Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to raise $10K through eat-and-run road race

  • Mentors and mentees walk in the 2019 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County 0.5K eat-and-run road race. The event was previously held at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield, but is moving to the Franklin County Fairgrounds this year. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 7/18/2021 4:00:29 PM

GREENFIELD — After not being held in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the only 0.5K eat-and-run road race in Western Massachusetts will return this month following its inauguration in 2019.

The event, a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, is scheduled for Thursday, July 22, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. The 546-yard course weaves its way around the food booths, then past the grandstand and Dole Building, turning for the homestretch between the barnyard and Roundhouse, with three different food checkpoints for participants to stop at mid-race.

“Yes, 0.5K — 546 yards, one-third of a mile,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County Development Director Ericka Almeida emphasized. “It’s the race for everyone.”

The checkpoints will see participants enjoy a special Big Brothers Big Sisters themed doughnut produced by Adams Donuts of Greenfield, followed by a slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza from Antonio’s II of Bernardston and a taco from Mesa Verde of Greenfield. At the finish line, participants who are at least 21 years old can drink a Big Brothers Big Sisters “Heroes Pale Ale” from Pioneer Valley Brewery of Turners Falls. Sparkling beverages will be available for those who don’t drink alcohol.

In 2019, the inaugural eat-and-run drew nearly 250 runners and walkers. This year, Almeida said organizers are aiming to “eclipse” this figure and reach up to 400 participants. More than 150 people had registered as of July 9.

“We have to make this our signature event,” Almeida said. “Our goal is to raise $10,000 this year.”

According to Almeida, Big Brothers Big Sisters has the capacity to serve between 180 and 200 local children through its mentoring programs each year, a number that is dictated by how much money the nonprofit can raise, as it is fully donation-supported. Almeida said the organization typically raises between $275,000 and $310,000 annually through community donations.

While the 2019 race was held at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield, Almeida said Big Brothers Big Sisters chose not to partner with them again this year because COVID-19 health safety regulations were in flux during the planning process, and collaborating with the Franklin County Fairgrounds allows the event to be held outdoors with room for social distancing. Almeida noted that Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children ages 12 and under, some of whom are not vaccinated and will be at the July 22 event. All attendees will be required to wear a mask when they are not eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status.

The all-inclusive, family-friendly and fully accessible event allows everyone to participate. Costumes are also encouraged for racers, with this year’s theme being “HEROES!”

Don’t want to run, or just want to eat? There is also an option to order a Spectator Snack Box and enjoy all of the delicious foods of the race without the run.

“It’s a win all around,” Almeida said. “You get a local dinner, have fun and support an important non-profit organization.”

Tickets for the event are $25 per person and $15 for children ages 12 and under. Advance registration is encouraged. Participants may register for a time slot between 4 and 8 p.m. and are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of their start time. Guests can remain at the event for one hour to help limit the number of people on site at any given time.

Tickets and more information are available through the Big Brothers Big Sisters website,

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.


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