Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter 5K and 10K Run for Food and Shelter: Two New Courses, Same Great Cause
They have set up all new USATF-certified courses starting from an all new venue, Rivier College in south Nashua, New Hampshire; these Run for Food and Shelter races will get your spring racing off to a great start—and support a very important cause. They also have a 3K walk and Kids’ Sprint so there is something for everyone.
Posted Friday, 1 April, 2011
A few things have changed with the 18th annual Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter Run for Food and Shelter on Sunday, April 10th, but one thing stays the same—this is one superb event that helps thousands of people in need throughout the Greater Nashua region. This year, it boasts two new race courses and a new starting location.
It’s been a tough winter for everyone in New England. Low temperatures and mounting snow piles have kept many runners chained to their treadmills, logging mile after endless mile on the human hamster wheel. Spring brings a sigh of relief to all New England runners, with visions of clear roads and gloveless runs, sunshine and spring time, although we all know it is New England weather and running is an all-weather sport.
But thousands of families in the area have dealt with much more serious concerns this winter—rising costs for home heating fuel, gas and groceries, to name a few. And these worries don’t go away with the arrival of spring. The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter (NSK&S) has been seeing a large increase in the number of people coming to them for meals, as with many similar organizations. Needs are great. In December 2010, the number of meals served was up 56% over the previous year, said Lisa Christie, executive director of the shelter and race organizer for every one of the 18 years. January numbers increased 43% year-over-year.
The NSK&S fills about 30 beds per night and feeds anywhere from 150 to 200 people a day for breakfast and dinner. The organization also gives out grocery bags containing fresh local produce Monday through Saturday. “Food bag handouts have also doubled over the last year,” said Christie. Other services include community advocacy, employment/education programs, assistance in locating affordable housing, rent and fuel assistance as well as transitional and permanent housing. It is a big job, a demanding job; and what better way to help fund these programs than a true community pair of races.
While these numbers are staggering, there is a way for runners to help by simply doing what they love. The Run for Food and Shelter 5K and 10K races are one of the top fundraising events for the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. So lace up those running shoes and get ready to help make a difference as you run for good—and in a new location. Not only that, these are very enjoyable events and the post race food is terrific!
Set a New PR or a New Course Record
Another change on the list involves the courses themselves. The starting point for Run for Food and Shelter has moved to Rivier College’s Muldoon Fitness Center, located at 420 South Main Street in Nashua, which is easy to get to from the north and south, has ample onsite parking and plenty of room for pre-race stretching, socializing and strategizing.
Both the 5K and 10K courses are new, of course, so this is your chance to get your name in the record books and set a course record! Now in its fourth year (added to the annual 5K original in 2008), the USATF-certified 10K race starts at 1:00 p.m. on South Main St., just across the road from the fitness center. Runners head out on South Main Street for just over a mile, and then turn onto Clairmoor Drive, for some low-traffic miles through residential streets. The course turns back onto South Main Street at about 2.5 miles and then onto Fairway Street—just before Rivier College-again. Travel a few more miles through another residential section before turning back onto Main Street at mile 5 for that final 1.2-mile push to the finish. A small incline in the last mile will challenge you and force you to dig deeper for a strong and satisfying finish.
The 18th annual 5K race starts at 1:10 p.m. and heads off in the same direction as the 10K course. At 3 miles, runners take a right onto Fairway, then a quick left to cross the finish line in the fitness center lot. The 3K walk also starts at 1:10; walkers line up behind 5K runners.
Both races are chip-timed using the disposable ChronoTrack B chip, which is attached to the back of your race number (keep that bib number as a souvenir of the new course). The top 3 overall finishers for both 5K and 10K races will receive very special custom-designed medals, as will top male and female police officers. Top 3 male and female finishers in each 10-year age group and youth group will also receive a special locally made medal in both races. There are five youth categories, including 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, and 18-19.
Don’t forget those future track stars! Race day festivities include a Kids Sprint at 12:30 p.m., which is sponsored by the Nashua Police Patrolmen’s Association. In the kids’ race, everyone is Number 1—and all finishers are rewarded for their efforts with a unique gift.
Act now to take advantage of lower entry fees. Online and mail-in pre-registration for adults for all three races is $25; costs go up to $30 after 3/28/2011. New in 2011, students get a price break, with fees held low at $10 for all races until 3/28/2011, and $15 thereafter. The first 300 entries receive a commemorative technical T-shirt. Registration for the Kid’s Sprint is $5 for age 9 and under. Get your application in now—register at http://www.active.com/running/nashua-nh/nashua-soup-kitchen-and-shelter-run-for-food-and-shelter-2011.
Doing Good in So Many Ways
To say that the Run for Food and Shelter has a strong history in the New Hampshire running circuit is a huge understatement. When the NSK&S created this race, in conjunction with the Nashua YWCA, as a woman’s-only run back in 1993 it was one of only a handful of women’s races in the region. In 1995, the NSK&S began its new tradition, opening the 5K race up to female and male runners and walkers of all abilities and moving it to April.
In 2008, to commemorate the race’s 15th anniversary, organizers added a 10K race to the mix to add a greater challenge and draw more serious runners. “We were looking to attract more runners to the event,” said Christie. “There are so many 5Ks, but there aren't a lot of 10K races in New Hampshire, and especially in Nashua.” Hundreds of runners now use the 10K race has a great spring tune-up race for the coming and inevitably busy racing season.
The Run for Food and Shelter is also the first certified green race in New Hampshire by ReSport Certification. This means that organizers make every effort to reduce the carbon footprint overall and recycle as much as possible. Participants have the chance to opt-out of receiving a race t-shirt, there are no race bags and the disposable race numbers are recyclable.
In addition, all food and dinner ware served during and after the race is compostable. But since this event is known for having some of the best post-race food in the area, leftovers may not be an issue. The post-race party, which takes place at the Muldoon Fitness Center, features a spread of sandwiches, cookies, yogurt, bread, fruits and other baked goods. The NSK&S is known for providing good nutritious food, and race day will be no exception.
So if you’re looking for something that involves the whole family, look no further for your season springboard. The crowd support, well-managed traffic control, great race-day organization, and stocked post-race feast make this event perfect for first-time racers and walkers. And the Kids’ Sprint allows everyone to feel like a world-class racer. All participants are encouraged to obtain sponsors and raise pledge money. Everyone who turns in $125 in pledge money on race day will receive a $10 gift certificate to a local restaurant. Everyone who turns in $150 in pledge money on race day will receive a $10 gift certificate to a local restaurant. I can't think of a better way to kick of the 2011 race season and raise funds for a valuable cause! Visit www.nsks.org and sign up today.