|By Debbie Gardner|
HAMPDEN Clean up those running shoes and start logging some miles, Hampden's road race is back!
After a two-year hiatus, the Lions Club is bringing the 5K road race back as a Pumpkin Fun Run on Oct. 28. Proceeds from the race will support various Lions Club projects, including the Annual Halloween Party for the town's children slated for 6 p.m. the same day.
From 2001-2003, the 5K road race was part of a Fall Festival the town put on in early October.
This year's race will begin and end at Thorton W. Burgess Middle School on Wilbraham Road in Hampden.
Race-day registration and check-in will take place between 7 and 7:45 a.m. Start time is 8 a.m. Entry fee is $12 prior to the race, $15 morning of the race. Complete information and race applications are available online at www.hampden.org.
The first 100 registered runners will receive race tee shirts. Cash prizes of $50 to male and female winners will be awarded in each of seven age divisions from 15 and under through age 60-plus.
Runners are encouraged to come in costume, and a $25 cash prize will be awarded to the best costume in each division.
"We averaged around 110 to 120 runners [at previous races]," said Lion's Club member Jim Morris.
Morris helped to organize the race when it was under the auspices of the town's Park & Recreation Department, and is assisting the Lions Club with this year's event.
Morris said the Lions have a fund-raising goal of approximately $1,500 after expenses.
"It will go to support the Lions Eye Research project and town-sponsored events. There's a lot of projects that the local Lions do," he said.
Morris said the Lions Club donates money to the schools and the police department and puts on several events for the town's children, including annual Halloween and Christmas parties.
Morris said the Pumpkin Fun Run is still looking for a few more corporate sponsors to help support the race.
"For a $100 donation, we will put the business' logo on the back of our tee shirt," Morris said. "We'll be printing at least 100 tee shirts."
For more information on race sponsorships, contact Thomas Crogan at 525-6011 or Richard Green at 566-0028.