On an abnormally warm day, the 3rd Saturday in October of 2018, Hollis Montessori School hosted its first 5K race. The primary of goal of the race was to create a fun atmosphere that families from both within the school and the broader community could enjoy. The wind blew leaves down the street in Monument Square, as our HMS Run banner waved, alerting all that an event was taking place that day. Volunteers gathered by ones, twos and threes, donning yellow shirts carrying the logos of our first year platinum sponsors, Peak Wealth Management and Velocity NP. We were set and ready to go, when the first racers arrived for registration and bib pick up at 8:30.
Children as young as 5 came excited to run the course after many weeks of training in the school’s cross-country program, and several parents of younger children opted to push strollers, making the race a true family affair. Richardson Rd on the backside of the course was in perfect Fall form, the trees in full color lining the dirt road. Spectators young and old cheered as family and friends rounded the corner from Depot Rd back toward the finish in Monument Square. Overall, we had 76 registered racers, who walked, ran, and strolled through the finish line. While all racers put forth a great effort, we were excited to see 12-year-old Claire Ballou, an HMS alumnus, come in first place with a time of 21:08.
Before, during, and after the race, children also participated in a variety of activities set up in Little Nichols Field behind the Hollis Library. Some made streamers to cheer on racers, while others navigated an obstacle course; many older children took the opportunity to create a more difficult seasonal craft, a pumpkin out of pipe cleaners and yarn. Post-race food provided by HMS families, Harvest Market, and Buckley’s Bakery was enjoyed by all. Overall and age category winners went home with awards donated by HMS families and local businesses including Fleet Feet, Orange Theory, and HMS’s own Sunny Orchard, run by the Adolescent Program.
As the race director, I want to extend a deep thank you to the race committee, race-day volunteers, HMS board, Town of Hollis, and outside consultants for their support and assistance in making our first HMS Family 5K a success. We all look forward to making this an annual event and hope to continue forging strong connections with the broader community of Hollis.