Kennett Run ready to roll, May 14

22nd annual event offers four events, thousands of runners expected, raises money for local organizations

By Hannah Christopher, Staff Writer,

Runners take off during the 2010 Kids' run event during the Kennett Run. With four events and an expected 3,000 runners, this year's event should be the biggest ever. Photo by Matt Christopher.

KENNETT SQUARE —With thousands of runners from the Unionville and Kennett areas — and all over Chester County —the Kennett Run, which will be held this Saturday, has become one of the most anticipated running events in the area, but that’s not the best thing about the event.

In addition to some 3,000 runners expected Saturday, the Kennett Run benefits dozens of local charities and organizations through it’s grant program. In 2010, many groups in Kennett and Unionville benefited, including the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company, Camp Dreamcatcher, Kennett Fire Company, La Comunidad Hispana, the Unionville Community Fair, the Kennett YMCA — and those were just a small sample of the beneficiaries.

The 22nd Annual Kennett Run kicks off Saturday morning — with a total of four events.  There is a 5 k run, a 5k walk, a 10 k race and a one-mile fun run for kids.  This event each year grows with its numbers.

Al Iacocco is the race director for the second year and I had an opportunity to talk with him on Tuesday morning to see how the race details are coming along and ask some questions about how this event is pulled off successfully year after year.  “Mostly it is because many different organizations come together to volunteer their time.” Iacocco said. “It is a huge community event that brings everyone together.”

Along with the groups who make up the Kennett Run Charities there are numerous others who give their time. The honor society and sports member students from Kennett and Unionville, the local township and borough police, citizens from the town of Kennett, the YMCA, and the Kennett Are and Parks and Recreation Board. For example Al said, “Claire Finfrock the recreation coordinator will be giving out 2,400 hot dogs on Saturday!”

Already, he said, there are 2500 runners and walkers preregistered and they expect at least 500 more to sign up on race day.  How do Al and his team manage to keep all of this flowing without glitches?

“We are ready because we get a lot of work from everyone and they are ready to deal with anything.”   This year, he said, “We will have more food in the park (Anson B. Nixon) and nice amenities.”

Anson B. Nixon is the finish line for all the races and also where the awards ceremony is held.  The race had a new starting line last year on Route 82 and a new course to accommodate the huge growth of the 5 k.  The growth is mostly due to the Girls on the Run program which this year along with STRIDE, a program for boys combined has more than 800 participants.

To make things run smoothly, Al suggested a five-minute later start for the Girls on the Run and STRIDE.  The 10 k will start at 9 a.m. and then the 5 k run will begin at 9:20.  The 5k walk will begin at 9:30.  These changes will aid the runners and the flow as they race to the finish on Walnut Road where all the runners come together from the 10 k and 5k.  Al made this adjustment from last years glitches that occurred from such a mix of speeds coming towards the finish on Walnut Road.  Al being an experienced racer himself understands that races always have something that can be refined and that is why each year the event gets better and better.

If you come out on Saturday to run, walk, cheer or party in the park afterwards you are guaranteed a fantastic morning.   You will see all sorts of people from all walks of life from Unionville, Kennett and all over Chester County.  It brings everyone together for a relaxed fun day of fitness.  And don’t forget to visit Claire at the hot dog stand  and  the beer truck afterwards!

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