run the race. “My favorite section was through Orchard Acres,” said Lindsay. “It was beautiful, straight, with rolling hills and few cars.” Photo: Clover Carroll.

“We have planned a series of family-friendly events to foster community over the coming months, including Downtown Crozet for the Holidays with the Christmas tree lighting in the Square, and another in January involving local restaurants.”

Samuel Yakulis of Stafford, VA came in first at 18 minutes 17 seconds. Photo: Clover Carroll.

Samuel Yakulis of Stafford, whose family was in town for a U.Va. game, was the first place finisher at 18 minutes 17 seconds. “The only prize is completion,” explained Holden, “and to strive for a personal best”—although every finisher received a “winner” necklace, distributed by volunteer Thea Spitzner, and was greeted with a breakfast biscuit from Whistle Stop Grill. Besides bringing the community together in a “friendraiser,” the Fun Run also acted as a fundraiser to help kick start the efforts of the non-profit Downtown Crozet Initiative (DCI).

Frank Stoner of Milestone Partners, owner of the Barnes Lumber Property, displayed sample elevations (storefronts) on which community members could vote for their preferred “look” of the Plaza. Photo: Clover Carroll.

The DCI plans to work with the county to build the plaza, for which they will need to raise funds, and to achieve their mission of fostering a high quality of life and supporting the economic vitality of downtown Crozet. Participants and their families had a chance to talk with Plaza developer Frank Stoner—who ran the race along with his three adult children—and vote on some sample building elevations (or storefronts) for their preferred “look” of future Plaza businesses that best fit Crozet architecture. These will be posted soon at www.downtowncrozetinitiative.org for public comment. DCI meetings are open to the public. They are usually held the first Thursday of the month at noon at Crozet Pizza, but it is best to check the website for updates.

Frank Stoner at the start of the 5k.

The race t-shirt listed sponsors Allied Portable Toilets, the Bates Family, Crozet Bicycling, Crozet Board of Trade, Crozet Creamery, The Crozet Gazette, Crozet Insurance, Crozet Pizza, Crozet Running, Green House Coffee, Hive Creative Group, the Holden Family, Milestone Partners, Parkway Pharmacy, Perrone Robotics, the Reid Family, and Whistle Stop Grill. 

If you have questions or would like to donate, email [email protected] 

Thea Spitzner distributed medals to every participant at the finish line. Photo: Clover Carroll.

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