TORONTO – The Biasi-Shuma Memorial 5K Run Walk, an Independence Day weekend tradition in the town of Gem, drew more than 200 residents from across the Ohio Valley on Saturday, raising money for the Ohio Valley American Heart Association and United Way of Jefferson County.
Organizer Mike Biasi had not determined the total amount raised for the two causes, taking into account both the contributions of many local businesses and other groups and the many participants in the race, many of whom registered this morning there.
A goal of $17,000 was set for the event this year, which raised approximately $19,000 in 2019.
It is held in memory of the late Gino Biasi and Mike Shuma.
Biasi, who died in 2016 aged 85, owned Valley Converting, a local paper recycling business now overseen by his son, Mike.
An Italian immigrant, Gino served in the military during the Korean War and attended Syracuse University on the GI Bill. He went on to earn a Masters in Business Administration from Xavier University.
Biasi was named Venturer of the Year by the Toronto Chamber of Commerce and Industrialist of the Year by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
Local radio listeners may recall hearing Shuma’s deep but enthusiastic voice on Ohio Valley Game Night, where he shared his knowledge and love of local high school football.
An employee of TIMET Metals Corp., he also worked for a time at the Weirton Millsop Community Center and was a member of the Toronto Rod and Gun Club. He died at the age of 42 following a heart attack.
The families of the two men are among the many supporters of the race.
Mike Biasi said that in addition to his family, many volunteers have worked to make this happen every year.
Among them were members of the Tri-County Emergency Radio Association led by Paul Brandt.
Amateur radio operators take up positions along the race route to watch for any signs of medical or other emergencies among participants.
Staff from the TEMS Joint Ambulance District were also on scene, while the Toronto Police Department provided traffic control.
Upon arriving at the parking lot outside Toronto High School’s Red Knights Stadium, attendees were greeted by light rain, but the splashes helped cool the air and did nothing. cooled their minds.
“I raced most of the years. It’s a nice flat race. said Blake Headon of Beech Bottom, an avid runner who switched from running to walking due to a knee injury.
Headon also planned to run in Cameron, West Virginia on Saturday, Wellsburg’s Independence Day 5K Run-Walk on Sunday morning and another in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on Monday.
“That’s how I spend my holidays – running,” he said.
But Headon won’t beat the number recorded by Carl Kondrach of Barnesville, Ohio and Sarah Donley of Bethesda, Ohio, who last year ran six in one day, including the Biasi-Shuma Run.
Although less ambitious this year, the two had planned to compete at five this weekend.
“We do around 100 races a year” Kondrach said, while Donley added that they enjoy meeting new people at the many events.
It was the sixth Biasi-Shuma Run for fiances Matt Hennings and Tiffany Franckhauser, both of Steubenville, who did not meet at a run but shared their love for them.
Franckhauser said she liked them because “These are good exercises and they support good causes.”
Lauren Thomas, director of development for the Ohio Valley American Heart Association, said it was nice that the Biasi-Shuma race included a category for casual walkers so those who have recovered from heart disease and other health issues may participate, pending recommendations from their physicians.
“We are very happy to be part of this and that they (the race organisers) share a cause that is so important to them,” said Thomas, who participated in the race with her husband, who had competed in high school track and field.
She noted that the organization will host the Ohio Valley Heart Walk, an event that is not a race but is meant to raise awareness and funds for the fight against heart disease, on Sept. 29 in Wheeling Park.
Thomas noted that the event was returning after a two-year hiatus imposed by the pandemic.