On Sunday, September 16th 200 runners and walkers navigated the private roads surrounding Alexander’s Lake in Dayville, all in the name of raising money for youth wellness programs. The 7th Annual NOW Road Race & Walk, subtitled “Lap the Lake” is an annual event held by Northeast Opportunities for Wellness, Inc. (NOW), a non-profit focused creating opportunities for local children to access fitness, nutrition and sports. For 2018 the event grossed $13,000 with an estimated profit of almost $10,000. All proceeds will support NOW youth scholarships and programs in the region.

With the support of Race Day Sponsor, Putnam Bank, the event saw notable changes for 2018. For the 7th annual event, the NOW Road Race featured an altered race route with a transition to a traditional timed 5K (3.1 miles). Starting at The Lake Tavern on Upper Maple Street in Dayville, the race route included one “lap” around Alexander’s Lake before finishing back at The Lake Tavern. This route is a change from past years, with the event previously marketed as a “3.5ish” mile race, with a 3.76-mile course. In addition to the 5K race, the event also featured a Kids Race that saw about two-dozen children ages 2 to 10.

2018 proved to be a remarkable year in more ways than just the change in the race route. For the first time in the event’s 7-year history, the top runner of the NOW Road Race was a female athlete. With a time of 19 minutes and 58 seconds, Moosup resident Cindy Ouillette won the race. Ouillette was followed by Willington resident Pierre Dens Fils with a time of 20 minutes and 9 seconds. Both runners were each presented with a cash prize of $100, sponsored by Prize Sponsor Jewett City Savings Bank. Ouillette opted to donate her winnings back to NOW. Prizes were also awarded to the top three runners in each five-year age group. For 2018, each top runner received a gold compass with commemorative tag and all youth runners received participation medals.

For several years, the Road Race has been generously sponsored by Putnam Bank, which shows additional support with dozens of employees participating; for 2018, the Putnam Bank team topped off at 43 participants. NOW was also pleased to welcome a new major sponsor to the event, Lake Road Generating, which signed on as a Starting Line Sponsor and also featured a team of employees participating in the 5K. The major event sponsors were joined by 16 additional sponsors supporting the official event t-shirt, which for 2018 is a long-sleeved moisture wicking t-shirt.

Executive Director Sarah Wolfburg commented about the race, “We are grateful for all of the support we received for this year’s Road Race. 2018 was a great year of growth for this event and has set a record for the most participants and most money raised.” In addition to the many sponsors that showed support for the event, the Road Race was also supported by several local volunteers. Moosup resident Elle Goslin helped mark the beginning of the event with a live rendition of the National Anthem. Just Performance Fitness and the QVCC Foundation featured booths at the event, while Back & Body Chiropractic of Dayville offered complimentary massages to runners. Local photographer Mikayla Gagnon with Ginger Photography took over 200 photos throughout the event. As well, the four water stations that lined the course were supported by volunteers from Deary’s Gymnastics, Woodstock Academy Gymnastics, and Green Valley Crossing. The Dayville Fire Company offered volunteer support by conducting traffic on Upper Maple Street, ensuring all event participants remained safe. Complimentary refreshments, including water, bananas and clementine oranges were donated by Price Chopper of Putnam and The Killingly Big Y.

All proceeds from the event will support the many youth programs NOW offers to children residing in the 10-town area of Northeast CT, including youth scholarship support, fitness & nutrition outreach, and free wellness clinics. NOW is a non-profit human services organization focused on youth wellness. NOW provides children with the opportunity to participate in area wellness activities and athletics programs, offering scholarships to the youth of the community with up to 95% of the cost being subsidized by NOW. The mission of the organization is to provide ALL children, regardless of financial resources, equal opportunities to achieve & maintain youth wellness, beginning at an early age.