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Heat turned on for Healthy Hearts
RUMFORD- Under beautifully blue skies and 80 degree temperatures, the 2nd Annual Healthy Hearts 5K, hosted by River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, blew its' inaugural race out of the water with 165 registered runners and walkers. The 2011 event brought in 93 participants in a deluge of rain.
“This was just a stellar turnout and an amazing day all around,” noted race organizer, Sandy Witas. “Our goal this year was to increase awareness for our school-aged children and their families, and to bring more participants out for a good cause. I am so excited to say that we did it.”
This year, focusing on getting the participant numbers up, RVHCC decided to target the local schools with a discounted family registration pack, which proved to be a big hit. Over the last couple of months, the schools have been either training through their physical education programs or with a local volunteer. Holy Savior, Dirigo and Andover Elementary and Mountain Valley Middle School were all represented with teams sporting their school colors, provided by Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association or a creative, group-designed shirt.
Other groups represented were the 100 Milers, The Sisters, Key Bank and the RVHCC team.
As the race drew closer to the 11 a.m. start, participants began to gather at the line and prepare for the 3.1-mile run/walk in the severe heat. The anxious smiles on their faces proved they were ready to go. With a police escort, the runners took off, followed by the walkers.
As they made their way through the streets of town, they were met toward the end, on Knox Street, by the Bourret family and Brian Phelps, handing out icey-cold freeze pops. Several children were overheard, noting, “they were so yummy. We were getting really hot and they felt so good in my belly.”
Of the 165 registered, 147 made the start of the race.
The first few runners came across the line in roughly 19 minutes, with the last of the walkers making it in less than 55 minutes, proving that the field was up for the challenge.
In 2011, RVHCC decided that they would rotate the recipients of the fundraising from the race. Last year the proceeds went to the American Heart Association, this year, a preliminary amount of $1600 will benefit the Cardiac Rehab Clinic at Rumford Hospital.
“This is so awesome,” noted Dan Elliott, a cardiac rehab nurse. “I know exactly what I would like to do with those funds. Thank you so much for thinking of us.”
For the second year, participants arrived at the River Street start/finish line to register and take advantage of the free demonstrations provided by local sponsors. Heart monitoring for pre- and post-race was provided by Med-Care Ambulance, River Valley Zumba offered instruction and pre-race warm up, while Pizza Hut and Carabbassett Water stood by with pizza and water. Team and individual photos were provided by Bruce Farrin of the Rumford Falls Times and race timing was generously provided by Chisholm Ski Club.
“Our sponsors and other organizations and businesses throughout town see the value of their sponsorship,” noted Witas. “We have a lot of people asking how they can help with next years event. To all our current sponsors, we thank you for your efforts and your donations.”
Top finishers were as follows: Female Walkers: First, Amanda Petrie; Second, Julia Sirois; Third, Reilley Hicks. Male Walkers: First, Mike Halle; Second, Andrew Weston; Third, Michael Farrington. Women, 17 & under: First, Natalie Bolduc; Second, Abbie Blauvelt; Third, Ashley Perreault. Women, 18-49: First, Elizabeth Stimpert; Second, Samantha Glover; Third, Lindsay Luetje. Women, 50 & older: First, Karen Swan; Second, Patricia Brown; Third, Jeanne LaPointe. Men, 17 & under: First, Ryan Nicols and Cody Cunningham; Second, Holden Blauvelt; Third, Ryan Perkins. Men, 18-49: First, Will Cunningham; Second, Zach Radcliffe; Third, Aseidas Blauvelt. Men, 50 & older: First, Bob Arsenault; Second, Jeff Arsenault; Third, Bill Hine.
For a complete list of the 2012 race sponsors, please visit www.rvhcc.org.