When running enthusiasts Dorothy Sutton and Sarah Nugent got to thinking about fundraising for Auburn Youth and Family Services, sponsoring a road race seemed natural. The result is the first ever Rocket Road Race to be held on September 22. The race proceeds will help fund the many services AYFS offers in the community.
Ms. Sutton, who directed road races while a college student, envisions the Rocket Race becoming an annual event that caters to runners of all abilities. “We started planning in March. We wanted a date in early fall where people would be around, kids would be in school. We wanted activities that would interest a lot of people.”
Working with the Auburn Police and DPW, the women selected the date in September and mapped out both a 10K and a 5K route, starting and finishing at Auburn High School. In addition, younger runners can participate in a 1K around the AHS Track. “We don’t have specific ages for the kids’ run” said Sutton. “We’ll probably run heats. We don’t want a three year old getting upset trying to run against a 12 year old!”
In addition to benefiting a great organization, the Auburn Rocket Race adds to the running circuit that has developed in town including the Auburn Police Association 5K, Jules’ Run (June) and Rascal Run, and the Klepto 5K (October 20). The running events add to the active lifestyle options in town, which could lead to Auburn’s recognition as a “Mass In Motion” community, a program promoted through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The road races also create a fun, festive community atmosphere. “Anyone is welcome” says Sutton. “We have several course options, people can run or walk. They can even do the 1K even if they are not kids. We have a grandmother registered who wants to walk with her 3 year old grandchild.”
Medals will be awarded to top finishers, and there are additional prizes for junior runners and for teams, such as best team costumes. Beyond the race, the event will feature balloons, face painting, a bounce house, arts and crafts, a penny auction and an Auburn Fire Truck.
The goal is to make this another truly community-oriented event benefiting a community organization. So far, the results are encouraging. “We have 70 runners already registered” added Sutton. “That’s a lot for 3 weeks out. A lot will register on race day. So we’re hoping to hit 150 runners or so.”