The pistol will be fired for the 19th annual Walter’s Run, a 5K race on Sunday, both ending and starting at the West Roxbury YMCA.
A free Little Kids Race will take place at 10:40 a.m., followed by the 5K starting at 11 a.m.
Walter’s Run is organized by the Parkway Running Club. The 5K racecourse has been wheel-measured, the first 350 runners receive free running gloves and a swag bag. There's also a raffle, and a postrace feast provided by local merchants, trophies for the top finishers and medals for the top three runners in each age group.
"This event is a holiday tradition for local families," said Keith Shields, race director via press release. "Children look forward to seeing Santa Claus at Walter's Run, as well as Rainbow the Clown, who makes balloon animals for children of all ages."
The Little Kids Race begins is a non-competitive fun run for children ages 10 and younger. All Little Kids Race participants receive a ribbon and candy cane from Santa Claus.
For the third year in a row, Walter’s Run has partnered with Girls on the Run (GOTR), a youth empowerment program. GOTR is a non-profit organization which matches local 8– to 12-year-old girls with running mentors and spends 12 weeks helping the girls prepare to run their first 5K road race. The girls are also taught how to set goals through running. Mentors also work with mentees in a life-skills building curriculum covering topics ranging from body image to community service to the dangers of gossiping.
“We look for races that exemplify community service, as well as fun,” explains Jen McNamara, a coach for GOTR. “Walter’s Run offers a holiday theme and the Parkway Running Club’s dedication to raising funds for local charities shows the girls that engaging in their communities can be both fun and rewarding. We use the race as an opportunity to celebrate the girls’ growth and accomplishments of the season.” This year, it is expected that more than 50 girls will come to Walter’s Run to compete in their first 5K.
Walter’s Run was known as the Santa Scamper, but was renamed in honor of Walter Burgess, who passed away suddenly in 2003 at the age of 40 and was an active member of the Parkway Running Club. Burgess completed 26 marathons as well as the Great Floridian Ironman Triathlon.
Burgess’s favorite charity was Globe Santa, the Boston Globe’s annual program to provide presents during the holiday season for underprivileged children in the Boston area. Thus proceeds from the race go to Globe Santa, as well as the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Reach Out Campaign, which provides financial assistance to families in need so that their children can have access to the YMCA’s programs. Walter's Run also funds a scholarship in honor of Walter Burgess, to send younger runners to a local summer running camp.
Race registration is $20 in advance, $25 on race day. To register or for more information on Walter’s Run visit www.WaltersRun.org or contact Race Director Keith Shields at 617-594-3194 or firstname.lastname@example.org.