By Nick Mallard
Sentinel & Enterprise
The sixth annual edition of the race drew 340 runners and walkers — doubling last year’s turnout — all showing up in moist, muggy conditions to support the club.
Crossing the finish line in just under an hour, 82-year-old Marilou Crohan was just like many of the other participants: a bit wet, but wearing a smile from ear to ear.
“There’s such a great group of people here and great camaraderie,” said Crohan, who has run the Great Futures race each year it’s been held. “And the Boys & Girls Club is such a wonderful place. I can’t imagine missing this.
Along with other entrants, Crohan ran the five kilometers, looping through the western outskirts of Leominster and arriving back at the club on Lindell Avenue, where onlookers cheered and took in burgers and hot dogs.
Scott LaPrade”This gets bigger and better every year,” race director Tim Norton said. “It’s amazing to see people coming out for this.”
Norton noted that an idea brought to the table by Boys & Girls Club resource development director Patty Fields helped boost numbers. Fields helped create “The Corporate Cup,” which allows companies to put together teams to compete for a group prize.
“We definitely doubled our numbers from last year because of the Corporate Cup,” Fields said. “I think people had a good time today, even with the rain. I think if anything, it cooled people down.”
In the past, James Adams — a senior vice president and senior regional business adviser at Enterprise Bank — has run in the race, but with the bump in registered participants this year, he volunteered to help out with things behind the scenes.
“When the race started, there were maybe 50 or 60 runners and walkers,” said Adams, who also serves on the club’s board of directors. “We get a lot of corporate sponsorship and with the corporate division, it allows people to see their co-workers in a different light and maybe do some team-building.”
Josh Demming of Lancaster (19 minutes, 15 seconds) and Megan Gaudet (21:49) came away as the winners in the adult divisions for men and women, respectively.
Other age-group winners, according to CoolRunning.com, were:
* Masters (ages 40-59) — Stefano Zimei (23:05) and Jenn Miola (24:36)
* Seniors (ages 60 and up) — Michael Ward (31:43) and Pricilla Sullivan (30:37)
* High School — Paul Chapman (19:15) and Maeve Callahan (24:18)
* Middle school — Mitchell Larose (23:03) and Grace Adams (27:20)
* Elementary school — Colby Julsonnet (27:52) and Kaitlyn Perrault (41:59)
But more important than winning and losing was lending a hand to an organization that does so much for the youth of a pair of cities.
“We have a $900,000 budget to meet every year and we do that with fundraisers,” Fields said. “This is one of our fundraisers and it keeps growing every year.”