ROCHESTER - As almost 500 runners streamed out of the parking lot of the James W. Foley Memorial Community Center on Saturday, half a world away more than a hundred Jews, including U.S. nationals, remain hostage in Gaza.
The significance and irony wasn't lost on the mother of James Foley, Diane, who declared that if her son were alive today, he'd be in Southern Israel or Gaza covering the war and humanitarian crisis.
|Diane Foley takes a selfie with two runners before the 5K|
Saturday's running of the Foley Freedom Run took on special significance, not only because Jim Foley was beheaded by the terror group ISIS in 2014, but because another similarly brutal terror group Hamas is now threatening to execute hostages it took during its bloody rampage in Southern Israel on Oct. 7.
"Oh, he'd be there for sure," said Diane Foley, who added that Americans are having a difficult time comprehending the sheer and breath-taking evil that Hamas has exhibited in the past week.
"We humans struggle with this evil, and we have to realize all people are capable of great good and great evil," she said. "And in the Mideast there's a lot of resentment. It's all about humanity."
Diane Foley said we, as a people, have to stand up to the evil that terrorists seek to foment.
"We have to have the moral courage," she said. "We can't be fearful of terrorists; that's what they want."
U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, who was also on hand at the race, agreed that Saturday's run took on added significance with so many Americans killed by Hamas when they targeted Israeli civilians on Oct. 7.
"What is going on in Israel right now reminds me of the importance of the Foley Foundation," Hassan said. "Protecting journalists is so important, because they shine a light on people who are suffering."
Jim Foley was working as a war correspondent for GlobalPost in Syria when he was abducted in November 2012. ISIS publicly beheaded him in 2014, purportedly as a response to American airstrikes in Iraq.
Freedom Run organizers announced on Saturday that this year's race was its biggest ever, and that prior to racetime they had already raised almost $140,000 for the Foley Foundation, whose mission is to "advocate for freedom for all U.S. nationals wrongfully detained or held hostage abroad, to ensure government accountability to prioritize their safe return and to educate and protect journalists and international travelers."
Some 483 runners finished the course, with Cameron Cook, 28, of Dover, a perennial winner of the race in recent years, taking top honors with a time 15.28.
The top Rochester finisher was Patrick Beaudry, who finished fifth with a time of 21.43.
For a full list of finishers click here