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A great workout for a great cause


Local runners turn out in force to support Newfound football field project



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Lisa Young (left) and her daughter, Holly Thompson (right) — who was participating in her first 5K — sprint toward the finish line during the Bristol Old Home Day 5K Fun Run Saturday. (Brendan Berube) (click for larger version)

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Lisa Young (left) and her daughter, Holly Thompson (right) — who was participating in her first 5K — sprint toward the finish line during the Bristol Old Home Day 5K Fun Run Saturday. (Brendan Berube) (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010
BRISTOL — From novices taking part in their first competitive road race to a team of Freudenberg employees looking to make a difference, runners from every corner of the community turned out to support a worthy cause during the 5K Fun Run that opened Bristol's Old Home Day celebration this past weekend.

A total of 62 runners set off from Kelley Park early Saturday morning, with all proceeds from registration fees going to the Friends of Newfound Football in support of their efforts to construct a football field at Newfound Regional High School.

According to Kerry Mattson, the project manager appointed to oversee the construction of the new field, the $1,500 raised during Saturday's race will be put toward the cost of hiring a contractor to blast through a large section of ledge recently unearthed at the site, much to the Friends' surprise and dismay.

The project, Mattson said, began two years ago, when the Newfound Regional School Board agreed to allow the Friends to pursue the construction of a new football field on an unused piece of school property, provided the organization did not ask the district for any financial support.

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Local runners turned out in force to support the construction of a new football field at Newfound Regional High School during this past weekend’s Old Home Day 5K Fun Run in Bristol. (Brendan Berube) (click for larger version)
Since then, he explained, the Friends have raised a total of $36,000 in donations from area residents and businesses, $26,000 of which was spent developing plans for the new field.

Local contractor J.P. Morrison volunteered his company's time and equipment to assist in the actual construction of the field, but was forced to call the project to a halt when he unexpectedly hit ledge earlier this year.

"We just need that final push," Mattson said, explaining that the Friends will need to raise another $25,000 in order to blast through the ledge and move forward with construction.

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A group of Freudenberg-NOK employees were among those who took part in the 5K Fun Run that opened Saturday’s Old Home Day festivities in Bristol. (Brendan Berube) (click for larger version)
"We're on the home stretch," he added, noting that if the Friends can get through the ledge within the next month or two, the field should be ready for seeding by the end of fall, meaning that the Newfound football team would be able to play on its own field next year.

The community has been incredibly supportive of the project, Mattson said, singling out the students who have lent their support — many of whom, he said, will have graduated before they have a chance to play on the field they helped build.

"[The project's] brought out a lot of community spirit … it's been a lot of fun," he said. "I hope people can give just a little bit more so we can get these guys a field."

Newfound Athletic Director Pete Cofran, who served as the Fun Run's official timekeeper, was thrilled to see the show of support from the local community for the Friends' efforts.

The key to developing a successful football program is building school spirit, he said, adding that it is difficult to foster that spirit when parents and friends aren't able to attend games at their own school.

Among those who turned out in support of the Friends' efforts Saturday were a team of 14 employees from Freudenberg-NOK's Bristol plant, which has become very active in local fundraising efforts over the past few months as part of a new company-wide, community outreach program.

Diane Williams, the team's spokesperson, said she and her teammates signed up to participate in the Fun Run after seeing posters throughout the plant asking for volunteers.

Freudenberg, she said, paid the registration fees for all 14 team members and supplied them with t-shirts.

The Fun Run, Williams explained, was one of four local events — along with the company's own Walk for Wellness in July (which raised funds for NANA), an upcoming Red Cross blood drive, and the Tapply-Thompson Community Center's Westward Bound program — that Freudenberg chose to support this year.

"It felt great," Williams said of her participation in the Fun Run, her first 5K, adding that she felt supporting the Friends' efforts would be a "worthwhile thing," and also felt that it was important to be a "part of the team" at Freudenberg.

Donations toward the field project can be mailed to the Friends of Newfound Football Field Committee at P.O. Box 52, Bristol, NH 03222.

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