PEPPERELL -- The second annual Covered Bridge 5K race will be held Sept. 29 to raise money for the Friends of Pepperell Recreation.
Friends of Pepperell Recreation President Sue Boswell said the race raised $6,000 last year and attracted 270 runners. Combined with the funds from this year's race, Boswell said the group plans to use the money to install a walking track around Pepperell Town Field, a goal it has been planning for years.
The Friends group is in the process of meeting with various groups to discuss the walking track, but nothing has been approved yet, according to Boswell.
Boswell said the track would help with the group's mission of promoting an active lifestyle among Pepperell residents.
"Our ultimate goal is a paved walking track around Town Field," Boswell said. "It'll be about one-third of a mile, so as parents are waiting for their kids at the playground or the school, they have an opportunity to promote an active community and family fitness."
Race Director Rob Kosman helped start the 5K last year as a way to showcase the covered bridge and to attract those from surrounding communities to Pepperell.
"It just felt right," Kosman said. "There's a lot of great history in town, great local businesses, a great community, and the covered bridge is a nice feature to attract people."
The entry fee is $25 before Sept. 1, and $30 after. Those who wish to run as a family receive a family discount of $10 off the total fee.
So far, 25 percent of registrants have been families, Kosman said.
Boswell said seeing families run together last year was one of the best parts of the race.
"You see moms pushing strollers, husband-and--wife teams, intergenerational groups," she said. "It's great to see an entire family."
The race will begin at Town Field and continue down Groton Road over the covered bridge, loop through Railroad Square and back to Town Field.
Kosman said he is hoping to meet or exceed last year's registration. As of Aug. 27, about 50 people had registered.
Those who registered by Sept. 1 were guaranteed a T-shirt. After that, the shirts will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category, which include adult men, adult women, boys under 13 and girls under 13. Prizes will also be given to the fastest senior and the fastest Pepperell resident. The race will start at 9 a.m., and Pepperell Auxiliary Police will coordinate the closing of roads as needed.
There will be a Kids Fun Run on the Town Field. The Fun Run will not have an entry fee.
"We're hoping that it will be a nice, fun local thing that everyone can participate in," Kosman said.
He also asked for volunteers to help out leading up to, as well as on the day of, the race.
"A big part of what makes a race like this successful is the volunteers," Kosman said. "We had a great group last year. The local business community has been really supportive."
This year's sponsors include Arch Fitness, Donelan's Markets, JA Sports Apparel, Kimball Fruit Farm, KRM Carpentry, L.F. Robbins Insurance Agency, Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank, Shop Pepperell, Bailey's Bar and Grille, Evans on the Common, Pepperell Family Pharmacy, Janet Cramb and Company Real Estate, Family Tree Daycare and Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce.