Participants and Sponsors Sought for Annual Event to Benefit VTC Foundation

(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 – slated for Saturday, May 11 – 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.

“We’re excited to again be chosen by Willow Running as the nonprofit to benefit from the Black River Trail Run,” 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 Mike and his organization,” said Mr. Papineau, who noted the relationship between the two organizations has continued to grow ever since.

Last year, the Black River Trail Run raised nearly $4,500 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.”

“The support of the businesses who sponsor this event and the participation of people from our community and beyond has grown and grown,” said Mr. Papineau. “That’s awesome for the VTC and for the Black River Trail Run as it becomes a sought after event year after year.”

“We invite the Watertown and Fort Drum community to join us for the 4th annual Black River Trail Run to benefit the Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation,” said Mr. Samoraj. “Choose your distance — 5K, 10K or the 15K Combo — or consider the newly-added ‘Rucksack’ category for both the 5K and 10K.”

The Rucksack category, said Mr. Samoraj, is the same course with the exception participants in that category wear a minimum 20-pound weighted vest to compete. The Black River Trail Run will be held May 11 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 currently $40 for the 5K, $52.50 for the 10K and $60 for the 15K. Registration for the virtual races is $42.50. Sign-up fees apply for all races and registration costs increase Tuesday, April 30. Registration for all races is available online at The deadline for registration is 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 9.

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, or visit Those wishing to be a sponsor may contact Mr. Papineau at 315-303-2590 or via email at


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


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 2023, volunteer drivers provided 25,314 charitable trips over 855,471 miles in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties. Of those miles, 329,819 helped those in Jefferson County, 101,766 in Lewis County, and 423,886 in St. Lawrence County. That equated to approximately $427,736 in mileage reimbursement for our volunteers. That’s why the community’s help is so important.

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