Event to again consist of 5K, 10K and 15K races; Registration Due Soon

(WATERTOWN, NY) – The Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation is excited to announce the return of the Black River Trail Run, a 5K/10K/15K race on the Black River Trail in Jefferson County.

The event is hosted by Willow Running, an organization based in Baldwinsville that hosts events across the state to raise money for various nonprofit organizations. The mission of their organization – led by Race Director Mike Samoraj – is to offer a high-quality experience that goes beyond the actual race event.

Hundreds participated in the second annual Black River Trail Run last year to benefit the Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation, raising $3,500 for the nonprofit organization. The event returns Saturday, May 13.

“Once again, we are extremely thankful to be chosen by Willow Running as the nonprofit to benefit from their event,” said Jeremiah S. Papineau, the Volunteer Transportation Center’s Director of Communications and Foundation Director.

Mr. Papineau stated he was approached by Mr. Samoraj prior to the inaugural 2021 run to see if the Volunteer Transportation Center would be interested in benefiting from money raised by the event.

“We were honored to be asked and, of course, we more than happy to partner with Willow Running,” said Mr. Papineau, who noted the relationship between the two organizations has grown ever since.

Last year, the Black River Trail Run raised $3,500 to help the support the VTC in its mission to “provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.”

“We saw a great increase in support last year and our hope is participation in this year’s event will be even greater this year,” said Mr. Papineau. “And that’s not just for the benefit of the VTC but for this great event here which is growing year after year in our community.”

“We invite everyone to come back and run along the Black River on the newly-paved trail, choosing your distance from a 5K, 10K or the 15K combo,” said Mr. Samoraj. “We’re proud that this event will again benefit the Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation.”

The Black River Trail Run will be held May 13 on the Black River Trail, beginning at the trailhead off State Route 3, just outside the village of Black River. It will begin with its 5K and 15K portions beginning at 9:30 a.m. The event’s 10K will begin at 10:15 a.m. Those wishing to participate in any of the races virtually may do so.

The cost of registration for the in-person races is $45 for the 5K, $60 for the 10K and $70 for the 15K. Registration for the virtual races is $60. Sign-up fees apply for all races. Registration for all races is available online at https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/Watertown/BlackRiverTrail15K10K5K. The deadline for registration is 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 11.

Following the races, a post-race celebration will be held at Garland City Beer Works, 321 Howk St., Watertown. The event is part of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Family Fit Running Series.

Participants in this year’s run will be eligible for a discount on lodging at the Fairfield by Marriott Watertown Thousand Islands in Watertown. Participants interested in taking advantage of this discount may call the hotel at 315-788-2800.

For more information about the Black River Trail Run, contact Mr. Samoraj at 315-663-5539, send an email to willowrunningny@gmail.com, or visit www.willowrunning.com.


Willow Running’s mission is to offer a high quality experience that goes beyond the actual race event. While unique courses, “off the beaten path” locations and runner safety are always a priority, we also offer top notch swag and super fun post-race festivities. It’s that signature blend of run and fun that aims to inspire participants to better health and greater fulfillment.

For more information, visit www.willowrunning.com.


The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties and beyond. Over the last 30 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, food sources and other critical needs destinations for residents.

In 2022, volunteer drivers provided 26,487 charitable trips over 878,240 miles in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties. Of those miles, 376,604 helped those in Jefferson County, 137,743 in Lewis County, and 363,893 in St. Lawrence County. That equated to approximately $439,120 in mileage reimbursement for our volunteers.

The staff, boards of directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.

For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency in Jefferson and Lewis Counties at 315-788-0422, in St. Lawrence County at 315-714-2034, or Western New York at 585-250-5030. Volunteers drive their own cars, set their own hours and receive mileage reimbursement but, more importantly, make a difference in the community. To learn more, visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.