Following months of organizing and weeks of registrations, the third-annual Vaisakhi 5K Run took place on Sunday, April 24 at Victory Field, in Forest Park.
The event was conceived by Dr. Avtar Singh Tinna as a celebration of Vaisakhi and as a means to promote sport and fitness within the Sikh community. Dr. Tinna, a marathon runner himself, serves as the President and CEO of the race’s organizing committee. Some 901 runners registered for the race, making this year’s the largest Vaisakhi 5K to date. “Every year, we produce another race, and we learn new things. We learn our demographics, and the demographics we need to reach out to. We gain a better understanding of what runners want from the event, and hope to continue to provide the best spring-time experience,” Dr. Tinna commented. Vaisakhi 5K 2016 had a special draw in their chief guest, Fauja Singh, who arrived earlier in the week from London. Fauja Singh is the world’s oldest marathon runner, and brought registrations from all parts of the tri-state area, and from as far as states like California.
The first place runner—Gursimran Singh of Belleville, NJ—finished the race in 18 minutes and 5 seconds. He was soon to be followed by brothers Ajay Singh and Jaspal Singh (Carteret, NJ), taking second and third places, respectively. Among female runners, Riti Dhillon (Floral Park, NY), Jinny Khanduja (Brooklyn, NY), and Sonya Chhabra (Princeton Junction, NJ) finished first, second, and third, respectively.