Story and photos by Laurie Gwen Shapiro.
Nearly 200 Lower East Siders came together Sunday for the first annual LES 5K Revel Run, which was formed in the memory of Lower East Sider Pavel Lempert, who passed away in August of 2017 at 52 from complications of laryngeal carcinoma. The run, which was organized by Pavel’s friends and family, was also raising funds for University Settlement Society of New York’s Beacon program, which provides after-school activities, sports teams, and arts and music classes to students throughout the neighborhood. Local sponsors including Essex Crossing and Halstead helped defray the costs of the race.
Pavel was a much-loved member of the Lower East Side community. He was board chairman of the Hillman Housing Cooperative Village in New York City, a Trustee of the East End Temple, and organizer of the men’s group Grand-Dads of PS 110.
Pavel’s widow Diane Ware Lempert, spoke to the crowd. After chemotherapy Pavel had been given a running app by a Lower East Side friend and dreamed of working his way up to a 5K.
In a teary voice, Diane said that his friends and community members were fulfilling his dream for him by participating in a 5K. From the sidelines, Pavel’s two teen children smiled at their mother who not only spoke, but later ran in the race.
Pavel was director of operations and lead facilitator of Drum Café NY and a drummer and performer himself. Fittingly, a team of drummers was present to rev up the runners before the race. Several of the runners were young children. Also in the race were walkers, which was perfectly acceptable to the organizers. “Anyone who wants to honor Pavel is welcome,” said an organizer, Jennifer Rucker.
William Friedlander, who was visiting from above 14th Street, finished first at 17 minutes, 53 seconds. No. 40 caught his breath and said he heard about the race through a friend of another one of Pavel’s men’s groups, Dudes of Disruption, and thought it sounded like a good cause to support.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Allison Rogers (No. 114) a mom from the East Village who was overheard saying she participates in triathlons.
16-year-old Lower East Sider Niels Vanderloo (No. 110) placed second overall at 19 minutes, 25 seconds. Huge cheers erupted from the crowd when he crossed; especially from the local parents who knew him since pre-school.
A Grand Street dad, Michael Learmonth, a good friend of this reporter and Pavel’s, wondered who this mysterious winner William Friedlander was. “Maybe I would’ve won,” he joked, “if not for the uptown ringers.”