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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the eastern bank flutie 5k road race – new venue, same great race, same great cause.

The Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race – New venue, same great race, same great cause.
Join Doug Flutie, his friends and family, and some 1,500 other participants on Oct. 14th in Natick for this super event.

The Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race – New venue, same great race, same great cause.

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By Christopher Russell
Posted Monday, 27 August, 2007

This is the 8th successful year for this well-attended, popular, annual local event. This year the organizers are making some changes, but the essence of the race stays the same. It is still a wonderful family-friendly event for a great cause – The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism – with the support and participation of local sports legend Doug Flutie and his family.

The start and finish is moving to the Natick High School. Previous races have been held at the Lookout Farm in Natick. Natick High football coach Tom Lamb, who used to coach Doug, helped arrange for use of the high school when the farm wasn’t available for this year’s race.

There is also a change in the date. The race traditionally took place in the May but will be run on Sunday, October 14th this year. With the new venue will come a newly designed course as well. Don’t worry – the essence of this fantastic family event with a local flavor will stay the same!

As with previous years the event aims to raise both funds and awareness for autism. As a parent of an autistic child and a local sports celebrity, Doug Flutie has a unique opportunity to lend his ‘star power’ to the race.

The event itself is a well-organized 5k with a family- friendly theme. Around 1,500 participants are expected this year. Runner’s World rated the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race as “one of the top New England 5k’s”

The participants range from serious runners to moms pushing strollers. One of the great things about the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race is that it successfully combines an athletic race with a family inclusive event.

Fans of the race love the big cookout afterwards where all the participants can get together and have fun. There are drinks and food for everyone. The kids get hamburgers and hot dogs. There are games, fun and food. Everyone has a blast. All this is available for you at the reasonable price of a $20 race fee! Have some fun, enjoy good food, and help a great cause.

An interesting anecdote that the organizers tell is how loudly and forcefully the fans of this race complained the one-year that the event was not held. It seems families have built the event into their social calendar. They look forward to it like that any other yearly family outing. It’s an opportunity for them to do something together – that in turn brings them together.

Don’t be shy. Drag everyone out to Natick high school. Get Mom, Dad, Sis and Little Bro. Round up the whole crew and join the celebration. Find out what the buzz is about. Join Doug and his family at the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race.

In Support of Autism and Autism Awareness
Doug Flutie and his wife Laurie received the diagnosis that their 3-year-old son Doug Flutie, Jr. had a form of autism in 1994. The Fluties founded Dougie’s Team and the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism to not only help raise awareness but also to help other families that may not have the resources.

What is autism? Autism is a developmental disability that is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. Autism impacts development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.

Autism is common. The Center for Disease Control estimated in 2007 that 1 in 150 children are born with some form of autism. This roughly translates to as many as 1.5 million Americans today with some form of autism.

What causes Autism? The experts don’t have a clear answer. Some point to hereditary and others to environmental factors. Regardless of the cause it is clear that many of your friends and neighbors have autistic family members. These are the people the road race and the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation strive to help.

Proceeds from the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race go to the Doug Flutie Jr Foundation for Autism. The mission of this organization is to aid financially disadvantaged families who need assistance in caring for their children with autism; to fund education and research into the causes and consequences of childhood autism; and to serve as a clearinghouse and communications center for new programs and services developed for individuals with autism.

The race has raised over $200,000 for local programs and families since its inception, and the foundation has provided over $5,000,000 in grants since 1998. The foundation is different than many in that it is not focused on research or treatment per se. It provides money and resources to local organizations and families to help them get access to programs that they might otherwise not have access to.

Some examples of programs that benefit are an adaptive water sports program, a computer distribution program, conference support through parent scholarships, and legislative advocacy. Through these and many other channels the foundation strives to make a positive difference in the lives of families coping with autism.

The process and impact is best summarized by one parent who, after having a child participate in a summer camp program in Hadley wrote, “Thank you for making a difference in our lives…”

Run with the local football legend Doug Flutie!
Doug moved to Natick with his family when he was 13 and has settled back in town since his retirement from pro football last year. He is an unassuming local guy who you can see around town.

Here’s my Doug Flutie story. (Everyone has one) Mine happened when I was running the Boston Marathon. My wife was supposed to meet me in Natick, because that’s where her sister lives and I figured it was around 6-9 miles on the course and she could hand me a bottle. I had a great race that year and set my PR.

I met my wife and kids in Natick, on the course, and got a great boost from my own personal cheering section. They met me later at a hotel in town. All my wife wanted to talk about was how she met Doug Flutie while she was waiting for me to run by! I was chopped liver!

There’s something about Doug that sets him apart. He’s always been a winner. New England sports fans will always remember the ‘Hail Mary’ pass to his roommate Gerard Phelan against Miami Thanksgiving Day 1984. On the game's last play, with BC trailing by four, Flutie gunned the ball 64 yards into the end zone to his roommate, Gerard Phelan, for a 47-45 victory and cemented himself as a local legend.

Doug was the Heisman Trophy winner that year and went on to play in three pro football leagues, the USFL the CFL and the NFL. On the larger fields of the Canadian Football League, Doug won multiple Grey Cups (championships) before returning to the NFL for Buffalo, San Diego and New England. His final season was last year in 2006 as a backup to our own Tom Brady at the New England Patriots.

Look for Doug this year as an analyst for ESPN/ABC college sports coverage.

Doug lends his name and runs the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race. If you want to run with him you may have to train. True to his athletic nature he runs a pretty good mid-packer pace between 6-8 minutes per mile. This is after having all those huge defensive linemen sit on him for 20 years!

The New Course
The new course has been designed a this year to start and finish at Natick High. It runs through Natick center and is fairly flat and friendly.

The old course record was set by Roland Lavallee with a 15:22 at 4:57 per mile. That record will last but there will be a new one this year with the new course. Close to 1,000 runners finished the course last year with a good mix of abilities. There were some fast folks – 80 broke the 7-minute mile mark –and lots of families. Everyone had a great time.

Come join Doug, join the fun and help the cause!
If you want to have a great time... If you want to help make a difference... If you want to meet a local legend… Come on down to Natick October 14th for the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race.

Bring your family, run with Doug’s family, and help needful families, all while having a great time and doing something healthy. Make the Eastern Bank Flutie 5k Road Race a yearly family event on your calendar this fall.



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