DATE: 8.28.13 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Maria Palmer Maurer, Race Director 917.656.2821 questions@thesaratogapalio.

com For Immediate Release

THE SARATOGA PALIO: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race Half Marathon Wants Elite Runners September 15, 2013
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 28, 2013 — Attention elite runners! We want you to showcase your talent in the Capital Region’s premier half marathon, The Saratoga Palio. For the third year in a row, The Melanie Foundation will award prize money to the top 3 male and top 3 female finishers of the half marathon on Sunday, September 15. The top male and female finishers will be awarded $500 for 1st place, $250 for 2nd place, and $100 for 3rd place. In addition, the cash winners will also take home Smith Optics sunglasses, as well as an assortment of Saratoga Palio race gear. Those who have met the following time standards in a half marathon since January 2012 will be awarded complimentary entry: males, 1:14 or under/females, 1:23 or under. With attendees from 2 countries, 20 states, and with an anticipation of over 2200 participants for this year’s eighth annual race, The Saratoga Palio has quickly become a regional favorite since its inaugural race in 2006. The prize incentive hopes to bring more elite runners to this established event that they won’t want to miss. “Just as Melanie challenged herself on a daily basis, we encourage runners to challenge themselves in this race ,” said Maria Palmer Maurer, race director. What began as an honor of the very generous and kindhearted legacy of Melanie Merola O’Donnell has since become a scholarship fund that rewards graduate-level students in the mental health field that display the same characteristics as Melanie. “The Melanie Foundation attempts to live up to Melanie’s legacy by awarding those who show the potential to make a difference in the world tomorrow,” said Maurer.

The Saratoga Palio: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race

The run is challenging, so those who are experienced, don’t expect it to be too easy! The USA Track & Field certified half marathon route is a strenuous course with hills that takes runners through the beautiful and historic Saratoga Springs. Landmarks include the Saratoga Spa State Park, Skidmore College, downtown Broadway, Congress Park, and more.

For more information, to volunteer, or to register for The Saratoga Palio: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race on September 15, visit and like us on Facebook. Online registration ends September 11 at 10 PM. In-person registration and packet pickup will be held on September 14 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Hampton Inn.

The Saratogian is a key media sponsor. ### About Melanie Merola O’Donnell Melanie Merola O’Donnell lived an inspirational life, and though it was cut short, it was extremely full. Throughout her life, Melanie worked to help people in need. She volunteered with, and later became a staff member of, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, and she was a board member of the Capital Area Crisis Response Team (CACRT) for 8 years. She trained crisis responders for both organizations until 2004. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Melanie coordinated and managed 28 crisis response teams in New York City and 8 teams in Washington. She also aided crisis responders in Somerset County, PA, following the attacks. She spent several weeks in New York City, helping grieving families who were visiting the site of the attacks and coping with the aftermath. She provided care to individuals affected by natural disasters, plane crashes, school violence, the civil war in Sierra Leone, workplace violence, and homicide. In June 2004, she was honored by CACRT as the first recipient of the Melanie Merola O’Donnell Award for Excellence. At the time of her death, she was enrolled in a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Antioch University New England, in Keene, NH. Amidst Melanie’s professional responsibilities and accomplishments, her devotion to her husband, son, mother, father, sister, family, and friends was never compromised.

The Saratoga Palio: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race

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