Go Big or Go home ! Merrimack Valley Striders showed up BIG and took it HOME for veterans in the Run For The Troops 5K race on Sunday, April 28, 2019 in Andover, MA. Runners, walkers, wheel racers, families with strollers and runners with dogs showed up to support veterans and the locally supported charities. There was pageantry on parade as veterans marched in and were honored for their service and then serenaded by The Singing Trooper, Marine Sergeant Daniel Clark.
According to Bill Pennington, the race director, there were over 3000 registered participants and over $75,000 raised from the race and the Friday night community dinner and silent auction. The funds benefit Homes For Our Troops and local beneficiaries that support veteran services including Ironstone Farms, Brides Across America, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and new this year Operation Blue Pride.
Over 120 Striders participated in this event which placed us 4th overall in team standing. Many thanks to team captain, Kelly Yannalfo and her volunteers who bagged and handed out bibs and shirts at the team tent. Several MVS veterans marched in the opening and were given medals at the finish line.
Congratulations to all the Striders and their families (and their dogs) that ran or walked the route and accepted the chip-timed Morton Street Challenge. Special recognition goes out to Alex Smirnou, 9th overall 5K finisher and first Strider to cross the finish in 19:05 and to Paul Yannalfo, 11th overall 5K finisher in 19:12. Honorable mentions to Age Group winners include 1st in AG: Paul Yannalfo, Sharon Johnson, 2nd in AG: Diane Jannetti, Jill Baillargeon, Jeff Burgess, 3rd in AG: Joshua Pelletier, Julia Hsia, Charlie Farrington. The following Striders placed in the 100 top fastest runners in the Morton Challenge : Kalliman Gomes, Valerie Giles, Paul Yannalfo, Alex Smirnou, Chad Pelletier, William Bennett, Aidan Bowler, Andrew Cummings and Ed Porto
Some family photos capture the spirit of this family-friendly and local event that supports a great mission to help veterans. See all photos at 2019 Run for the Troops
Race director Bill Pennington chats with Lou Peters before the race.
Veterans on parade: Leo St.Louis, Bill Hames, Nick Picone
Three generations of runners: Wendy, Chad, Mike and Joshua Pelletier
Call or write and post your results at 2019 SIRS Check In