By Chris Paul
The tenth and final Wason Pond Pounder is just around the corner and is set to offer a fun challenge for both newcomers to obstacle races and veterans who have run the race before.
The final obstacle course race around the Wason Pond Recreational area is set to take place on Saturday, May 12 and according to organizer Maria Veale with the Chester Charitable Foundation, they hope to go out with a bang.
The foundation’s volunteers, most of them Pounder participants themselves.
The fund raising race has taken a few years off due to COVID-19 restrictions, with the last race being run in 2019 and although the original organizers had wished a group would step forward to continue the race after the tenth one is over, they have donated many of the obstacles used over the years to organizations such as the Boy Scouts.
In a statement made by Maria Veale on Facebook recently she expressed her sadness for end of their efforts.
Veale stated, “The year our Board brought this idea to life our daughters were 8- and 10-years old. They have spent every spring since that year knowing that if there’s a Pounder build day, setup day, setup weekend, the week leading into the event, and event day itself, the Pounder took priority over everything else. Meeting nights meant the kitchen was full and loud and they put themselves to bed. They also learned how to use power tools, drag obstacles out of the barn, to paint, carry tires through the woods, and sometimes how to hide in the truck when we were busy enough not to notice they had quit working.
This experience has brought people into our lives – amazing people – that we wouldn’t otherwise have met. The stories we have heard from people who have run the event, brought together by the common goal of finishing an OCR, or to help a friend, to mourn the loss of a friend, to show they are stronger than their illness, or just for the fun of it – these stories are unforgettable and have shaped us.
We have worked tirelessly for the privilege of donating money to other local charities. To surprise someone that’s helping the less fortunate with a big check – and to hear the emotion in their voice, the choking back of tears sometimes – is rewarding beyond description.”
Veal added, “After the tenth time it feels right to retire from this, take a break, and find other ways to give back to the community. We are so grateful for the connections we’ve made, the humanity we’ve seen, the lessons learned, and especially the love and laughter. It’s bittersweet, but it’s time.”
Organizers note that 100 percent of race profits go back into local communities after after the last race is run, the money raised after expenses will be completely used for charitable contributions.
Benefiting in the past have been the Wilcomb Townsend Trust, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of New Hampshire, the Upper Room in Derry, Chester’s American Legion Post, the Boy Scouts, the Mayhew Program, Derry’s Sonshine Soup Kitchen, local food pantries, the Chester Clothes Closet, Daughters of Isabella, Wheelchair Health in Motion, Adaptive Sports Partners, Community Caregivers, the Stephen Arkell Foundation and the Kayla Bertolami Scholarship Fund.
Organizers say the group has good sponsors, allowing them to give back more to local charities, but welcomes more sponsors. They’re also looking for volunteers to help set up and to aid in keeping the event day running smoothly.
The board of volunteers are still looking for help setting up and running the final race, if interested in helping out, go to www.wasonpondpounder.com or call Maria Veale at 867-0132.
The race has a limited number of entrants and with nearly the entrance already signed up, those interested in running should sign up at the website quickly.