The 40th year of Greater Derry Track Club (GDTC) summer fun runs is winding down. But there was no loss of excitement or momentum during the second-to-last night of races at the Pinkerton Academy track Thursday, July 24.
Young runners from Derry were particularly in evidence that evening, with eight youngsters from the host town snagging top-three finishes in their respective age classes.
The superb running weather brought out hundreds of children to the evening’s event, with 73 more children signing up to bring the total registration tally for the 2014 season to 524. And the St. Thomas Food Pantry in Derry benefitted from the fine turnout, with 275 pounds of new contributions of non-perishable food items running the series’ four-week food tally up to 1,184 pounds.
The Derry kids who notched top-three finishes were Cullen McClain (first, 9-year-old boys), Alli Carney, Brooke Johnson, Natalie Hayes (first through third respectively, 9-year-old girls), Owen Umansky and Aaron MacMullin (first and second, boy 10s), Jadyn Smith (third, girl 10s), and Maddy Hayes (first, girl 11s).
One more night of fun runs remains, set for Thursday, July 31. Registration begins at 6 p.m. Water, Gatorade, and watermelon are provided free.
GDTC members lead children in stretching exercises and provide running tips.
Two to 3-year-olds then run 50 meters, 4- to 6-year-olds run 200 meters, 7s and 8s race 300 meters, 9- and 10-year-olds cover 600 meters, and the 11 to 13s run a cross-country mile.
Participants older than 14 run an open mile on the track, and that brings out some local high school runners.
Children have received participation ribbons, supplied by the Derry Recreation Department, each week. Runners who have competed during every night of the 2014 series will receive medals and T-shirts from the GDTC.
For more information on the series, go to gdtc.org.