By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – On Saturday, June 7, 8:30 a.m., the Highland City Striders (HCS) will begin its season with the Spirit of Hudson 6K Road Race and kick off the 28th annual Hudson Community Fest. Proceeds from the race will go to the Hudson-Concord Elks Scholarship Fund for graduates of Hudson, Marlborough and Assabet Valley Regional Technical high schools, and the Advanced Math & Science Academy.
The route was altered from last year's inaugural 5K race and now measures 6K, noted Jim McKenna, HCS president
“There aren's many 6K races, so it's unique,” he said. “This is their opportunity to run it and get a personal best in a 6K.”
Also new this year, the runners will travel on the Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT) for more of the race.
“The Rail Trail takes away the traffic concerns,” McKenna explained. “Plus, it's such a great resource that we have in Hudson and Marlborough.”
The Spirit of Hudson will also include a 1.5-mile walk.
“Some people are interested in supporting the Elks Scholarship Fund and might not necessarily be runners,” McKenna said. “The walk gives more people an opportunity to participate.”
Each runner and walker who finishes will receive a medal in the shape of a “6,” which doubles as a bottle opener.
Even kids ages 2 to 6 can participate in the free Mighty Mite Marathon, which is approximately 26.2 yards. All finishers will receive a commemorative ribbon.
Despite last year's grueling heat wave, the HCS's fundraiser attracted over 300 runners, over 30 walkers and over 40 kids in their mini-marathon.
“We'se trying to make this a family-oriented road race,” McKenna said. “And when everybody is done, we have this fabulous Hudson Community Fest for them. It's really a great day in Hudson.”
HCS first partnered with the Elks from 2009 to 2011 for the School Spirit 5K, which began and ended at the lodge. Since 2009, the HCS's fundraising races have totaled over $23,000 for the Elks Scholarship Fund.
Also, McKenna and other HCS members are among a team that's planning a new fundraiser: the Governor Cellucci Tribute 5K Road Race to be held Saturday, Aug. 2, 9 a.m., beginning and ending at the Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge. Proceeds will go to the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund.
“This is the town where he grew up,” McKenna said. “We'se running this race down the center of Hudson's Main Street. We'se hoping there will be a 1,000 runners there. It will be a fabulous event to honor the former governor, as well as to raise money for ALS research.”
For Spirit of Hudson race and walk registration information, visit highlandcitystriders.org/SpiritofHudson.html. For information about the Hudson Community Fest, visit assabetvalleychamber.org; click “Event Calendar.”
For Cellucci Tribute Race registration information, visit racemenu.com/events/41911-GOVERNOR-CELLUCCI-TRIBUTE-ROAD-RACE-5K.