AYER -- It was yet again another record-breaking year for the 10th Annual Janis Bresnahan Run for Education, held at the Ayer Shirley High School track.
The number of registered 5K race participants exceeded the number of runners from 2013, with 324 runners completing the run through Ayer this year.
For this year's tenth anniversary, the course for the 5K run was reversed. Racers were sent left out of the Ayer Shirley High School track facilities, onto Washington Street. Looping around to Central Avenue and Groton-Harvard Road, racers faced a final incline up Washington Street before entering the track with the finish line in sight.
With cool temperatures and a deep blue sky, this year's Run for Education raised over $30,000 to benefit the Ayer Shirley Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization supported by charitable donations from individuals and businesses. Proceeds came from returning corporate sponsors lead by North Middlesex Savings Bank as the premier sponsor for the tenth year running, as well as the many participants.
There were 515 runners and walkers of all ages in the 5K race, 2K run/walk and Tots Trots. Volunteers came out in high numbers to help with registration, children's activities, directing traffic, grilling hotdogs and hamburgers, running the Tots Trots, and directing racers around the course. Live music performed by "The Nays," a local classic rock band, entertained spectators throughout the day.
As is tradition, Janis Bresnahan's brothers, Kevin and Ben Bresnahan, served as event coordinators, managing the day's activities in their sister's memory in a way that would honor her love of life. Growing up in Ayer as an avid outdoor enthusiast, Janis served as co-captain of the Ayer High School women's track team in her senior year. Following school, Janis went on to dedicate her life and work to the education of children, teaching preschoolers at "Kiddie Depot" and later transitioning into teaching computer education as an enrichment program at several local elementary schools. Her passion for teaching made it an easy choice to remember Janis each year by raising money for the Ayer Shirley Education Foundation.
Kevin Bresnahan remarked, "It was another great day for the Janis Bresnahan Run for Education. The weather was absolutely beautiful, which meant we had a ton of fun outside with the kid activities, games, barbecue and band playing, which really made for a great festive atmosphere. Of course, it was great weather for our runners as well and we had a record number of participants for our 5K run which was great to see. We would like to say thank you to everyone for coming out and participating in our event this year in memory of my sister Janis and to support our schools. Another special thank you to all of our sponsors who make the event such a huge financial success."
President of the Ayer Shirley Education Foundation, Maureen Kilcommins, said, "For the past 10 years our community has come together each May to show its support for our schools and we are so grateful to the participants, sponsors, volunteers and the Bresnahan family. I'm especially pleased to see how many returning runners we have each year. The Janis Bresnahan Run for Education enables the ASEF to fund its grant program so I hope the staff and faculty are thinking about their next great idea!"
This year's 5K race winners from the men's category were Nicholas Rindenello (age 27) of Harvard, who finished with a time of 16:14, Cady Freihofer (age 26), of Ayer, who finished second with a time of 17:16, Tim Gavin (age 38), of Weston, who finished the race in third with a time of 17:33, and 14-year-old Ethan Matthews, of Ayer, who finished fourth with a time of 18:07.
Ying Tao (age 29) completed the 5K course in first-place for the women, and eighth-place overall, with a time of 19:32, Tessa Callahan (age 31), of Wilmington, finished second for the women and 11th overall, with a time of 20:28, Paige Leone, of Ayer, (age 36) finished in third-place for the women, and 14th overall with a time of 21:00 even, and another impressive 14-year-old runner, Riley Korhonen, of Shirley, came in fourth for the women with a time of 22:39 and 28th overall.