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Run for the Park: Bringing free outdoor adult fitness to Hamburg

OUT IN THE YARD — Pictured is an artist’s rendering of the future Dani-Fitness Park, which is being planned for the Hamburg Recreation Park – Nike Base. Photo provided by Danielle Pietrocarlo DeWitt.
HAMBURG — Hamburg will soon be the site of a new trend that was borrowed from Europe and China and has been popping up all over the United States, beginning in the metropolitan Los Angeles and New York City areas.

Outdoor adult fitness parks allow people to exercise in the great outdoors, without joining a gym or purchasing workout equipment.

Danielle Pietrocarlo DeWitt, the director of Dani-Fit in Hamburg, said that she experienced this type of adult playground-like area in Skaneateles, N.Y. and thought the idea was a winner. Rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to bring the concept to the Southtowns, Pietrocarlo DeWitt has grabbed the bull by the horns.

The Hamburg resident and business owner has planned a 5K run/walk to raise money to erect the Dani-Fitness Park on designated land at the Hamburg Recreation Park – Nike Base.

All proceeds from this event will go toward building the park. According to Pietrocarlo DeWitt, $25,000 must be raised, to break ground on the project. “We are hoping to have it built by next year,” she explained.

An anniversary party, thrown by Dani-Fit at J.P. Fitzgerald’s in April, raised $4,000, which was designated for the Dani-Fitness Park.

The local attraction will feature outdoor exercise equipment made by Parkitects Inc. The park will be free to the public and open to individuals aged 12 and older. According to www.danifitbuffalo.com, the on-site equipment will include battle ropes, walls, jump boxes, pull-up/dip bars and more. “The equipment is similar to what is used at tough mudder events,” Pietrocarlo DeWitt explained, “so people can also use the park when they are training for those races.”

In addition, she said that a downloadable app will allow park visitors to check out workouts they can do with the outdoor equipment.

Hamburg Director of Youth, Recreation and Adult Services Martin Denecke worked on the park idea with Pietrocarlo DeWitt, since the beginning. “He has been extremely with everything,” Pietrocarlo DeWitt said.

The town has given approval for the Dani-Fitness Park to be built. Pietrocarlo DeWitt said that she and her fitness studio will not own the park, but that the location will belong to the community. “I’m just giving them the money to do it,” she said.

Pietrocarlo DeWitt said that, while she earned her college degree in communications, she found a niche when she began to exercise more, after the birth of her daughter. She began teaching fitness classes at an Armor location and, before long, she opened Dani-Fit in Hamburg.

The fitness spot is located in the bottom half of a former dance studio, which Pietrocarlo DeWitt said she felt was poetic, since she spent many years dancing at Future Dance Center. “I am very passionate about being healthy and getting other people healthy without paying an arm and a leg for it,” she said.

Pietrocarlo DeWitt said that she is taking the goals that she uses at her fitness studio out into the community. “I’m from here,” she said. “This is my community. I want to see everybody be happier and healthier and to reach their goals.”

With that self-expressed objective, Pietrocarlo DeWitt is hosting the Run for the Park on Oct. 5, to take another step toward funding the future Dani-Fitness Park in Hamburg.

This is the first time Pietrocarlo DeWitt has organized a 5K, but she said that she is confident that the community will support the endeavor, which she said is a win-win for everybody. “This is for the betterment of the community,” she said.

After the run/walk was approved by the town board, Denecke brought John Beishline from WNY Finish Line Services on board, to advise the event organizers. “He is so helpful and knowledgeable about planning 5Ks,” Pietrocarlo DeWitt said. Beishline, whom Pietrocarlo DeWitt described as “huge in the running world,” will shoot the gun to start the racers.

The Oct. 5 event will include a beer tent, live music by B.Theory, prizes for the top three run runners in each age group and a chicken barbecue, provided by BW’s Barbecue of Blasdell.

The cross-country event will wind through the Nike Base in Hamburg and will be held, rain or shine. According to Pietrocarlo DeWitt, the Run for the Park is an official 5K, sanctioned by USA Track & Field, the United States national governing body for the sports of track and field, cross-country running, road running and racewalking.

“You can walk, run, crawl, bring your families, walk your dog, whatever,” Pietrocarlo DeWitt said. “Just be a part of it.”

The first 200 individuals to sign up will receive a free T-shirt.

So far, the list of corporate sponsors includes J.P. Fitzgerald’s, Jimmies Pizza, Metro Group Inc., Gear for Adventure, Prima Oliva, Lind-Hart Mini-Ship, Vara’s Dry Cleaning and BW’s Barbecue.

Pietrocarlo DeWitt said that she is still looking for sponsors for this event.

The organizer said that she hopes to make this event an annual occurrence and eventually turn it into a foundation for the community. “People are changing their lives,” she said, about the reason she wants to help individuals become healthier versions of themselves.

The event is open to people from all over Western New York and has been listed on www.buffalorunners.com.

The 5K cross-country race will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 5. Registration is currently taking place and will continue to be open, through the day of the race.

To sign up to participate in the Race for the Park, visit www.danifitbuffalo.com. Businesses that are interested in sponsoring the event may contact Pietrocarlo DeWitt directly at 202-9142.
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