WESTFIELD – Six years ago, Run Westfield began their annual Flat Fast 5K Run and Walk. This year the event is set to take place on Saturday May 19.
The run, which starts in Westfield State University’s South Lot turns onto Western Ave. and then becomes a straight run eastbound on Western Ave., finally ending at the block party set up on Elm Street in downtown, has become a fundraising opportunity for local charities and organizations.
“As a community, we thought they’d like to have something more personal,” said Janet Larese about the decision to include fundraising aspect of the race 3 years ago. Each team is made up of at least twenty-five people, and after 50 people register for your team, your team can receive more benefits. Teams are given t-shirts for the event specific to their individual charity or organization they’re running or walking for.
Friends of the Westfield 350 have joined in on the run this year. Anyone who is interested in participating in the run can register for the Westfield 350 team. For every person who registers, $5 from their registration fee will go to the charity or cause their team is supporting. In the case of Westfield 350, the money raised will go towards paying for the signature events of the town’s 350th anniversary, like the First Night event scheduled for the upcoming New Year’s Eve.
Vanessa Diana, a professor at Westfield State University and a member of the Westfield 350 committee has already signed up to run on the Westfield 350 team for the Flat Fast 5K. “It’s become a tradition in Westfield, and Westfield 350 is all about celebrating traditions old and new in Westfield,” said Diana.
There are many runs that happen throughout the year in Westfield. Diana, who organizes the Run Stanley race every October at Stanley Park, has created a Westfield 350th Race Series that will begin in 2019. Runners who complete five of the seven runs in 2019 will receive a commemorative jacket with the Westfield 350 logo and the names of the runs on the back.
Races that are participating in the series next year are Gordy’s First Race 5K or 10K on Jan. 1, the Indoor Track All-Comers Meet at WSU on Feb. 10, the Old Colony Marathon and Half-Marathon on May 16, Flat Fast 5K, Westfield Half Marathon/10K/5K on May 18, Empire One Running Club Monday night 3-mile runs at Stanley Park which run from May to September and Run Stanley 5K on Oct. 13.