A steady rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of an estimated 800 runners who took part in one of three different races through the back roads of West Newbury yesterday in the 24th annual Apple Harvest Run.
“We had a great day,” said race director Sarah Rigoli. “It rained a little bit, but we always have a great turnout and great spectators. It’s a really beautiful course and I think the race speaks for itself.”
The run, which benefits the educational and cultural programs at West Newbury’s Dr. John C. Page Elementary School, has become a long-standing tradition and features a trio of different races. The afternoon started with a kids’ 1-Mile Fun-Run, followed by UASTF-certified 5-mile and 5K runs through rolling hills.
“We call it a challenging, beautiful course,” Rigoli said before thanking The Institution for Savings as well as the rest of the race sponsors. “We’re not in Colorado, we’re not making any major gains in elevation, but it is a challenging, hilly course with rolling hills. And it’s closed, so it is safe. It’s beautiful, it’s fall. The foliage is always gorgeous.”
Eric McDonald, 23, of Groveland placed first in the 5-mile race with a time of 25:43.
“I did this race back when I was in high school,” said McDonald. “Then I went off for college, and now I’m back, so I figured I’d do it again this year. This weather was perfect for running. Just when you were getting a little hot, you’d cool right back off again. A little bit of the mist helped it a lot. I’m glad that they are keeping this race on, and I think it keeps getting bigger and bigger each year.”
Brett Budzinski, 38, of North Andover was second at 28:33, and Jeff Kelly, 45, of Byfield finished third in 30:36. Amesbury’s Beth Dollas, 36, was first for the women in the 5-miler at 31:47, followed by Molly Evak, 30, of Pawtucket, Conn., (32:45) and Kelly Lecours, 48, of Bradford (34:17).