FRAMINGHAM – Every Wednesday during the summer through August 14, the Greater Framingham Running Club held its track and field program at Bowditch Field. The club’s program in conjunction with the Framingham Parks & Recreation Department just completed its 40th season, and shows no signs of stopping.
Chris Chesmore recalls when her late husband, Richard Chesmore, got involved during the beginning stages of the club; it was mostly adult males that liked to run, but somehow it has “morphed into what it is today which is unbelievable and beyond [her] wildest dreams.”
What it is today is numerous families, who spend the night running events on the track, socializing, giving out ribbons and stickers to the kids, and getting some great exercise all for the price of one dollar.
Chesmore said the Club has given out more than 750 numbers this summer, proving just how successful the program continues to be.
Arnie Pollinger, who refers to himself as a “figurehead” rather than a director of the club, points out that the club has become what it is thanks to the incredible volunteers that do so much to keep people happy and things running smoothly.
Whether it be writing down times, handing out ribbons, registering runners, or anything in between, everyone involved is helping continue the 40-year legacy, said Pollinger.
Pollinger said he gets adults that come up to him and say “I started running as a kid here years ago” and now their own kids are following in their footsteps.
The club has gone through generations with hopefully many more to come.
One of the volunteers, Tim Abbott, “joined the club back in 1984” and said the club continues to achieve its mission statement which is to “promote running as a helpful activity in the community.”
People of all ages within the community certainly get good exercise and social time every Wednesday at this club.
Chesmore explained that the Club has a scholarship that is “given out every spring to a graduating runner, who intends to continue running in college.”
The scholarship was originally called the Greater Framingham Running, but has since been renamed to the Rich and Chris Chesmore scholarship.
The track club volunteers ran the program this summer at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Bowditch Field. Events included:
1. 50 Meter- All ages
2. 100 Meter- All ages
3. 1 Mile – 8:00 minutes or faster only please
4. 200 Meter- All ages
5. 800 Meter- All ages
6. 400 Meter- All ages
7. Relay 4x 100 ( time permitting) – All ages
Plus there were field events including a softball throw and standing broad jump- Ages 4-13
Due to staffing and time constraints, only first place finish times are recorded for each heat.
Blue, red or yellow ribbons are awarded to the first three finishers in every running heat as well as to the age-graded division winners in the softball throw and standing broad jump and blue ribbons are awarded to all members of winning relay teams.
The series, which has always been held in Framingham and most frequently at Bowditch Field, was initially conceived in 1980 as an event to help serious adult road runners and track devotees hone their fast twitch muscle fibers through sprint events and shorter distance runs, over the course of a ten-week series of meets, said the running club.
“Over the years, the focus of the meets has shifted from serving as an adult athlete-dominated spectacle to providing an outlet on a weekly basis for more than 200 kids, some as young as two years old, to enjoy the flavor of competition without the demands or pressure of a highly structured athletic competition. While most participants now are of teen age or younger, this all-comers series welcomes participants of all ages and talent including masters track athletes from all over New England,” said the running club.