Harbin begins home stretch as Carnegie race director

| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 8:45 p.m.

Carnegie police Chief Jeff Harbin has been in charge of the annual Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department 5K Run/Walk for the past five years.

This coming April will be his sixth and final year.

He has mixed emotions about leaving, he said.

“All I can say,” Harbin said, “is I want to go out with a bang. I really want to do this one right. This has always been a great community event. And it will always be that, I believe. People just love coming to it and when they get to Carnegie, they tell me they look forward to it for a long time.”

He does believe, however, that the event will continue without him.

“I have a tremendous support staff now. I have borough council, the administration, Mayor (Jack Kobistek). I think everyone will continue this without me,” Harbin said.

The 2013 race will take place on April 27, beginning at 8 a.m. The 3.1-mile race is described by Harbin as “flat and fast” and begins at the Carnegie Borough Building at Veterans Way

This will be Harbin's last year at the helm because he plans to retire in April 2014. Someone else will need to coordinate the race at the beginning of next year.

“This year, I want more runners and more sponsors. I want to do it all,” said Harbin, himself an avid runner who takes part in the 5K Run/Walk each year.

In its five years of existence, the race has raised $54.760.40 for the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department. When Harbin spearheaded the race in 2008, 150 runners and walkers took part.

Last year, that number was up to 527.

He attributes that increase to the fact that there is an understanding amongst those who take part in the race.

“They know all the proceeds go to the fire department. And it is truly a family event. We have serious runners, casual runners, walkers, people who walk their dogs and pets...everything,” Harbin said.

The 5K Run/Walk also has developed a “good reputation” over the years, Harbin said. This is one of the reasons runners and walkers from as far away as Ohio, West Virginia and Florida flock to the borough to take part in the event.

Sponsorship for the race is also a key factor. Regular sponsorship costs a business $250 and premium sponsorship is $500. The former will snag the business's name on the back of the race's T-shirt, and a premium sponsor will have the business's logo placed on the T-shirt.

Last year, 30 Carnegie businesses were regular sponsors and six were premium.

“Right now, we are sending out letters to businesses to see of they will (sponsor) the event,” Harbin said.

Fees for this year's race are $15 until March 29 (pre-registration) and $20 (after March 29 and race-day registration).

For more information on the event, call the borough at 412-276-1414.

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or jwidmer@tribweb.com.

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