Elaine Frenette, baby Samantha, and Meg Carr, the top-placing female runner in Sunday's Tender Corp 5K, celebrate at the end of the fifth annual road race. (Photo by Justin Roshak) (click for larger version)
August 24, 2018LITTLETON—Four hundred attendees, from as much as two states away, gathered for Littleton's fifth ever Tender Corp 5K and block party, this past Sunday. Just about 258 racers took part in the 5K itself.
First across the finish line was Christopher Reilly, 32, at 18 minutes and six seconds (or just under six minutes per mile). He was followed by overall runners up Danny Ballentine, 35, with 19:17, and Steven Saffo, 47, with 21:27. Littleton Library Director and mother-of-two Megan Carr was fastest among the women, with a time of 22:58, 14th overall.
At least one runner drove all the way from Pawtucket, R.I., to compete.
Setup began in the early hours, around 6 a.m., when 50 degree fog still clung to the Ammonoosuc River's tributaries and crannies. Yet by the time of the starting signal, the sun was fierce.
Participants walked, strolled, hobbled, and ran the entire 3.1 miles around the huge Tender manufacturing facility, along the Ammonoosuc, and up around the Industrial Park. Many walked with small children on foot or in strollers.
In all, the 5K took in some $16,000 from sponsors and registrations, and awarded more than $6,000 each, after expenses, to both the Ammonoosuc Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Littleton's Boy Scout Troop 209.
Trout Unlimited's Ammonoosuc Chapter will put the money towards its Young Trout, Young Science project in the Dartmouth Grant. The research program aims to capture, tag, and monitor brook trout movement, to better understand trout behavior, river health, spawning patterns, and population strength.
For its part, Troop 209 has been raising money for a SCUBA diving trip for more than a year.
Major local sponsors included Rek'lis Brewery, Passumpsic Savings Bank, FedEX, and the Little Grille, which provided lunch for the hungry, sweaty crowds. Phlume Media filmed the event for broadcast on Channel 2/Granite North TV.
The 5K began half a decade ago, and has grown quickly. Last year, it exceeded its goal of 225 participants by one hundred, and this year, doubled the number of vendors and displays.
Nonprofits received discounted booth spaces—some two dozen dozen businesses and organizations attended, including Littleton's boy scout troop, the Littleton Dog Park Committee, and at least one candidate for state office.
Ten different Industrial Park businesses held job fairs at the 5K. The event brought together employees, patrons of many park businesses, and served secondarily to celebrate the varied manufacturing successes of the park's tenants.
Andrew Bronson helped found, and has organized the 5K, from year one. He praised the many people who lent a hand, including his original co-founder and fellow Tender employee, Jen Ogden.
"Littleton was founded on the Ammonoosuc River, and then the economic driver was the railroad, and how it's the Industrial Park," Bronson observed.
"It takes a lot of legwork," he said.
He particularly praised the hard work of Stephanie Bournival, Pam Smith, Rochelle Cacio, Tricia Burton, and the Schrums, Mary and Vern, the latter an experienced competitive bike and foot racer in his own right.