Jim Reis: Local Legendary Heroes

Glenn Carstens-Peters/StockSnap

Glenn Carstens-Peters/StockSnap Glenn Carstens-Peters/StockSnap

Published: 03-24-2024 11:17 AM

How fortunate were all the hundreds and hundreds of runners every spring and summer for 36 years straight to have Don and Sue Grant establish and organize the Tuesday night Northampton Community Gardens 5K Cross Country Race Series from April – August/September rain or shine as one of the races sponsored by the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club!

They have decided to pass the torch for most of the work although they still are going to help out. What I remember every time when I run this race was not so much the actual race (except of course that steep hill on the last mile), but the how the two of them cared for and encouraged everyone no matter how fast or slow you were. They appreciated the speedy ones, but always seemed to give an even more heartfelt yell — “boogidy, boogidy” cheer for the kids, and the slower or older runners.

And then there was the race results report. I bet no other race in the whole wide world has what they did. Yes the all-important finish time for us time-obsessed runners was listed, but also the report included: if you broke a personal record, if you were a past winner, for kids if it was your first race, if you set an age record, if you were the first girl or boy under 12, if you were the first man and woman to first over 40, 50, 60, 70, if you were the person with most consecutive races, and if you volunteered to help. And I’m assuming this information was kept tract of on paper not digitally which must have taken hours of work each week.

After each race they also laid out all sorts of snacks and drinks to help runners recover, and enjoy in conversation with their fellow runners. This is another story of some very special people among many others that make this area such a wonderful place to live.

Jim Reis