More than 6,600 penguin champs ran, jogged, and walked through the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, for the third annual WCS Run for the Wild, which is a 5K event to raise money to save penguins and other wildlife.
At the head of the pack was this year’s winner, Chris Bauer, from Seacliff, N.Y., who crossed the finish line with a time of 15:40.
The top three men and top three women finishers were:
Chris Bauer from Seacliff, N.Y. — 15:40
Arthur Fortin from Bronx, N.Y. — 16:42
Stefan Judex from Port Jefferson, N.Y. — 17:40
Danielle Rosario from Bronx, N.Y. — 18:51
Caroline Heidt from Suffern, N.Y. — 19:21
Dori Kirzner from Stanford, Conn., — 19:50
This year’s top fundraisers were the members of Team Aghelos who collectively raised more than $7,500.
Aghelos “Aggie” Kouvaras, 6, a first grader from South Salem Elementary in Port Washington has been in and out of the hospital for the past eight months receiving chemotherapy for a tumor that resulted from Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
During his fight against cancer, Aghelos became passionate about the penguins and decided he wanted to help save the endangered species. His passion for penguins inspired the Kouvaras family, his teachers and community, who formed Team Aghelos, to help him raise money for the WCS Run for the Wild. More than 80 members of Team Aghelos participated in today’s events.
“Aggie inspires us to stay focused on our work to save penguins and all wildlife and wild places,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “We thank Aggie, his supporters and all the penguin champs who made this year’s WCS Run for the Wild at the Bronx Zoo a great success. There was a lot of penguin passion here today.”
The Wildlife Conservation Society works around the globe to save penguin species. Changing climate, overfishing, and habitat loss are some factors affecting penguin populations. Of the world’s 17 penguin species, 12 are experiencing serious population declines with some facing extinction within the 21st century. WCS is committed to ensuring a future for penguins where they live, including Punta Tombo on the coast of Argentina, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world.
Post-race activities included the zoo’s Animal Tales Extravaganza, with live performances on the New York Life Main Stage and special children’s book readings at the zoo’s Asia Plaza.
Anyone who missed it has a second chance at Coney Island’s aquarium. On Sunday, October 9, 2011, WCS will bring the WCS Run for the Wild to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island for the first time. Visit wcsrunforthewild.org/nyaquarium for more details and to vote which animal to run for – sharks, turtles, or walrus.
Anyone who did not participate in the run can still contribute to WCS. Donations can be made online at wcsrunforthewild.org or by texting “PENGUIN” to 69866 to give $10. (Messaging and data rates may apply.)