By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Five days later, he is coordinating a race in downtown Jackson that is just as important to him.
Inocensio is the race director for Saturday’s Family Service and Children’s Aid 5k Run For Fun, a race he initiated in 2003 as the president of FSCA’s Board of Directors.
It is the first time the race has been part of the Citizen Patriot Running/Walking Series, and Inocensio said he is excited to give back to the community in a way that only seems natural.
“I don’t know if we’ll be organized better than the Boston Marathon, but one of the things we are trying to do, even though it’s a smaller venue, is make it a first-class event,” he said.
For the first time, the race will use “chip-timing,” where participants tie electronic chips onto their shoelaces to more accurately track their run.
There is also a new starting line and large banner at the finish line, and local merchants have donated prizes and gift certificates that will be given out before the awards presentation.
Inocensio has been running for 28 years, and he placed in the top 4,000 overall at the Boston Marathon, nearly 2,000 spots ahead of where he qualified. He finished in 3 hours, 16 minutes and 48 seconds, a pace of 7:31 per mile.
He said the neat thing about running is it offers a competitive atmosphere and plenty of camaraderie, regardless of the size of the event, and that’s why he’s excited to have almost 300 children registered.
The youngsters will start at the same time as the 5k runners but will instead run a 1.2-mile loop.
“It’s a fantastic way for them to be part of a real road run and experience their family cheering them on,” Inocensio said.
He is also expecting a heavy dose of adult racers for a course he thinks is more challenging than people envision, especially because of a gradual uphill stretch on Washington Avenue.
The race will get under way at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Blackstone Street.
The event raises money for FSCA to put toward helping people learn more about the organization’s services.
Kelly Adams, FSCA executive assistant, said the organization provides numerous types of counseling and substance-abuse treatment programs and does a lot of outreach in the community and local schools.
“We have so many programs that I’m not sure people are aware of,” she said. “We work with the Department of Human Services, but we are a standalone agency.”