Published DateGILFORD — Elementary School Guidance Counselor Danielle Bolduc and School Resource Officer Holly Harris are both runners. Each has participated in a number of marathons.
Each woman was also profoundly saddened by the December shootings at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 children and six administrators and teachers dead.
"We both said we have to do something," Bolduc said.
What they decided was to host their own marathon — sort of — on Sunday, April 14. The two determined the distance from Gilford Elementary School to Laconia on a route that would touch by each of the city's three elementary schools (Elm Street, Pleasant Street) and back to GES was 13.2 miles. Two trips around the loop, then, is just slightly longer than a traditional marathon.
Although technically a marathon in distance, their race "is really more of a relay", said Bolduc, noting that people who are participating are typically running one leg of the eight-leg course.
Each mile is dedicated to one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
There will be five buses to shuttle people from one school to another.
They created the 26 by 26 Foundation and all of the money raised will be donated on behalf of the Sandy Hook victims.
The event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Gilford Elementary School on the date that will mark the fourth month anniversary of the shootings. Registration is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Patrick's Pub on April 13, where participants can pickup their registration packets.
The opening ceremony will be attended by some of the relatives of those who died at Sandy Hook and the Laconia Voice Ensemble will be singing.
Bolduc said the marathon idea has been so popular they've had to close down the number of participants. To date, 1,500 people representing 340 teams and 67 school districts throughout New England and New Hampshire have agreed to participate. The school district that raises the most money will get some funds toward school security.
Local volunteers from schools and local police will be staffing eight water and rest stations throughout the course.
Gilford Police Chief Kevin Keenan said he is coordinating traffic with the Laconia Police Department and Assistant Laconia Superintendent Terri Forsten said Superintendents Bob Champlin and Kent Hemingway are working together to coordinate the event at the area schools.
Adams and Keenan said the police departments will be volunteering their assistance for the marathon.
Anyone who wishes to help with the event is encouraged to call Gilford High School Assistance Principal Anthoun Sperazzo at 5254-7146. For a map of the route to the http://goo.gl/maps/gW65X.