By Hannah Chetkowski
Saturday, Oct. 30 marks the third annual Firefighter Verne E. Roy Memorial 5K Road Race, and organizers hope lots of Fitchburg State University students will join in.
The race will start at 10 a.m. for walkers and 11 a.m. for runners. It will start and finish at the Fitchburg Fire Department Headquarters on 33 North St.
Residents of Fitchburg and the surrounding towns come together to run this 3.1-mile race, which goes down North Street, continues on John Fitch Highway, and finishes through the neighborhoods around Fitchburg State University.
Firefighters Patrick Roy and Kevin Casey, who started the race, said that last year they had around 250 participants. Theyare hoping to increase that number this year, and said that Fitchburg State University students are highly encouraged to participate and get involved with their surrounding community. “Students that want to run or walk for a good cause are more than welcome and we would love to have them,” says Roy.
Roy and Casey took over the Firefighters Relief Association in 2006. Patrick Roy said, “We were trying to come up with ideas on what we could do to raise money and also give back to the community.”
The race was named after Patrick Roy’s grandfather, Verne E. Roy, who was a decorated Marine, president of the Firefighters Relief Association, and a Fitchburg firefighter for 40 years. “One of his main goals as a firefighter was to give back to the community, and we felt the race should be named in his honor,” Patrick Roy said.
The cost to run or walk is $20, and every year the proceeds go to a different charity chosen by the Fitchburg Fire Department. “Last year we donated to the Lucky 13 Foundation, which helps fund stem-cell research,” Roy said.
This year the money raised from the race will go to the Shine Initiative, a foundation that helps children and young adults, 17-29 years old, with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Online sign-ups will be accepted until midnight on Oct. 27 at www.fitchburgfire5k.com. Participants can also sign up on race day and are encouraged to arrive around 8:30 a.m.