The race, based out of Greenwood Park, meant something special to just about everyone there. It’s just in it’s first year, and already, it’s drawing a crowd.
“The turnout is tremendous. We have about 600 runners and walkers, we have volunteers everywhere, people coming to donate, it’s phenomenal,” said event co-chair Emily Perkins.
Tony Barrett is a retired Marine living in town, and jumped at the chance to run the race.
“Let me tell you, this was very well run. They had tons of volunteers, everyone had a smile on….even out on the course, there were people cheering for us, in fact we were able to get out best time of the year too,” said runner and retired Marine Barrett.
But for Barrett, and many of the other runners, the race was about more than just numbers.
“I did desert storm and Iraq, and both times, when I was returning, the roads were paved with Vietnam Veterans that ensured that we were going to be treated better. And part of being able to do events like this, i am able to give back to the way those Vietnam Vets game to us,” Barrett adds.
“If they are supporting us, it’s just nice to know we are running for them,” said runner Sam Brock.
And other runners say this was a perfect way to remind the community about Veteran’s Day.
“It really does your heart good, and my heart personally, to see all of these people, family members, and even many people from the neighborhood, from Longmeadow and the western mass community, that may not even know a soldier or service member, but they remember,” said Representative Hank Naughton of Clinton, who ran the race.
Organizers say this is just the start; they hope to make the race an annual tradition.
If you’d like to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project you can do so here: