By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Organizers are taking online reservations in preparation for the second annual "Run To Remember" run/walk, to take place on Memorial Day, May 29, in Gilford Village.
Scott Hodsdon, executive director of the Gilford Youth Center, which is co-sponsoring the event with the Gilford High School National Honor Society, said this year's race will include a Kids' 1K Walk, with each participant receiving a T-shirt, and all who complete the route will receive a medal.
"We wanted to give all family members a chance to take part," Hodsdon said.
Gilford's first Run To Remember 5K race, last year, raised more than $1,000, according to Hodsdon.
"Members of the National Honor Society met with us to discuss doing a community service event that would benefit a local charity," Hodsdon said. "The Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving has been such a success, we thought, with the nice weather in the spring, a race would be a nice addition to the Memorial Day parade and church service."
The Gilford Rotary Club, which Hodsdon said has a good relationship with the youth center, regularly invites the center to talk about what is happening there, and they discussed the idea of a race that would benefit the Wounded Warriors organization that serves disabled veterans.
"Members of the Rotary suggested Camp Resilience, instead, and being a local charity, right away, everyone was on board to help out this group," Hodsdon said.
Operated by the Patriot Leadership Group in Gilford, Camp Resilience provides activities, including sports and life skills training, to veterans recovering from physical and mental wounds. By arranging housing for the veterans in the Lakes Region, Camp Resilience provides a pleasant setting for the programs aimed at supporting those with serious injuries, including amputations, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.
Close to 100 people participated in the first-year race, with veterans from Camp Resilience and other vets invited to greet the runners at the finish line. Race participants also received American flags to hold as they crossed the finish line, Hodsdon said.
"It's a good event to honor our heroes," he said, "and we're looking forward to doing it again."
The registered 5K course starts and ends in front of the Gilford Community Church on Potter Hill Road and follows what is considered a relatively flat course. The youth center awards medals to the top male and female runners, as well as the top three in the Kids' 1K. Every participant will receive a T-shirt.
Those wishing to honor those in the military have an opportunity to have their names included on the back of the T-shirts by filling out an online form. Reservations to participate also are online at http://www.gilfordyouthcenter.com/memorial-day-5k.html, and participants will be able to register on the date of the race, beginning at 8 a.m.
Hodsdon said the youth center wants to make the event affordable for everyone, so it offers a family rate for multiple participants.
Walkers will start at 8:45 a.m., and runners at 9 a.m., with Gilford's Memorial Day parade following the race. As they did last year, organizers invite local veterans to participate or to stand at the finish line, at the Honored Veterans Tent.
Members of the National Honor Society will guide the young participants, and parents are welcome to run with their children.
Running sprint from the starting line at last year's Memorial Day race in Gilford. (Courtesy photo)
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