Virtual Run Stanley benefits wildlife sanctuary

WESTFIELD – There have been many cancellations due to COVID-19 this year, but one annual event – Run Stanley – is still on, with modifications.

Karin George and her wire-haired Pointing Griffon “Hudson” are followed by Manny Sardinha and his Portugese Water Dog “Hunter” during a past Run Stanley fundraiser. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

The run/walk, which raises funds for the Frank Stanley Beveridge Wildlife Sanctuary at Stanley Park, is usually hosted in one day, but this year is taking place all month long so that participants can be socially distant.

“Run Stanley was started eight years ago as a fun run for the entire family,” said Stanley Park Development and Event Coordinator Hillary McEwan. “We’ve seen so many people enjoying the Wildlife Sanctuary and families enjoying the entire park, that we wanted to continue Run Stanley this year for the loyal participants who run and walk every year and as a way for families to be active together.”

Run Stanley has gone virtual this year, with participants encouraged to run or walk a 5k, take a stroll of any distance at any location and participate at their own pace.

“We are encouraging our Run Stanley Virtual participants to do their run or walk during the month of September, to enjoy the Sanctuary as the weather cools and the trees start to turn color,” states the park website.

Since 2012, Run Stanley has raised funds to replace two bridges in the Sanctuary, one that washed away and another that was damaged; for new trail markers on the Sanctuary trails making it safer for people to enjoy the Sanctuary; and for regular maintenance to ensure trails are safe and clear for patrons.

Run Stanley is a family-friendly event that normally starts with the ¾ mile Munchkin Run around the athletic fields and culminates in the 5k run or walk through the Wildlife Sanctuary with or without participants’ furry dog friends. In recent years, the Stanley Stroll, a one-mile stroll through the upper parts of the park, was added.

Participants are asked to take a picture of themselves during their Virtual Run Stanley and post it on the Run Stanley Facebook page, or post a favorite picture from a past Run Stanley.

There is usually a registration fee associated with this event, however, McEwan said because this a difficult time for many, no registration fee will be charged. Donations to support the Sanctuary are gladly accepted.

To donate, click the “Support” button at stanleypark.org, choose “donate today” and enter “Sanctuary” or “Run Stanley” in the notes.

To send your donation via mail, print out the donation form and mail it to: Stanley Park, Development Office, 400 Western Ave., PO Box 1191, Westfield, MA 01085.

All Run Stanley gifts will be earmarked for the Sanctuary.


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