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Addiction in Franklin County

RECOVER Project 5k race Saturday

GREENFIELD — Registration is still open for the Firebird 5k race against addiction Saturday and organizers are pleased with how things are going.

Greenfield firefighter Adam Mitchell said he was told to expect about 30 people for a first-year race, so he wasn’t unhappy with the 72 registrants he counted Monday night.

Mitchell began planning the race with the support of the local firefighters’ union this spring, looking for a way to help, before the fact, as he and other emergency responders came across drug overdose after drug overdose.

The proceeds of the race will go to support the RECOVER Project, a peer-to-peer recovery center on Federal Street.

Mitchell credits much of the success to his co-organizer, RECOVER Project member Devon de Korver.

“She’s been a home run. I came up with the idea and got the ball rolling and she’s knocked it out of the park time and time again,” Mitchell said.

De Korver, 28, of Greenfield, said she has been surprised at the degree of support from the community and local businesses, with sponsors including Baystate Franklin Medical Center and Valley Medical Group, and that people aren’t just donating money. People from companies that donated money or services have also joined the race, along with groups from local churches and a group of Franklin County House of Correction inmates in the pre-release program who have been actively raising money, and the list goes on.

“It’s not just random people, experienced runners, we’re getting people in here who really want to make a difference in Greenfield,” de Korver said.

A team of a dozen RECOVER Project members are running and de Korver said she and another group have been doing a couch-to-5k training program for the past seven weeks, and she thinks everyone will make it the 3.1 miles. “Their hearts are in it,” she said.

“Personally for me I am in Greenfield and I am in recovery and I think that Greenfield has some of the strongest recovery I have experienced,” de Korver said, pointing to the RECOVER Project and Beacon recovery houses. “Doing this race is something I am passionate about because I have been offered such great opportunities here.”

Registration is open online, with a link on the race Facebook page — Firebird 5k — or directly through the online race registration site RunReg.com at:

www.runreg.com/4029

Registration is $20 with discounts for teams, public safety workers and veterans.

The race is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, leaving from the area of the Highland Park/Temple Woods/Highland Pond parking lot and winding along James, Hope, Prospect and Russell streets. It is also possible to register in person the day of the event, but Mitchell asked that day-of registrants try to arrive about an hour early.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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