By Carol McCracken (Post # 657)
Outside the weather was miserable, but inside a packed RiRa Irish Pub, everyone was in high spirits as they visited over a pint and talked about the race they just ran in the driving rain. It began near the Ocean Gateway Terminal, proceeded to the Water Treatment Plant and then returned to the Terminal. The lst Brewers’ 5K Holiday Dash was a huge success and Portland Trails and the Toys for Tots program were the beneficiaries.
At one table was a group of six friends, most of whom had run the wet race. Andy McCusker was enjoying a free pint of Geary’s Christmas Ale. “It’s incredible. It’s chocolaty and like the holidays,” he said. “The race was windy, and rainy and really fun,” he said. He and his wife, Diane, who also ran each received a free pint and T-shirt for donating a toy to the Toys for Tots program. She said she considered not running when she saw the weather, but decided it was for a very worthwhile cause. Despite her rain soaked hair and clothes, she looked pretty good considering the experience. At another table, Kathy Bone of the Maine Running Co. sat with a group that she had coached for the race. “We are all winners,” she said. Mary Costigan, a city employee, said, grinning: “The weather looked so great that I decided to put on my number and take a stroll in it all,” she said joking, as she stood outside the Pub that hosted the race.
Meanwhile, Lcpl. Zachary Patterson had finished collecting new and unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots program. Patterson said the Marines collect the toys and distribute them to non-profits such as the Salvation Army and churches. He estimated that this race had generated about 300 toys. Patterson said that the Marines started the program in the late 1940s in Los Angeles. It was so successful the program was continued.
DJ David Skye, who ran the race in 21.o8 minutes. said he thought today’s race was so successful because it’s a “good cause, there’s free beer and it was fun day on a rainy Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Elise Hamel, general manager of the RiRa, Commercial Street, said the restaurant probably had over 500 people in it. “We never expected the turnout to be so large.” Victoria Kelley of 5K Sports Race Management said: “For a first time race, it’s unheard of to have this many turn out. We’ll be back next year!”