JBF walkers, runners ready for Farms ‘turtle course’


John Brown Francis Elementary School students, staffers and parents are lacing up their sneakers for the fifth annual John Brown Francis PTA 5K Road Race and Fun Run/Walk set to take place Saturday.

The event will kick off at 9:30 a.m. at the school, located at 325 Miantonomo Drive, with a one-mile fun run/walk in front of JBF. The official 5K will follow at 10.

“It’s a really fun event,” said PTA committee member Patricia Bastia, whose three children attend the school. “It’s open to anybody and everyone from anywhere and everywhere. The more the merrier.”

Bastia, a sixth grade teacher at Sherman Elementary, said nearly 200 people participated last year. She hopes more will take the course, which loops around Governor Francis Farms, also known as “Turtle Country,” before returning to the school. For a full view of the course, perform a Google image search for “JBF PTA 5K.”

“It’s all flat,” Bastia said. “There are no hills.”

For people looking for a shorter stroll, the half-hour walk at 9:30 is the best bet. The sign-up fee is $7.

“That’s a great opportunity for the little ones to be involved,” she said.

To register for either or both races, go online and copy and paste http://www.lightboxreg.com/2013-jbf-pta-5k-road-race into the web browser. The first 125 participants to register in advance will receive a free race T-shirt.

“There will probably be some T-shirts available that day, too,” Bastia said, noting that it costs $20 to register online, or $25 to register the day of the race.

The PTA is also encouraging JBF families to run together, as the “Family Max” fee is $45. This option is available via mail-in registration only, and includes two T-shirts. The form, and more information, can be found at http://www.oplusracemanagement.com/pdfs/13jbf5k.pdf. The deadline is May 9.

Cash prizes will be awarded to top finishers overall for both men and women. First place winners will receive $200, while second place winners will get $100. Awards will also be given to the top three finishers in each age group, including 13 and under, 14 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70 and older.

Proceeds will benefit JBF after-school programs, such as the cultural art program and other educational activities for children. Typically, programs run in six- to eight-week cycles, with children being treated to guests such as acclaimed local storyteller Len Cabral and the Navy Band, plus activities like hula-hoop classes and Lego robotic courses. In a few weeks, the Toe Jam Puppet Band, a children’s entertainment group from New Bedford, Mass., will perform for schoolchildren.

“We’ve had a fantastic year for after-school programs,” Bastia said. “We called in a group called Pow!Science! that did science projects with the kids. It was just lovely.”

Bastia said not only is the race an opportunity for the PTA to raise funds; it’s a chance to bring the neighborhood together. They invited JBF alumni, including members of the Pilgrim track team.

The PTA will also call for 26 seconds of silence at the race to honor the runners and those affected by the tragedy in Boston, including a few that are close to home. They decided on 26 to represent the 26 miles of the Boston Marathon.

“We’re looking to establish community and reach out to beyond the school families,” she said.

Bastia credited Kristin Maggiacomo, the chair of the event, for her efforts to organize the race.

“She conceptualized it and it’s been a huge success,” Bastia said.

Refreshments will be served following the race.


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