An article appearing in the September 25, 2015 Blackstone Valley edition of the Telegram Town:
Run, walk to benefit Manchaug Pond preservation Oct. 17 in Sutton
By Christina Galeone, Correspondent
SUTTON – How often do runners get the chance to see what they’re running for while racing? Not often. But at Manchaug Pond Foundation’s The Dam Race, runners can not only see what they’re running for, they can experience it in all its glory.
On Oct. 17, beginning at 9:30 a.m., the 5K run and 3K walk will start at 19 Holt Road. During fall foliage season, participants will get to experience the beauty of Manchaug Pond, the 380-acre public lake that the race proceeds will help to protect and enhance.
First held in October 2010, the race was originally held to raise awareness of the work that MPF, a nonprofit, was doing to maintain the health of the pond and to raise funds to help the town of Sutton acquire Manchaug Pond and its dam from Interface Fabrics.
It succeeded in achieving both goals. Since the town acquired the lake and its dam in 2013, the race continues to raise awareness and funds for the MPF’s efforts to preserve the vitality of the pond, which stretches from Sutton to Douglas.
And along with Manchaug Pond, the timed and scored race has thrived. With awards given to the top three racers in each gender category, the race is sponsored by around 25 regional businesses, including King’s Family Campground, a local campground that puts together a team of at least 20 participants.
Phyllis Charpentier, the corresponding secretary for MPF, said the event has become popular with runners from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. “Close to 150 people register in the race, with many bringing family and friends to run or walk with them,” said Ms. Charpentier, who added that it also attracts 30 to 40 volunteers who “make the day happen by serving on the committee, as race day road marshals, handling registration, baking and serving refreshments for the runners, staffing the start and finish line and more.”
This year, the MPF hopes the race will raise $6,000. Ms. Charpentier noted that all race proceeds will go to the lake’s preservation. “Serving as the voice of Manchaug Pond, our united efforts range from advocacy and education to monitoring, testing and action addressing water quality, water level and dam issues, aquatic weeds, watershed conservation, fundraising, grant writing and management, community outreach and more,” she said.
Ms. Charpentier said that many people who participate send notes of gratitude or leave encouraging comments on the MPF’s website. The comments include compliments about how well-organized the race is, how friendly the volunteers are and how scenic the course is. Ms. Charpentier believes the latter of the three is one of the things that makes the race so special.
“The race is held during peak foliage season with Manchaug Pond shoreline offering spectacular color – reds, orange, yellow and green, reflecting off the lake,” she said.
Runners and walkers who would like to register for The Dam Race can do so, for a $15 registration fee per person, at the MPF website, www.manchaugpond.net. Participants who register by Oct. 1 will receive a free T-shirt. Those who would also like to be sponsors (for a donation of $100 or more) will have their names or company names printed on the T-shirts, as long as the sponsorships are also received by Oct. 1.
Participants may also register beginning at 8:30 a.m. the day of the race at the starting line.
To volunteer for the race, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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