Inaugural Halfway 5K draws nearly 1,400 runnersBy Mike Berger
Raises $25,000 for Cops for Kids with Cancer
Sunday morning offered ideal running conditions with perfect weather and clear blue skies as nearly 1,400 participants of all ages turned out at the Village Shoppes to run, walk, or jog the first-ever Halfway 5K Road Race, including some with baby strollers and dogs in tow.
The race netted over $25,000 for Cops for Kids with Cancer, a local charity headed by Canton Police Lieutenant Helena Findlen. The group distributes financial grants to the families of young cancer patients in the greater Boston area.
In accepting the $25,000 check for the organization after the race, Lt. Findlen said, “Ironically, this was held at the Village Shoppes mall because it does take a village to help fight cancer.” Findlen said she appreciated all of the community support for this event.
Halfway Cafe owner John Grasso said the original goal was to get between 200 and 400 runners and raise $10,000. Instead, he got a turnout that was nearly four times greater and raised more than twice as much as he had hoped. He thanked the Canton community, the Police Department, and all the runners who participated in the event.
Both Grasso and Canton Halfway General Manager Tom Cahillane were asked why they chose Canton to host their road race despite having restaurants in six area communities.
“Everything we asked, we never heard a no,” said Grasso. “They are a great community to work with.”
“The Halfway Cafe has been here in Canton for seven years, and we have a great relationship with the town,” added Cahillane. “They are so easy to work with. Just like John said, they never said no. They did say, ‘How can we help you?’”
Besides the race, the event included a variety of activities for the spectators. The back of the mall was full of vendor booths and tents, food and drink, and live music. Photographers took family and group photos for free, and the pictures have been posted on the race website at halfway5k.com.
The 3.1-mile race started and finished at the Halfway Cafe, located at the eastern end of the mall, with runners exiting the parking lot, traveling down Washington Street to Dunbar, Messenger and Bailey Streets before turning around at the Canton Town Club and heading back along the same route.
Cahillane said the Halfway Cafe plans to make the 5K an annual event, with the next race set for the second Sunday in June 2013.
The race drew runners from all over greater Boston. Many of the younger runners were Canton High students, including several members of the cross country and track programs.
The winner of the race was AJ Kastanotis of Canton, and the first woman finisher was Erin Lopez of Norwood. Ironically, the two had run track and cross country together at Fairfield University and had not seen each other since college. Both said they enjoyed the race course and will likely return for next year’s race. They had learned of the race from seeing the banners around town, and both also frequent the Canton Halfway Cafe.
Halfway 5K Race Results
Men 18 & Over
1. AJ Kastanotis, Canton (16:39) 2. Eric Greenspan, Sharon (17:14) 3. Gavin Goldstein, Dix Hills, NH (17:43) 4. Jacob Berman, Sharon (17:51) 5. Richard Hemingway, West Bridgewater (18:01) 6. Daniel Luciani, Oakton, VA (18:32) 7. Nikita Amelchenko, Canton (18:33) 8. Darron Young, Columbia, MO (18:37) 9. John Drewniak, Plymouth (18:59) 10. Ivan Grabowski, Westwood (19:11)
Women 18 & Over
1. Erin Lopez, Norwood (18:30) 2. Jacqueline Pierce, Stoughton (18:51) 3. Jen Merlin, Hanson (19:22) 4. Kirsten Davis, Brighton (20:06) 5. Molly Alesch, Randolph (20:57) 6. Leann Pacheco, Stoughton (21:06) 7. Una Corrigan, Walpole (21:17) 8. Melissa Gawron, Brookline (21:25) 9. Andrea Widberg, Canton (21:50) 10. Sara Lupica, North Easton (21:54)
Male 17 & Under
1. Nathan Pemberton, Holbrook (18:02) 2. Jake Rogers, Taunton (18:40) 3. Jake Fruci, Canton (19:15) 4. Timmy Gutowski, Canton (19:33) 5. Will Elliott, Norwell (20:32) 6. Joe Sabbatino, Canton (20:23) 7. Luke Bilodeau, Taunton (20:47) 8. Mike Rota, Canton (20:53) 9. Cole Rogers, Taunton (21:07) 10. Craig Mills, Canton (21:30)
Female 17 & Under
1. Kate McClintock, Canton (24:03) 2. Mary Lennon, Canton (24:23) 3. Michaela Kelly, Canton (24:59) 4. Emma Cunningham, Canton (26:17) 5. Eleni Papadopoulos, Canton (26:33) 6. Courtney Loughnane, Canton (26:35) 7. Shawna Skelton, Canton (26:35) 8. Caroline Tourgee, Canton (27:03) 9. McKenna Ewing, Easton (28:03) 10. Paula Pinto, Chestnut Hill (28:50)
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