The annual run to benefit the Flying Point Foundation for Autism is happening this weekend in Water Mill, and this year it's a new distance in the hopes that even more people will participate.
"We were an 8K but after polling people on our mailing list, decided to go 5K because it's a more palatable distance to the average runner plus charity walks often draw walkers and this way walkers can do the entire course rather than the 2K course we had set up for the former distance," Kim Covell, a parent of a son with autism who founded the foundation, explained.
The run is the foundation's original fundraiser. Covell started it when she raising money for the Cody Center — a regional autism center affiliated with Stony Brook University Hospital — in 2006. Two years later, she founded the Flying Point Foundation for Autism.
"We identified a need on the East End, which was more recreational opportunities with support for kids with autism," Covell said. "It took two years to raise enough money to start our eight-day summer camp, the first year of which was 2010."
Last year, the foundation started online pledging for runners/walkers. So far this year, Covell said nearly $5,000 has been raised. "This is a huge component of the fundraising. The other half of it is sponsors. We have several sponsors who have been with us since the beginning and generously support the run," she said, naming Cook-Maran and Associates, The 1770 House restaurant, Cittanuova restaurant, and Dermot Dolan and State Farm Insurance.
Every year Rolling Thunder, a running club for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, brings a team of between 20 and 50 runners to participate.
The run starts at Flying Point Beach at 9 a.m. The walk starts 10 minutes later from the same beach. Entry on the day of the race is $30.There's a warm-up by professional trainers, medals and prizes awarded, and activities for the kids, including a 50-yard dash on the beach for those under 10.