HAMILTON — For someone whose life was cut far too short, Gabe Pacione left an indelible mark on so many people that he had the chance to meet.
Gabe’s Run, which will be held for the fifth straight year tomorrow morning, honors the life of the former Hamilton-Wenham running superstar. It’s when hundreds of runners flock to Patton Park in Hamilton the day after Thanksgiving to remember his zest for life, his kindness and his wonderful smile.
Women’s and men’s 5K races will be followed by a one-mile fun run and awards ceremony. All proceeds go to the Gabriel Pacione Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards two scholarships annually: one to a college-bound senior from Hamilton-Wenham and the other to a member of a Cape Ann League school. The students selected encourage and inspire others the way Gabe did and also strive to attain high accomplishments.
A multi-time Salem News Runner of the Year while at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, Gabe was days away from attending Dartmouth College as a freshman before he was tragicially killed in an auto accident.
“Both 5K races get a little bigger each year,” said Jeff Pacione, Gabe’s father. “The race pays for itself, and all proceeds go to the scholarships. We get a lot of kids from local schools, many (who) come back from college to compete (while) others come to volunteer and support us. We want people to enjoy it and have fun.
“Every year, we get a handful of notes from people with nice memories of Gabe. That means so much to us. People come back year after year; both Gabe’s friends and others he competed against. It’s interesting to see young kids start out with the fun run (that are) now doing the 5K.”