WESTFIELD – On Oct. 6, Stanley Park will host the Seventh Annual Run Stanley 5k trail run/walk, to benefit the Frank Stanley Beveridge Wildlife Sanctuary.
The race will include a K9 category, a Munchkin Run, and the Stanley Stroll for families, and is grandparent to child friendly, says Race Coordinator Vanessa Diana.
The Munchkin Run, a quarter mile fun run for children 13 and under sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, will take place at 10:30 a.m. The K9 category (human and dog) will start at 11 a.m. on the 5K course, and the 5K run/walk and the Stanley Stroll will start at 11:15 a.m. All runs start and finish at the Children’s Pavilion. Participants will receive a race shirt, and registered dogs will receive a race bandana.
There is also the Stanley Cup School Spirit trophy for the school with the most participation in Run Stanley. Form a team and get friends and family involved. When you register, be sure to enter your school name, said Diana.
Diana said Run Stanley is about enjoying and raising money to care for the 229-acre Frank Stanley Beveridge Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Every year, someone says to me, that’s the first time I went onto those trails,” Diana said. “Part of the point is awareness-building about the trail system.”
According to Stanley Park Marketing Director Hillary McEwan, funds raised will be used for needed work on the trail identified by Conservation Works, LLC, which is working with the park on an environmental plan for the Wildlife Sanctuary.
McEwan said that a lot of the trails are kept up on a regular basis, but there are invasive species and trees that need to be removed. She said they hope to start that work in the spring.
This year is also a special Run Stanley event, because it is the last of the Westfield 350 Run series. This year, all of the different race organizers got together to encourage participation by offering a special Westfield 350 race jacket to people who participated in five events over the course of 2019.
The Westfield 350 race jacket, which is sponsored by Baystate Noble and the Westfield 350 Committee, will be revealed for the first time on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. after the race. Eligible participants can pick up their jackets and be part of a group photo with Westfield 350 Committee President Harry Rock at 12:45 p.m.
Diana said 200 people will be awarded these jackets on Sunday. “It’s become bigger than we thought,” she said. Jacket-eligible participants who can’t attend Sunday may pick up their jackets afterwards at Tierney Insurance.
Diana said she hopes to see a big group on Sunday to come out and support Stanley Park, which is a private non-profit organization, and does not receive any public funding.
There is still time to register for the Run Stanley 5k Run/Walk. Please visit www.stanleypark.org/runstanley to pre-register or for more information.