10th annual Monster Dash 5K in Northfield to continue, with modifications

  • Runners kick off the 2019 Monster Dash 5K in Northfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Costumed runners and bicyclists make their way through St. Mary’s Cemetery during the 2019 Monster Dash 5K in Northfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Costumed runners and bicyclists make their way through St. Mary’s Cemetery during the 2019 Monster Dash 5K in Northfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Bicyclists set out at the start of the 2019 Monster Dash 5K in Northfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2020 3:38:54 PM
Modified: 10/16/2020 3:38:44 PM

NORTHFIELD — Instead of stampeding down Main Street, the 10th annual Monster Dash 5K on Oct. 24 will see the usual cluster of ghosts and ghouls travel a new course route while adhering to health safety guidelines.

As always, walkers, runners and bicyclists are encouraged to dress in costumes for the race, but they must wear a mask to participate. Terry McKeon of the First Parish of Northfield Unitarian Church’s planning committee, which organizes the annual event, said the course was moved to be on quieter streets and some trails to support social distancing. The new course is mostly flat, with a ½-mile of grassy trails decorated for the season.

According to McKeon, members of the planning committee talked about the possibility of canceling the 2020 Monster Dash 5K altogether, but wanted to avoid doing so. After some “re-imagining” and conversations with the Board of Health, McKeon said the planning committee received the green light for this year’s Monster Dash.

“We would have hated to cancel on the 10th year,” he said.

In following state and local guidelines, McKeon said this year’s Monster Dash 5K will be carefully managed to ensure participants have staggered starts in small groups that are timed and spaced well apart to allow for social distancing. Anyone who wishes to run with specific partners must provide their names and the time they wish to start. There is a 10-person limit for each time slot, with groups leaving every 15 minutes between 9 and 11 a.m.

Additional changes will see adjustments made to the usual course. The new course will be marked and staffed to ensure racers stay on the route. The starting point has been shifted from Town Hall on Main Street to the Northfield Golf Club at 31 Holton St.

Bikers are advised to use a mountain bike because part of the new route will take runners, bikers and walkers through a grassy, wooded trail behind the Dickinson Memorial Library. McKeon said this section of the course will be decorated with pumpkins donated by Patterson Farm, spider webs and other “fun, spooky” Halloween decorations and surprises.

“This is a family-friendly event, so none of the Halloween themed ‘surprises’ will be too frightening for children,” he clarified.

Due to the pandemic and associated health concerns, there will be no breakfast after the race, as has been provided in years’ past. However, participants can choose a prize: a frozen pie, a pumpkin from Patterson Farm, a T-shirt or an organic food item from Picadilly Farm.

Registration is required, and participants can register online at bit.ly/34Mzphr. There will be no registrations accepted on the day of the race, and those who are interested must register early because there will be a cap of 100 to 120 participants.

“Over the last nine years we’ve gone up in numbers,” McKeon said. “Last year we had roughly 100 people.”

Registration is $15 per person, or a $30 flat rate per family. Payment may be made online by credit card or Paypal. All proceeds will benefit the First Parish of Northfield Unitarian Church.

Participants may also register by calling or texting 617-504-2750, or emailing pttriguy@gmail.com to reserve a spot, and then bring a check or cash on race day.

More information on the new course route can be found at bit.ly/3jTHV4x.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.



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