Boys and Girls Club 5K goes virtual during pandemic


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LEOMINSTER — Rather than cancel its annual 5K fundraising event due to COVID-19, the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has decided to host it virtually this year.

The race, now in its 11th year, was moved online following health concerns and is taking place from Sunday to July 6.

“Rather than canceling the race, which is our signature event, we decided to move forward with our one and only fundraiser,” Executive Director Donata Martin said.

The run and walk is an opportunity to raise visibility and money for the club at a time when the funding is needed the most, Martin said.

There have been hundreds of participants in previous years, and organizers are determined to make the event a success despite the challenges.

This year’s goal is $100,000.

“It’s all about helping the club,” Martin said.

Martin said the club, which hopes to open later this summer, is anticipating several new costs in the coming year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of those costs include cleaning the building more often, purchasing cleaning supplies, hand sanitizing stations and art supplies.

Martin added that the club will be a valuable resource for parents heading back to work in the coming months, and that it’s her duty to keep the students safe and healthy.

When the club realized it would have to move the race online, it created a website where participants can create their own page to share their progress with others.

With a virtual 5K race, individuals can choose to run or walk the distance in any setting — outside or even on a treadmill inside. People can do the event at their own pace as well, added Martin.

Medals will be awarded for various achievements, including one for the person participating from the furthest away.

Martin said she was excited for the event and hopes that it can bring the community together like it has in the past.

“Before, it was a one day event and this year we can get so many people to participate,” she said. “Younger kids and older runners can also join. There’s just so much more that we can do.”

Residents interested in registering for the event can go to

To register, there is a $30 fee for adults, $20 for 5K masters, and $15 for students.