Summer Fun Runs Continue in Derry

Now, 38 years into their history, the Greater Derry Track Club’s (GDTC) summer fun runs are still accomplishing all of the goals that were established all those years ago when the runs were started.

Week four of the 2015 fun run season – held at Pinkerton Academy Thursday, July 16 – bears those facts out as 69 new registrants came out to get a good run in, get cheered for by the gathered throngs, and donate non-perishable food items to a local food pantry.

The list of race participants for the 2015 season is now 646 runners long and covers many age categories.

“The Pinkerton track was very active with many children running various distances for green participation ribbons supplied by the Derry Recreation Department,” said fun runs’ co-director Maureen Knepper.

Young athletes from Derry did themselves more than proud, with nine of them tallying top-three finishes in their respective divisions.

Among that crew were age group winners Nathan Donovan in the boys’ 9-year-old class, Jadyn Smith in the 10-year-old girls’ class, Ben Borges among the 12-year-old males, and Jacob Knight among the male open mile runners (time of 7 minutes and 20 seconds).

Second places were bagged by Derry youngsters Alli Convey (10-year-old girls) and Aleksandra Carney (girl 12’s), and thirds were claimed by their fellow town residents Aleah Arguin (girl nines), Natalie Hayes (girl 10’s), and Nick Burke (boy 12’s).

Each week runners donate a non-perishable food item as their registration fee, for the local food bank. The July 16 tally of food donated was 282 pounds, bringing the 2015 donation total up to 1,340 pounds.

Registration takes place at 6 p.m. each Thursday through July 30, races at 6:30 p.m.

Each week, the children are led in stretching exercises and given running tips by Greater Derry Track Club members. Then the 2- and 3-year-olds run 50 meters, 4s to 6s run 200 meters, 7- and 8-year-olds cover 300 meters, 9- and 10-year-old competitors do 600 meters, and the 11 to 13’s run a cross-country mile. Youngsters older than 14 run an open mile on the track, and that race often brings out elite high school runners from the area.

The GDTC has also added a 100-meter adaptive race for individuals with special needs this summer.

Children receive participation ribbons each week that are supplied by the Derry Recreation Department. Water, Gatorade, and watermelon are also supplied each week. Runners who complete the entire weekly series will receive medals and T-shirts from the GDTC.