The Bagel Bunch recently dedicated a memorial bench along the bike path in Basil Marella Park as a tribute to its members who died over the years.
The informal running group, which meets on Saturday mornings at Bruegger’s Bagels on Latta Road in Greece, started in 1996. Friendships developed over the nearly 24 years as group members achieved running milestones.
Oven Door Runners of Bushnell’s Basin performed a similar tribute in memory of leader Bill Hearne. A running magazine also showcased a memorial, attracting the attention of Bagel Bunch initiator Bob Dyjack after a sixth runner in the group died this past May. Don Curran died in 2004, followed by Greg Christo in 2015, Deb Ciulla and Jill Skivington Jacket in 2017, and Anne Procopio and Steve Derks in 2019.
The group debated a number of designs and locations, settling on a bench along the bike path running from West Ridge Road to the Lake Ontario State Parkway.
Eagle Scout candidate Bobby Flaherty, of Greece, took on the project to build the bench with help from Boy Scout Troop 277, his family and the town of Greece. Some work has to wait until the spring, such as a stamped concrete walk between the bike path and bench, garden around the perimeter, and permanent plaque on the back of the bench.
Dyjak closed the dedication ceremony attended by 60 friends and family members by saying everyone is in a race — the human race. Not all are runners in the physical sense, but still have a specific course to follow.