Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mayor Higgins Hot Chocolate Walk/Run

Yesterday was the 6th annual Mayor Higgins Hot Chocolate Walk/Run to benefit Safe Passage, a local organization that provides aid for women and children who experience domestic violence. Over 4,000 women, men, children and dogs in buggies, shorts, colorful running attire, assorted hats, and costumes turned out for a wonderful festive occasion. The walkers walked 2 miles at quite a clip, while the runners ran 5 K (3.1 miles) in quite variable styles. Some runners speeded right along; later, as we were walking home, we passed the tag end of the running brigade trying hard to finish, even if it by that time they had lapsed into a leisurely saunter. We passed one running parent and buggy who had pulled over in the last half mile for a diaper change. One young runner I know ran the course in 30.1 minutes; I'd say it took us walkers about 40 minutes to complete our route.

Every one was smiling and enjoying the day and the lark of standing around, walking, and running with 4000+ others in the brisk cold. I never witnessed a single snap, snarl, or whine from adults, children, or dogs. Dover enjoyed himself immensely. He did what he does best - offer himself for petting, and many people did. They dropped by to pet him face to face, and he even greeted some gathering runners by breaching the plastic fencing used to keep the walkers in their place before the start time for the strollers. His is a hard job.

So, this morning, on rising, 3,500 residents of Northampton and neighboring towns padded into their kitchens, made coffee, tea, or cocoa, poured milk, juice or water into their newly acquired Hillary Price (Rhymes with Orange) penguin and polar bear mugs which were given to the first 3,500 people to register for the walk/run. Due to a glitch in my registration process, I registered twice, so Dover got to wear the second number (#1205) but donated his mug to another walker/runner who had registered too late. It is hard not to have thumbs.

Afterwards, Dover went
to his friends' house
to play,

and then he went
home to sleep.

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