2023 Hoppin’ Hodges 5K

Happy Passover! Happy Easter!

Today we were back at the Hoppin’ Hodges 5K, which has been an Easter tradition. It was our 7th time running it since 2011. The first four times that we ran it, it was on the Hop River Trail (rail trail) in Vernon. The last three times, it has still been on the Hop, but in Andover.

Janit Romayko has kept this tradition going. It is a fundraiser in honor of her late husband, James Hodges. The beneficiary of proceeds is usually the Friends of Valley Falls which is one of my favorite local conservation oriented nonprofits. We live on the rail trail in Bolton, so the start/finish line was only 4.5 miles from our front door.

Shepard and I rode over on our bikes. Debbie and Dahlia met us there. They drove in the car. Debbie, Dahlia, and I raced this fun event. Shepard did some running, but he just started track season, so a 5K on the rail trail wasn’t part of his training plan. I did enjoy riding with him to/from the race. We had bright sunshine, but it was chilly at the 9:00 A.M. start.

As usual, we saw some friends. There was a large contingent from the Run 169 Towns Society. It was also great to see Tony Bonanno and Art Byram. They did Art’s traditional Hoppin’ Hodges 50K which involves getting up very early, running 45 kilometers on the rail trail and then finishing with the 5K race. That’s cool.

Speaking of cool, we saw 82 year-old Charles Merlis, who has been a fixture at this race over the years. He also run’s one of the other races that Janit promotes, the Scrooge Scramble. He was a bit late getting to the start today, so Debbie and Dahlia helped him put on his angel wings. You read that right!

After the finish, Charles, who is a very colorful character, plopped himself down on a bench while he fought to catch his breath. He told Shepard and me that “I used to have a death sprint!” Then he said, “Now I have a barely alive jog.” I want to be as active as him when I get to be his age. Keep running Charlie!

Race Results

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