Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Races a 40-year tradition

The 40th Anniversary of the Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Races was celebrated on May 17, with the Bedford 12K Championship, the Uncle Sam’s Rockin’ – Walkin’ 5K race, and a running race for children hosted by the Friends of the Bedford Library in conjunction with the Key Club based at Bedford High.

Diversions nearby race central, Bedford High School, abounded, especially for the little ones in the crowd. There was frozen yogurt from TCBY in Bedford, cookies from Harvest Market and the celebrity appearance of two costumed characters from the Party Palace whose impersonations of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa from the movie, “Frozen,” won the hearts of the youngest participants.

The kids, supervised by many volunteers including Rotarian Mary Ann Senatro, along with Cathy Farrell, Lindsey and Karen Rutherford, representing the Bedford Public Library, had a race around the perimeter of the grassy field alongside the town’s pool. Bedford’s Ben Grady, 4, ran like the wind, as did Ellyanna Grochala, 2, and Evangeline Grochala, 3, of Milford. Bedford’s Amylee White, 3, and Cole White, 20 months, sped past dozens of other kids.

The winner of the kids’ race was Sophia Douglas, 8, who flew past the finish line with good form and plenty of energy to spare. She is a student at Peter Woodbury School and enjoys basketball, soccer and softball. Asked what she liked best about the event, Sophia said, “Racing!”

Then, the crowd focused on the 12K, a bit more than seven miles, and the 5K, a bit over three miles. Traffic control by Bedford police safeguarded the athletes as they made their way along residential roads. Bedford Parks and Recreation crews, aboard motorized carts, provided a wealth of assistance to visitors unfamiliar with the area and runners with questions of any sort.

The male and female winners of the 12K, masterfully timed by Granite State Race Services, were Amos Sang, 26, of Indian Orchard, Mass., who ran the course in 37:22. Christine Shaw, 28, of Manchester, took first place female with a time of 45:14. Bedford contenders finishing in fine style within the first 20 places were Jason Porter, J.D. Lavallee, Dan Dipiro, Anders Vikstrom, Kevin Gage and Andrew Wickwire.

Amy Jenkins, a Bedford Rotary board member, said an early morning downpour was a threat that morphed into blue skies and temperatures that were cool enough to be comfortable for all the runners and their guests.

“The runners that came for the 12K were great because it looked like it was going to pour,” Jenkins said. “Then, we got people who came out for the 5K, because the sun came out.”

Other local athletes set high standards and met them. Merrimack athletes were high in the ranks of the 12K with Josh Grayum finishing in the Top 20 as number 17. Merrimack’s Charles Easter also did well, finishing No. 24. Milford’s Raelyn Crowell Coates took a 10th place in the 12K. The fastest contender from Hollis was David Shoots, who came in at 28 out of 143 participants.

Sam Wood, 27, of Laconia, and Julianne Quin, 25, formerly of Bedford and now a resident of Ithaca, N.Y., were the top finishers in the 5K race with times of 17:50 and 17:54, respectively. The races were held this year in memory of those lost and injured in Boston on April 15 of 2013.

Others of local note in the male division of the 5K who are from Bedford and finished in the Top 10 include John Prud’homme, Andrew Gillis, Alexander Heng and James Delahunty. Bedford’s Top 10 women include Jenna Mead, Susan Black, Carly Rinko, Sydney Leyden and Jenna Charlat.

Merrimack athletes placing high in the 5K included Jeffrey Hardgreaves who placed number 4 and Trevor Ward, who came in No. 12, followed by David Haddad, who was No. 31 out of 186 athletes. The hundreds of athletes who attended this year’s races were from dozens of cities and towns, including Florida.

Representation from a host of running clubs, casual running groups and family teams was forthcoming. They included West Track Alumni, Over 200 Horsepower, Team Cassidy, CMC and Compound Warriors.

Online results available from Cool Running at show participants classified by age group. The youngest female age group, age 7 and under in the 5K race, was filled with a trio of young Bedford ladies – Jackie Fanburg, 6, Ava Vikstrom, 7, and Sophie Ling, 7. The sole male, age 7 and under, in the 5K race was A.J. Curran, age 5, also of Bedford.

A medal ceremony, free food and music finished the day. Well thanked by Bill Gere, the race’s director for the 22nd year, Brian Moyer, videographer supreme, Jerry Hanauer, master photographer, and Rotary treasurer, Mark Whitney, president of the Bedford Rotary and all the Rotarians on hand that day was the event’s platinum sponsor, Bank of New Hampshire. Much appreciation went to the event’s gold sponsors Bellewether Community Credit Union, Goedecke Flooring & Design Center and its silver sponsors Primrose School at Bedford Hills, Northeast Delta Dental, State Farm Insurance, Dunkin’ Donuts, CMC Catholic Medical Center, Hannaford and The Union Leader.

Additional kudos went out to the event’s 2014 Bronze sponsors and contributors included Christian Tent Rental, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Coca-Cola, Central Paper, Panera Bread, WGIR and WMUR-TV. The Copper Door, T-Bones and CJ’s, whose chefs were commended for their pasta recipe, one redolent with aromatic spices in a sauce that clung to tender portions of elbow macaroni.

People may have gone home tired after running their choice of races but no one went home hungry. For more information, visit