Whately’s Mother’s Day Half-Marathon returns in person Sunday after 2-year virtual stint

  • Runners at the 2018 Mothers Day Half-Marathon in Whately.  FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/6/2022 6:51:35 PM

Following a two-year hiatus, the Mother’s Day Half-Marathon will return in person to Whately on Sunday.

Labeled “The Comeback Year” by race director Sue Monahan, the excitement for the race is growing by the day. The race still took place the past two years, but was done virtually due to COVID-19.

Over 400 competitors have already signed up for the 12th running of the race on Sunday, with many more expected following race day registrations.

“People are so excited to have this back in person,” Monahan said. “I have someone who is injured and hasn’t been able to run but they said they’ll be back next year. Others who can’t run are volunteering and still want to be involved. There’s such a good vibe with this race. You can’t find a race with this kind of vibe. I don’t know what it is but everyone is always so gracious and happy to be there.”

The last time the race was ran in 2019, 534 runners participated – a record total. With the race moving to a virtual format the last two years, the numbers dipped but signups have risen again with the return to an in-person event.

While the numbers may have been down, the fundraising effort didn’t change the last two years, something Monahan is proud of.

“It wasn’t the same virtually,” Monahan said. “We had some really good sponsors that still backed us virtually. People still fundraised and ran it virtually, it was still quite successful. We raised quite a bit of money. This year people are knocking it out of the park with donations. The sponsors are happy to be back and everyone is fundraising like crazy.”

The race raises funds for Cancer Connection, whose website says its mission is “to provide a haven where people with cancer and their loved ones can learn how to navigate the complicated cancer journey through one-to-one guidance, education, peer support, integrative therapies, and creative programs to strengthen body and spirit.”

“All the money stays local,” Monahan said. “They get all the money. The majority of what we get to run the race is on donations which is unlike many races. We have so many people help out to make sure all the money goes to the charity.”

If you ran the race pre-COVID, it’ll look exactly the same on Sunday. The half-marathon course hasn’t changed, the packet pickup is still taking place at 6 a.m. at the Yankee Candle Manufacturing driveway in Whately, the walkers and nine-mile runners will take off at 7:30 before the half-marathon runners set off at 8 a.m.

The early start time gives participants and spectators plenty of time to take their mom to lunch afterward if they so wish.

“We just popped right back into it,” Monahan said. “The only new course challenge was the bridge in Whately being a one-way, but we just added a few more volunteers to direct the traffic there. Otherwise we kept everything else the same.”

The race is still offering a 5K option, but that will be done virtually as the course isn’t set up for a 5K course. A new change this year is the addition of a nine-mile relay, something Monahan hopes can stick around.

“We had to offer the 5K virtually because I can’t run a 5K on our course,” Monahan said. “We’re testing the water with the nine-mile relay. It’ll be three-person teams with each [team member] running what’s close to a 5K. We added it late and we’ll test it out and see how it goes. It’ll be a good experiment to see if we want to keep that as an option going forward.”

Online registration closed on Friday but the race is still taking sign-ups on Sunday before things kick off. The goal was to raise $100,000, and as of Tuesday they were close to hitting the $85,000 mark.

Fundraising will continue after the race, with donations being accepted on www.racewmass.com.


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