Lawrence Sons of Italy Races: Honoring our Armed Forces & Veterans
Are you looking for a great way to celebrate Independence Day? How about running a race or doing a walk that honors our service men and women in a historical city that has a reputation for welcoming runners? If that sounds inviting then the Lawrence Sons of Italy 18th Annual Road Races are for you!
Posted Wednesday, 13 June, 2007
A Quick History Lesson
In March of 1912 the labor strike known as the "Bread and Roses Strike"
took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts. A state law had reduced the work week
from 56 hours to 54 hours, so mill bosses found a way to make up for lost revenue.
They sped up the looms and cut the workers weekly wage of $6 per week. This
led to first U.S. strike led by women as 23,000 workers emptied the mills of
Lawrence. These strikers are credited with inventing the moving picket line.
They did this so that they would not be arrested for loitering. On July 4th
of this year another moving line will be passing through Lawrence. However this
time it will be comprised of hundreds of runners as we celebrate the many freedoms
we now enjoy thanks to those who made it all possible.
"The event is an opportunity for us to honor the men and women of the armed forces and our veterans." Marshall McCloskey
The Races and 5K Health Walk
For the eighteenth consecutive year the Lawrence Sons of Italy will be hosting
their 5-kilometer and 5-mile road races, but for the first time it will on July
4th. Previously the race was held in August and October, but when the annual
July fourth race in North Andover was cancelled the date became available so
the race committee decided to fill the void.
"The event is an opportunity for us to honor the men and women of the
armed forces and our veterans," says race director Marshall McCloskey. All
participants who run or walk representing a member of the armed forces will receive a certificate
with both the runner's and service men or women's names on them. "We even
plan on having a color printer on race site to print certificates for those
who register on race day," says McCloskey. "It's a great opportunity to
honor the men and women who valiantly have served or are serving our country."
Families are encouraged to bring their youngsters to participate in a 1K youth race starting at 8:00 am, one-half hour before the adult races. Medals will be awarded to the first 3 finishers in 2 year age groups, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14. All youth race entrants will receive a ribbon indicating their participation.
Take a Look at Lawrence
These days Lawrence is experiencing a renaissance. Many of its sprawling mill
buildings along the mighty Merrimack River are being converted to condominiums,
restaurants and retail space and are again coming alive. This is attracting
professionals who have been priced out of the higher housing market of Greater
Boston. With its convenient commuter rail, easy highway access and close proximity
to the ocean Lawrence is a community on the rise.
However this renaissance is not limited to real estate; the running community
of Lawrence has also come alive over the past few years. The famed
Mill Cities Relay now finishes in downtown Lawrence and the highly popular Claddagh Pub race
has become the largest St. Pats race in the Merrimack Valley. These events follow in the
tradition of Lawrence's great races of the past like the Lawrence to the Sea
Marathon held in the forties and the Lawrence Eagle Tribune 10-mile race of
One of the reasons for this running renaissance is the friendly environment
created for runners in Lawrence. The police and city officials welcome road
racing with open arms. Lawrence likes runners and they would like nothing better
than for you to take a 3.1-mile or a 5-mile look at Lawrence on July 4th.
Easy to Reach
All the race day festivities will take place from the Sons of Italy Lodge located
at 155 Marston St in Lawrence. The hall is easily accessible from Route 495
(Exit 46 from the North or Exit 44-45 from the south). Lawrence is about a 30-minute
car ride from Boston. From the seacoast it will take you about 20-minutes and
Southern New Hampshire is just a few minutes away.
Parking is free and within a short walk of the Lodge. There will be volunteers
directing you to parking areas. It is recommended to come early for the best
All of the race courses will be run within the city limits of Lawrence and
will be expertly managed by members of the Merrimack Valley Striders. "Both
the 5-kilometer and 5-mile race contain one good size hill," explains McCloskey.
"But both races finish on a long downhill."
Awards will be presented to the first three finishers overall in 5-kilometer
and 5-mile races and in the following age groups: 18 and under, 19-29, 30-39,
40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70+. The first place male and female finishers in both
races will receive cash prizes. The current five mile record holders are Craig
Fram (25:43) of Plaistow, NH and Melissa Donais (30:43) of Bradford, MA. The
5-kilometer record holders are Frank Row (18:25) of Reading, MA and Peggy Gioioso
(20:49) of Methuen, MA.
For the 5-kilometer race and the 5-mile race t-shirts will be awarded to the
first 300 to enter. Chip timing will be supplied by Yankee Timing Company. Following
the race the Sons of Italy will host a pasta feed free to all entrants.
The proceeds to the race will benefit both the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center
of Haverhill and Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Lawrence. The mission of
the Veteran's Outreach Center is to provide services to assist, support and
advocate for Veterans and their families (please see: http://www.northeastveterans.org/).
The mission of the Big Brother Big Sister organization is to make a positive
difference in the lives of children and youth (please see http://www.volunteermatch.org/orgs/org14819.html).
About 500-1000 runners are expected for both races so plenty of volunteers will
be needed. Duties will range from assisting with parking, traffic control along
the course, helping at water stations or assisting at the finish. Any businesses that could contribute food items in addition to the planned meal would be greatly appreciated. The event could use bagels, bananas, oranges, bottled water, soda, etc. If you are
interested in helping out and supporting the associated charities, please contact
Marshall McCloskey at firstname.lastname@example.org
An Event for the Entire Family
Race day festivities offer an opportunity for all family members to participate.
There will be a 5K health walk for those looking for a more leisurely pace.
The first 50 to sign-up will receive a t-shirt. The walk will begin at 8:15
AM. In addition to the walk, a 1K (.62 mile) youth run will be held at 8:00
AM. The first three finishers will receive medals and all finishers will receive