The 1st Annual Unified 5k and Fun Run


I’ve already begun writing a post about the process of organizing a 5k and all of the nuances that I learned along the way. This is not that content; but in the chaos of set-up, execution, and clean up, I didn’t have a chance to thank everyone who made the race possible and successful on Saturday. So here we go.

Our corporate sponsors drove a large portion of the money raised; and between these groups and our gym members, we had a great turnout for a first year event with minimal marketing efforts. We are grateful for our sponsors: Adaptive Sports Awareness, Kotlarz Realty Group, Avidia Bank, Hometown Bank, Murphy Insurance Agency, Nationwide Auto Recycling, Nashoba EMS, Reflections Memory Lamps, Rt. 117 Auto Parts, Crawford Trailer Sales, Williams Financial Group, The International Golf Course, Polar Beverages, Davidson Hubeny Brands, Above the Rim Training, Osachuk’s Landscaping Service, H.R. Prescott, and US Sports and Apparel. Raffle items from Sterling National Country Club, Twin Springs Golf Course, Stow Acres Country Club, Wachusett Country Club, the Black Sheep Tavern, Bryan Lyons, Kimball Farms, Clinton’s Bar and Grille, The Country Cupboard, Bushel and Peck, Schartner Farms, Bolton Orchards, Bolton Bean, Hint Water, the Strand, Birdies, Jeremy Fucile, Reflections Memory Lamp, College Consulting Services, PR Running, and baskets from Peggy Anketell, Denise Burroughs, and the Hoyts made for a lot of happy attendees.

Mark Coddaire of Marx Running was instrumental in making sure that everything was ready for race morning. From coning the course to educating myself and our volunteers on the registration process, to making sure the course was properly staffed with volunteers to direct runners; he ensured that everything was logistically sound.

Joel Bates, you are one of the nicest people I know. The amount of time you give up with no return to Emcee and DJ events across the district is astounding. For as long as I can remember, our Best Buddies events have thrived with your presence; and it was no different at our race.

A big thank you to the Lancaster Police who provided officers at the two turns where runners crossed the road. All of our participants were safe because of your help; and to Trooper Pinto from the Massachusetts State Police who provided a motorocycle escort to our lead runners to make sure they could maintain their pace without any hindrance along the course.

Andrew Lynch, who has led our Unified Running Club for the last couple of months, got a lot of people to the starting line with more confidence and in better condition to run the race. I am thankful for your help as a coach but more so as a friend. Additional shout outs to Shannon Myers and Sarah Cosentino who led groups out on our weekly runs.

Becca Pizzi, who was the first person I talked to when I decided to put together the race, provided me with a wealth of information about what was required to make the event safe and successful. Dave Connally, race director of the Baystate Marathon, was also gracious with his time, answering any questions that I had and making sure that I checked all of the necessary boxes. Dan Inglis from Racewire was very helpful over the course of the last couple of months making sure that online registration went smoothly. Sheryl Marrazzo was also a huge help providing her time and resources to help make sure I had everything that I needed. And lastly, Owen Anketell, who ran around to gather items for me the week of the race. Thankful for all of you!

Team Hoyt New England’s involvement meant a lot to me. Being a part of this organization the last few years has been life changing and their involvement in our race made our inclusive efforts that much more special. I never would have imagined that I’d be calling Dick Hoyt a good friend; and I am incredibly appreciative that him and Kathy made the trip out to Lancaster to support our event.

Thank you to Mia Caligaris, who designed our logo to align with the theme of our website and to look great on t-shirts. You are very talented!

There were so many people who helped over the course of the last couple of months. But a big thank you to our race-day volunteers: Bruce Warila, Amanda, Ron, Missie, and Amber Gustafson, Noah Peduzzi, Tina Peduzzi, Peggy and Mark Anketell, Lisa Wallat, Mike Curtin, Matty Johnson, Kyle Champlin, Justin Peirce, Kate Webster, Bodie Aurin, Evan MacDonald, Sam Vanasse, Brendan Alzapiedi, Eli Zeh, Jake Eastman, Mitch Scanlon, Ethan Revell, Kris Henderson, JP Henderson, Tori Lane, Patti Lane, Amy Maki, Erik Maki, Gigi Fay, Julie Fay, Lauren McCarthy, Hank Staake, and our EMT volunteers, Meg Carey, Reid Young, Evan Nelson, and Syd Frend. You made my job Saturday morning exponentially easier and less stressful. And to Ben Myers, who has done so much for the gym over the course of the school year, I am very excited to see the video that you’re able to put together to capture memories of the event.


Lastly, a race is only as good as those who run, ride, roll, and walk it. For an inaugural event, we were very pleased with the turnout and appreciative of the nearly 200 people who came out on a hot Saturday morning to join us. Our population was a true representation of inclusion.

I am already looking forward to next year’s event and will make sure it is bigger and better.