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Tender 5K promotes company's devotion to outdoor lifestyle

Tender Corporation's third annual 5K run/walk started at 10 a.m. on Sunday. About 200 people participated in the event, which started and finished at the company's new international headquarters on Industrial Park Road in Littleton. Darin Wipperman. (click for larger version)
August 22, 2016
LITTLETON – With sun breaking through and some humidity, nearly 200 participants took part in the Tender 5K run/walk on Sunday morning. The third annual event was the first time the 5K started and finished at the company's new headquarters on Industrial Park Road.

Tender is known internationally as the maker of AfterBite insect treatment and a range of other active lifestyle products. Participants received a shirt with the motto, "Connect With the Outdoors."

Tender's leadership does not just preach the message. The company's CEO Jason Cartwright was one of the runners on Sunday.

This year's event made use of some town roads, with about half of the distance on the Ammonoosuc Rail Trail. A 5K is equivalent to just more than three miles.

Chris Reilly, 30, of Whitefield, crossed the finish line first, just 17:39 after starting in the same spot. He was followed less than a minute later by Anthony Pifari, 22.

Reilly runs about eight 5Ks or half marathons each year. As he enjoyed some well-earned water, he concisely explained why he runs.

"I get a thrill out of it," Reilly said.

A pre-teen then showed how it is done. Vermonter Evan Thornton-Sherman took third place.

The Tender 5K was not the youngster's first such event of the weekend. He participated in a 5K in Maine on Saturday.

With a banana and water shortly after the finish, Thornton-Sherman said he runs because his mom is so happy with his hobby. "It makes me happy, too," he added.

"It all started when I was eight," Thornton-Sherman continued. He intends to keep running for a long time, and plans to do marathons some day.

With a determined expression even after the race, Thornton-Sherman concluded, "I never quit."

The fifth overall finisher, and first female, shares Thornton-Sherman's interest in running, as well as youthfulness. Leah Dutkewych, 15, will soon be a sophomore at White Mountains Regional High School.

With a big smile to go along with her rapid pace as a runner, Dutkewych said the sport gives her a big rush. "The feeling after the race," she noted, is the big motivating factor that keeps her pounding pavement.

Dutkewych's first 5K was the Lancaster Street Fair when she was in sixth grade. "That made me want to keep going," she said after her impressive time of just over 20 minutes, "because I liked it a lot."

A 5K is a piece of cake for the young Spartan. "I've done a half marathon before," Dutkewych said. She intends to keep running throughout her academic career, including college.

Jim McMahon, a member of the town's River District Re-development Commission, was another top finisher. Several other adults enjoyed the morning run alongside so many youngsters.

The 5K is not just a celebration of running at Tender. There are several vendors on hand, many that support the philosophy of enjoying the outdoors. Booths included information from Trout Unlimited, NH Master Gardeners and PRKR Mountain Trails, among others.

Registration proceeds from Sunday's 5K will benefit Granite United Way and Boy Scout Troop 209.

The Little Grille donated a great deal of meat for the runners to enjoy. As he prepared Brazilian-style chicken wrapped in bacon, Scott Rutherford said the restaurant strives to support Tender's mission of encouraging people to embrace physical activity.

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