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Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department 5K Run/Walk becomes family event

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Race director Jeff Harbin (front left) gets set to turn the runners loose in the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department 5K race.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Runners and walkers from the area and beyond will be out in force April 27 for an event to raise money for Carnegie's volunteer fire department.

The Carnegie police department will hold its annual Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department 5K Run/Walk. The event began in 2008 out of a need to help the fire department in its fundraising efforts.

“They're volunteers,” Carnegie police chief and borough manager Jeff Harbin said of the firefighters. “They have day jobs or night jobs and come out on a volunteer basis to fight fires. They might not be able to engage in fundraising as much as they could.”

The event has grown since its inception six years ago. The first year brought in just under $6,100 for the fire department. The 2012 race raised more than $16,800 for the department. Harbin said they have raised a total of $54,760 over the past five years.

Much of the help comes from local businesses.

“Around December of the prior year, we start soliciting for sponsorship money,” Harbin said. “That's imperative to the success of the fundraiser.”

Businesses can donate money or goods or services to the event.

“We've been very, very successful in that,” Harbin said. “Carnegie and the surrounding area have been very supportive of this.”

Harbin, a lifelong runner himself, taps on his experiences from different races to put together an event he thinks the public will enjoy.

“I've seen what makes a good race and what makes a bad race,” he said. “It intrigued me, thinking about what goes into a race that is done really well. I incorporate that into what we do.”

This has helped him put together an event that the community recognizes as a good, enjoyable race – one, he said, that is enjoyed by a wide range of participants.

This is Harbin's final year organizing the race, as he plans to retire this year.

“This will be my last year coordinating,” he said. “But I'm confident that, when I'm gone, it will continue.”

From serious runners to parents pushing strollers or walking dogs, the event is not relegated to just one demographic.

“We really have a wide range,” Harbin said. “It has truly become a family event.”

The race starts at 8 a.m., and race-day registration opens at 6:30 a.m. The cost to participate is $20. The event will include a live disc jockey, refreshments and various local business booths – chiropractors will be on hand to provide a pre- or post-race massage to anyone in need.

In addition, Harbin will also be a guest waiter at Bob's Diner from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday to raise money for the fire department. At the exit will be a tip jar collecting donations for the department.

Harbin said he enjoys the annual event, which takes place each year on the Saturday before the race.

“I'll be there pouring coffee and trying not to spill eggs on people.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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