Running for our troops: Semper Fi 5k stretches through Bay Ridge

The Ridge’s fourth annual Semper Fi Fund 5k hit the ground running on Saturday, April 25, once again raising money to help injured Marines.

The race began at 101st Street and Fourth Avenue at 10 a.m. with participants breezing past the finish line at John Paul Jones “Cannonball” Park in record time.

Organizers aimed to trump last year’s fundraising efforts and raise more than $16,000 for the Semper Fi Fund, a cause close to Ridgeite and pioneer organizer Cathie Gearity’s heart.

“People from Bay Ridge are just so generous,” said Gearity, the sister of Second Marine Division Commander and lifelong Bay Ridge resident John Toolan, last year. “I think coming to the event, seeing and listening to the speakers and seeing first-hand how Semper Fi really has impacted injured Marines is such a feel good story. It makes you want to give.”

“Thank you to Catherine Toolan Gearity for organizing another successful 5K to benefit the Semper Fi Fund,” wrote State Senator Marty Golden on Facebook in light of this year’s event. “Thank you to the more than 200 people who ran for this worthy cause. I was honored to be asked to start the race! God bless our military and America.”

This year’s event featured a presentation of colors by the United States Marine Corps, an acoustic rendition of “God Bless America” by Julian Doyle and a bag pipe tribute from the Hibernians.

Speakers included Elizabeth O’Connell of the Semper Fi Fund and Nelsen Merizalde of the United States Marine Corps.

Raffle prizes included gift certificates to yoga classes, Bay Ridge eateries and the Green Spa as well as a homemade baby blanket, television and more.

For more information on the Semper Fi Fund, visit

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Arthur de Gaeta

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