Hoping to create annual tradition, Veterans Day 5/10K held in Deerfield

  • Deerfield Veterans Day 5/10K organizer John Reino speaking to runners before the race started Thursday morning. Staff Photo/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Runners take off on Park Street in South Deerfield as that ran in the Veterans Day 5K Thursday morning. Staff Photo/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Runners take off on Park Street in South Deerfield as that ran in the Veterans Day 5K Thursday morning. Staff Photo/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Laure Raffensperger of Leyden was the first finisher of the Deerfield Veterans Day 5K with a finishing time of 20:27. Staff Photo/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Grant Ritter of Whately was the first finisher of the Deerfield Veterans Day 10K with a time of 39:29. Staff Photo/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/11/2021 3:23:54 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Several dozen runners from around the region lined up near the Deerfield Common as they awaited the starting signal of the Veterans Day 5K and 10K.

The event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Senior Games and Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club, sent runners through the streets of South Deerfield and up Route 116. The race had been held on Memorial Day in previous years, but organizer John Reino saw a chance to hold the race and honor veterans in the process.

“I think it’s just a way to honor Veterans Day,” said Reino, who is a veteran himself. “It’s a chance to get out and exercise and honor Veterans Day at the same time.”

The 5K took runners up North Main Street and onto Hillside Road before turning around, while 10K runners circled around the Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation and ran up Route 116 before ultimately turning back onto Sugarloaf Street. At least four veterans were honored and ran in the race.

The first finisher of the 5K was Laure Raffensperger of Leyden, who finished in 20 minutes, 27 seconds. Whately resident Grant Ritter was the first to cross the finish line for the 10K course with a time of 39:29.

Raffensperger said her time was a little slow because she was in long-distance running shape – she had just finished the Green Mountain Marathon in Vermont a few weeks prior. She added that Thursday’s race was a great way to spend Veterans Day morning.

“I had the day off today so I was lucky,” Raffensperger said. “It was a beautiful morning.”

Ritter said he was happy with his finishing time, especially because it was his “first race in two years.”

“Considering the hill, yeah (it was a good time),” Ritter said after the race. “It definitely beats being at work.”

Ritter said he had found out about the race on Wednesday, and it was a great day to run the streets of Deerfield.

“I love local races,” he said. “I’m just thankful for the community we have here in Western Mass.”

The race served as a qualifier for the Massachusetts Senior Games, which is an organization that offers athletic competitions for people over the age of 50. Reino compared it to a sort of “Olympics.” He said the partnership of the Senior Games and the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletics Club helped bring it all together.

“The state didn’t have a 5 or 10K event and I said, I can fix that,’” Reino said. “Between those two, that’s what pulled this off today. I’m sort of the intersection between the two.”

Reino said the turnout was “OK for a Thursday holiday” and he hopes to continue holding the race on Veterans Day in the future.

“It’s the first time it was held on this day,” Reino said. “We’re hoping to hold it annually.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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