Note: This article ran in print in the August 14, 2014 Edition of The Wanderer. The original online version can be seen here (See pg. 8).
225 runners lined up at the Dexter Lane starting line for the 9th Annual 5K Walk/Run Road Race. The race is held every year to raise money and food for The Food Pantry at Damien’s Place in Wareham.
While the turnout was somewhat less than expected, Director Scott Muller was still pleased with the number of participants, as well as the perfect running conditions. “It’s a perfect day for the race. Not too humid. Plus the course is mostly shaded so it won’t be too hot. I expect to see some personal bests today,” Muller said before the race.
Also working to organize the event were Vice President Chuck Kantner, Secretary Jeff Perry, Treasurer Kevin Cassidy, and Operations Manager Travis Vanhall. The primary sponsor of the event was Costello Dismantling.
As runners gathered before the race, The Food Pantry collected nonperishable goods for the pantry. A representative of The Food Pantry, Richard Straffin, was there to meet and thank everyone who donated. “The race is a great big help. We collect a lot of food and it’s always a great cash donation. We’re so grateful to everyone for their donations. It’s also just a great community event, it gets everyone together,” Straffin said.
To date, the Rochester Road Race, which is incorporated as a nonprofit, has raised over $40,000 and thousands of pounds of food for The Food Pantry, which serves needy families in the area.
Once the race got started, though, it was all about the competition. For the first time in 3 years, a new winner emerged. Thomas Days Merrill of Fairhaven came in first place overall with a time of 16:42. Devyn Pryor of Dartmouth came in first in the women’s group with a time of 18:24.
Some of the loudest applause of the day came for the second place winner in the women’s group. Meg Hughes, age 12, came in second place with a time of 19:46. Hughes won the women’s group at last year’s race.
Rounding out the men’s group winners were second place finisher Jeff Reed from New Bedford with a time of 17:37 and third place finisher Nathan Britto of New Bedford with a time of 17:48. Patricia Carreiro of New Bedford finished in third place for the women’s group with a time of 19:13.
Following the race, Muller thanked the runners and guests and reminded everyone that the race is always in need of volunteers. Those interested in helping next year should email RochesterRR@comcast.net.