ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Over 1,200 women took to the streets of downtown Albany Saturday morning for the 43rd annual Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K.

“It is amazing, the energy is already super high,” said Kristen Hisloo, the event’s director.

Saturday marked 43 years for the race itself, and also one of its runners. “When I first started, there was about 300 women, then it grew to almost 4,000. This year, it’s a little bit smaller because of COVID but still, what a great turnout,” said Denise Herman.

Herman has run each year since the race began back in 1979, becoming a large part of what’s become a growing tradition in the Capital Region. “I’m in awe about that. When I first started in ‘79—because I have shirts that say ‘crossing the line in ‘79’—I would’ve never thought it would come to where it is today,” she explained.

While some continue a years-long tradition, others, including this year’s winner, running the race for the very first time. “It’s been definitely a bucket list race for me. I heard about it so much when I was in high school growing up, so just to be here today is cool,” said Aisling Cuffe, a Massachusetts native who finished the race in 16 minutes and 34 seconds.

Whether it’s their first or 43rd race, everyone is glad to have these sorts of events back in person again. Especially as crowds of people gathered along the course to cheer runners on. “We have all these people that have been really ready to get back and experience this fun event, so we’re excited,” said Hisloo.

This year’s event also took donations for three different local charities, with over $4,000 raised to this point. The organizations include Girls on the Run Capital Region, Albany Medical Foundation, and United Way of the Greater Capital Region.

A virtual run was also available for runners this year, with over 300 participating away from the course. Next year’s race is set to return to its normal June date, on June 4.