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36th Annual Feaster Five Road Race Gives Back $70,000 to the Community

Stephanie Guyotte | Published on 2/25/2024

36th Annual Feaster Five Road Race Gives Back $70,000 to the Community

ANDOVER – The Feaster Five Road Race – a Thanksgiving Day tradition that annually attracts thousands of runners and walkers – is proud to announce that the 2023 event raised $70,000 for local community organizations and non-profits.    

The 36th Annual Feaster Five Road Race was presented by Schneider Electric and hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders running club.  The 2023 race featured 7,500 participants in the 5K, 5 mile and the new Sidney’s Rainbow Run kids run.

At the February 28 monthly meeting of the Merrimack Valley Striders running club, the Feaster Five volunteer run organizing committee will present checks to the race beneficiaries.

        The Feaster Five was proud to support:

-          The Merrimack Valley Striders high school scholarship fund which provides $2,000 scholarships to 11 local student athletes each year.

-          The Merrimack Valley YMCA

- The Sidney Mae Olson Rainbow Fund, created in memory of Sidney Olson, this new fund works to unlock the potential of families through three main areas: safe streets and communities; creative, curious education; and using sports to build resiliency.

-          Bellesini Academy of Lawrence, an independent middle school supporting students of financial need in Lawrence

-          Groundwork Lawrence, a non-profit that provides environmental and open space improvements, fresh food access programs, youth and adult education and employment initiatives, and community programming and events.

Additionally, $10,000 was donated to the Andover Fire Rescue to support the creation of an EMS Bike Team. The bike team, deployed at events including the 2023 Feaster Five, can provide immediate emergency medical response. 

Finally, a contribution was also made to The Hoyt Foundation and the Becca Pizzi Foundation. 

“The Feaster Five is the ultimate community road race event.  We bring together runners and walkers, plus hundreds of volunteers, of all ages to come together for family, fitness and fun, knowing they are giving back to their own communities,” said Robin Condon, Striders’ club president. “Because of this amazing community spirit, we continue to be able to support these important programs and organizations.” 

The Feaster Five started in 1988 with a few hundred runners and over the years has grown into the largest and most recognized Thanksgiving Day race in Massachusetts.

The 36
th annual Feaster Five featured Boston Bruins legend Zdeno Chara as the Official Race Starter. 

More than 400 young runners from toddlers to preteens participated in the kids’ race, renamed Sidney’s Rainbow Run.  Sidney was killed in May 2023 while crossing the street in downtown Andover. The race featured rainbow balloons, confetti cannons, and a special rainbow medal for all runners. 

“Since Sidney was killed in an Andover crosswalk, the whole community has wrapped its arms around us and kept her caring spirit alive by helping others,” said Sideny’s parents Eric Olson and MaryBeth Ellis.  “Seeing hundreds of colorful, smiling children lapping the track on Thanksgiving morning for the Rainbow Run showcased that support - and helped us raise awareness for the road safety crisis in our country. We're deeply grateful to everyone who helped, came out, or donated to support our programs.”

Proceeds from the race, along with additional donations from participants, allowed the Feaster Five to make this significant investment back into the community.  

“Bellesini Academy is grateful for its partnership with the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race and the Merrimack Valley Striders since 2013,” said Julie DiFilippo, Head of School. “Our participation as a race beneficiary has been a wonderful blessing to our school and the young men and women we serve in Lawrence. The Feaster Five is a one-of-a-kind event that brings people together to celebrate fitness, family and community, and make a difference in the lives of those served by the race beneficiaries. It’s an honor for our school community to support the race at the water stop each year, and our students and their families love supporting the runners and cheering them on their way to the finish line. Our participation in the race is a highlight of our school year.”

“The Merrimack Valley YMCA is proud to be a beneficiary and partner of the Feaster Five,” said Claudia Soo Hoo, chief operating officer at the Y.  “The race aligns perfectly with our three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  The generous donations go directly to helping people reach their full potential through scholarships and financial assistance, programs and services, and so much more.  The impact and legacy of the Feaster Five is felt throughout the Y and the community.”

The Feaster Five is managed by DMSE Sports, led by race director Dave McGillivray, the longtime race director for the Boston Marathon.

In addition to presenting sponsor Schneider Electric, the volunteer-led Feaster Five is supported by Whirlaway Sports; Run Keeper; On Running; 6K Inc.;
St. John’s Prep, Hastings, Jamieson, Lipschutz Family Law Group; Salem Five; LaRosa’s and LaFina Restaurants; M&T Bank; Pentucket Bank; Eastern Bank; Cedar’s Foods; Deluca Chevrolet; Off Season Sports; Costa Fruit and Produce; Andover Landing; Burton’s Grill; Coca Cola; and R.C. Lafond Insurance Agency.

Planning for the 37th annual Feaster Five is already underway! Race day is Thursday, November 28, 2024. Registration will open in July. Visit for event details.

About the Feaster Five Road Race

The Feaster Five Road Race is the largest Thanksgiving Day road race in Massachusetts. Since 1988, the Feaster Five has drawn tens of thousands of participants annually who take part in the 5k or 5 miler walk/run. This race brings together the community and beyond for a fun filled morning of running miles and consuming plenty of pie. It is a longstanding tradition of many families to participate in the race each year. The Feaster Five Road Race is hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders, a 400+ member running organization founded in 1979. Proceeds from the race benefit the Striders’ high school scholarship fund, local charities, and initiatives in the surrounding communities.


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