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Circle Trot brings community together with PSU

The Circle Girls and their mentors wear matching shirts for the Circle Trot on Sunday, April 15. (Ashley Finethy) (click for larger version)
April 18, 2012
PLYMOUTH—On Sunday, April 15, active adults, children and even pets participated in the Circle Trot by running or walking a 2K, 5K or 10K course starting and ending at the Plymouth State University (PSU) Ice Arena and Welcome Center.

"We are expecting close to 500 people," said Race Director Britney Phelps. "We had about 200 participants last year. It's an inclusive race where any skill level is welcome. It is a road race, but there are three different race lengths. So you can do a 2K, 5K or a 10K race, which is pretty unique."

Being an all inclusive race was important to both the Circle Program and all of the event's sponsors, with the race theme being "Friend 'til the finish."

"We are really trying to stick to our theme and our mission of health related physical activity for everyone," said Circle Program Board Member and PSU professor Barbara McCahan. "The point is that people can walk, and bring their strollers, and bring their kids. We have a lot of people participating that would not otherwise do this."

Allowing every skill level an opportunity to competitively run, jog or walk kept with the spirit of the Circle Program, which was given all the proceeds from the day.

"Obviously, a big turnout is our number one priority, but really, creating an active culture for the town of Plymouth and pairing that activity with something that is so deeply rooted in the community," said Phelps. "The Circle Program is a local nonprofit we truly cherish, and that encourages that same active, happy, healthy lifestyle."

Creating an active atmosphere in Plymouth may be important, but everyone involved saw the Circle Trot as a way to merge the University and the community together, which many students participating or volunteering for the event.

"We probably have around 50 volunteers this year," said McCahan. "What we did this year is, we wove this event into our curriculum."

PSU students from a wellness, health and fitness assessment, activity programming and planning, and senior capstone class for seniors who are going to be physical activity practitioners were all asked to participate as volunteers for the event.

"It is more than just being here," said McCahan. "It's being interactive and observational, and really keeping their heads in this."

Not only were students from classes asked to volunteer; the Athletic Training Club offered their services throughout the Circle Trot.

"These students have been sprinkled around the course, so they are our first responders if we have any ankle turns or anything like that," said McCahan.

With everyone there, from volunteers to race participants, supporting the Circle Program, the Circle Girls and their mentors were at the race to participate with their mentors sporting matching purple shirts.

"The purple shirts are the circle girls that are from Plymouth," said Circle Girl Jessica Horton. "The Circle Program teaches us to make new friends and try new things, and we are here with our mentors to walk and to thank everyone for supporting The Circle Program."

At the end of the race, there was an awards ceremony to recognize the race winners and the leading fundraisers.

"President Steen of PSU is going to come down and announce our winners for each race category, but also we had an option for fundraising so we will be recognizing our biggest fundraisers, as well," said Phelps. "There are great prizes, such as a month-long membership to Rehab Fit at the hospital, Curves donated a month long guest pass and other great local organizations have all donated prizes for us so we can recognize the people who are working hard for us."

The day was a great success for both the community of Plymouth and The Circle Program. For more information about the Circle Program, and for more information about the Circle Trot or to register for the Circle Triathlon in the fall, visit their Web site at http://www.circleprogram.org.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
Brewster Academy
Brewster Academy
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