BPAC 5K to raise funds for BHS students; Virus-safety plan in place

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BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition’s second annual 5K walk/run will look a little different than the event did in its inaugural year.

But thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, it will still provide a fun opportunity for the community to come together to raise funds for some worthy Burrillville High School seniors.

The Burrillville Bronco 5K will take place on Sunday, Nov. 15 starting at 9 a.m. at Burrillville High School. In 2020, new safety precautions mean that participants will be spaced apart, and no spectators will be allowed.

The event raises funds for BPAC, a task force focused on youth substance use prevention efforts in town, which in turn passes the money on to qualifying BHS graduates in the form of scholarships.

In 2019, the organization raised more than $3,000 through the walk/run –funds that were used to provide three qualifying Bronco graduates with $1,000 scholarships.

This year, participants will travel the same path, along a mostly flat, scenic 3.1 mile route down Whipple Avenue, crossing Route 102 onto Oakland School Street, and then looping around the village, before returning to the starting point.

How that looks on race day, however, will change dramatically.

“We have COVID precautions in place,” explained BPAC coordinator Monica Blanchette.

The event will follow social and physical distancing guidelines in 2020, with waves of participants to depart three at a time every 20 seconds, based upon on estimated run times submitted during registration. Face coverings will be required at the event, with the exception of time on the actual course.

“The only time you should not have your face covered is while running/walking and you are more than six feet from others on the course,” note the guidelines.

Cones will also be placed throughout the venue to mark distances, and hand sanitizer will be provided throughout. No race day registration will be permitted, and bibs will be picked up in advance.

“We will not be having an awards ceremony,” said Blanchette.

Even those dropping off a participant, she noted, will be asked to stay in their cars.

“We do believe this can be a fun and great distraction from what we all have been experiencing these last few months,” noted the flyer.

Organizers have watched the ever-changing state-issued safety guidelines, ultimately delaying the 5K from last year’s date in September, to two months later. Last year, 120 participants registered, with runners and walkers traveling the town’s mostly quiet side streets.

2020 participants will receive long-sleeved, blue t-shirts with the BPAC logo and sponsors listed on the back.

Registration, found here, costs $30 for adults and $20 for those 18 and under. To be guaranteed a shirt, participants must sign up by Saturday, Oct. 31, and the absolute last day to register for the race is Saturday, Nov. 14.

It will all help to support youth substance use prevention in the community, and ultimately, to recognize students who choose a substance-free lifestyle.

The organization is still in need of adult volunteers to help out on race day. Those interested should contact Blanchette at (401) 710-7996 or by email at mblanchette@burrillville.org.

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