AMESBURY — Throughout the year, Woodsom Farm provides residents and visitors a premier place to break a sweat, escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and give four-legged friends a chance to get some exercise.
But later this month, weather-permitting, Woodsom Farm will also be the site for the first annual Amesbury Police Chase Snowshoe Fun Race, scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 26, at 10:45 a.m. The event, which features three distinct races for kids, adults and a hybrid event featuring sledding and snowshoeing, is the latest fundraising effort by the Amesbury Police Officers Association.
Currently under the leadership of veteran patrolman Jason Kooken, the charity donates thousands of dollars each year to local organizations, seniors and those victimized by crime.
Kooken, a rabid outdoor enthusiast, came up with the idea for the racing fundraiser while snowshoeing up the hills and through the trails that dot the expansive outdoor area located off Lions Mouth Road.
“I think it’s going to be a great spot,” Kooken said.
Details are still being finalized and the routes will need to be approved by the city’s Conservation Commission, but should all go well, the adult race will be a little under 2 miles while the kids race is slightly less than a mile. The third race could feature a combination of snowshoeing and sled racing. The idea would be for participants to hike up one of Woodsom Farm’s many hills where a plastic toboggan would be waiting. There, racers would sled down the hill and then continue on with the race.
In the event that there isn’t enough white stuff on the day of the event, Kooken said, a cross-country race will be organized on the spot.
It is hoped that the race not only attracts residents but also out-of-towners, giving the city a chance to highlight the wonders of Woodsom Farm, according to Kooken.
“It’s just one of those spots that’s a treasure,” Kooken said.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Kooken is hoping to attract students and other volunteers to help coordinate the race and act as spotters during the events. Local businesses will also be contacted in the hope that they will participate and increase the day’s appeal.
The entry fee is $15. Money raised during the event will eventually be donated to area charities including the city’s food pantry, Our Neighbors’ Table; the Salisbury-based Pettengill House; youth athletic programs, senior citizens and those victimized by crime. An annual recipient of APOA funds is the Richard F. O’Brien, Post 2016, Veterans of Foreign Wars, which organizes free yearly Christmas dinners for veterans and their families.
“The APOA have been very generous sponsoring the dinner,” former VFW Post 2016 Commander Bob Smith said recently.
Each year for at least the last six, the APOA has donated $500 to the dinner, which has helped ensure that all veterans and their families can enjoy a free meal and a few hours with the company of others.
For more information on the race, contact Kooken at email@example.com. Entry fee for the race is $15 and registration can be completed online at runreg.com/Net/amesbury-police-chase, or at the race itself.