After 2-year hiatus, Bridge of Flowers Classic to return Aug. 13

  • Runners make their way across the Iron Bridge during the 2019 Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic in Shelburne Falls. After a two-year hiatus, the annual event will return to Franklin County on Aug. 13. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2022 6:39:19 PM

The 42nd Annual Bridge of Flowers 8K Classic is officially a go.

After a two-year hiatus, the event and adjoining 3K charity run/walk, will return to the local racing calendar on Saturday, Aug. 13 in downtown Shelburne Falls. The 3K race kicks off at 8 a.m. while the 8K event begins at 9 a.m. The races will follow the same course as 2019, when it was most recently held.

New race director Dan Smith, a Shelburne Falls native and long-time BOF competitor, said he’s excited about the event’s return to Franklin County.

“The response has only been positive. People are really excited,” said Smith. “We draw people from around the varying states but this is a community event. People in the town come out for it. There’s so much excitement for it coming back.”

Smith said last year’s cancellation was two-fold — the COVID-19 pandemic certainly contributed, but the race also didn’t have enough volunteers to be held safely. At its peak, the BOF had about 10 race committee members and 60-75 volunteers at its disposal. In 2019, those numbers took a dip, despite a record number of runners (over 1,300), and last year would have been well below those thresholds.

“While COVID concerns were part of the problem, the real issue was we didn’t have enough staff,” Smith said. “That was the biggest challenge.”

To help combat that issue, Smith turned to longtime race committee member Phil Ringwood, who has returned to the fold for this year’s event. Smith said that with Ringwood back on board, he felt confident the pair could recruit enough volunteers to hold a 2022 event.

With its return this August, Smith said the race will cap registration at 750 runners for the 8K and 250 for the 3K.

“Being the first year back, we tried to simplify a lot of things to make it efficient and smooth,” he explained. “Then our hope is to continue to grow next year. With the race committee we have now, I’m very confident we’ll be able to put on a great race.”

Smith said that his personal connection to the race made stepping into the director’s role a natural fit.

“I’m a Buckland resident, born and raised in Shelburne Falls… it’s a bit of a different hat, a bit more responsibility, but I think what finally drove me to want to take over — I’ll be 44 this summer — is once you start to get a little bit older, you start to think about, ‘how can I give back and do something for other people,’” he offered. “This was such a natural way to do that.”

Online registration is underway for the event, and runners can visit the race website (bofrace.com) for more information. All runners/walkers must register online. All 21-plus finishers will receive a free beer from Floodwater Brewery, and all 20-and-under finishers will receive a free ice cream from Mo’s Fudge Factor.

The lead presenting sponsor for the 2022 event is Greenfield Savings Bank, and DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services will be the fiscal sponsor as well as the primary non-profit beneficiary.


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