By LAURA WEICK The seventh annual Rocky Point 5k will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but will still include family fun and charity for a cause. From June 26 to June 28, participants can run, walk, bike or even treadmill 3.2
The seventh annual Rocky Point 5k will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but will still include family fun and charity for a cause.
From June 26 to June 28, participants can run, walk, bike or even treadmill 3.2 miles for charity. Due to social distancing guidelines, participants may do the 5k wherever they’d like, as long as they follow the state’s social distance guidelines. They will be encouraged to post about their experience on social media using the hashtag #RP5k.
The 5k traditionally traverses land that once housed Rocky Point Amusement Park that is a state park and has a mile of Narragansett coastline.
“We did a lot of talking to both past participants and sponsors,” Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce President Lauren Slocum said. “People were still looking for a way to connect. And funds in the past have gone to support charities and nonprofits. With everything going on, those services are needed now more than ever. We decided we can still do it without being face to face.”
In prior years, between 300 to 600 people participated in the 5k, but Slocum is not sure if the number will be similar this year. She can only guess what the race will raise. Proceeds will go to A Wish Come True which grants “wishes” to local children with terminal illnesses, Cornerstone Adult Services, which provides health services to the elderly and adults with disabilities, and the House of Hope, which provides affordable housing and raises funds for the homeless.
Slocum said that they have raised a total of $70,148 for different charities over the past six 5ks.
“We would normally know roughly what would be raised,” Slocum said. “We have no idea this year. But if we raise some funds, [these charities are] where it will go.”
Other virtual 5ks have found success this summer despite the sudden transition from in-person to online. Gina Dooley, president of the Gaspee Days Committee, estimated the Gaspee Days Virtual 5k ending June 20 will raise between $2,500 and $3,000. These funds would go to the Gaspee Days Committee, which organizes community events such as the annual Gaspee Day Parade. The virtual 5k for Justice, which is also set to conclude June 20, has raised $6,195, according to its GoFundMe page. These funds will go to organizations that support criminal justice reform and racial equality.
Participants in the Rocky Point 5k must register and pay the $30 participation fee by Sunday, June 28 at 10 p.m. Businesses may also purchase sponsorships including virtual booth spaces and virtual mile markers. National Grid is the exclusive finish line sponsor. Participants will receive a special commemorative T-shirt.
Slocum also said that the event usually occurs in May, but the 5k’s committee decided to wait until June out of respect for the state’s reopening guidelines. Rhode Island entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan earlier this month, which includes allowing gatherings of up to 15 people, as well as limited indoor reopening of businesses like restaurants, child care centers, places of worship and gyms.
Typically, people who complete the 5k with the fastest time in the gender and age group are declared winners, and may win a cash prize. But since the 5k is virtual and will be held over multiple days, there will be other contests instead. Contest categories include best costume, best face mask, Rocky Point themed and largest team. Another category, favorite sports figure or team, has awards for six different sports: baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey and soccer. Participants in these contests are asked to use the hashtag #RP5kcontest on social media in order to be judged. Slocum said that depending on what is raised, winners might receive a cash prize.
There will also be a children’s coloring contest, in which children 12 and under will be judged on their coloring of an image on the 5k’s website. Slocum wants entrants to use the hashtag #RP5kart on social media.
Slcoum added that this year’s theme is “celebration.” She hopes that people use the 5k as an opportunity to celebrate those in their life that have done good for them and the world.
“Although we are not getting out, it’s all about celebrating all that’s good,” Slocum explained. “Celebrate the special person in your life, parents, friends, family, even the accomplishments you made yourself. We want people in a time that has been very trying to celebrate all that’s good. We’re in this together.”