Second BPAC race raises $5K for Bronco scholarships

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BURRILLVILLE – The second annual Burrillville Bronco 5K raised $5,124, money that will be used to provide college scholarships for deserving Burrillville High School seniors this year.

The race, a walk/run through scenic streets in town, was put on by the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition, with scholarships to be awarded to students who have participated in substance use prevention initiatives during their time at the school, and promoted healthy lifestyle choices.

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According to BPAC coordinator Monica Blanchette, a total of 159 people signed up for the 5K, held in November, which was double the amount of participants from the previous year.

The race was professionally timed by Spitler Race Systems, and the company worked with organizers to accommodate new protocols to ensure safety, putting distancing requirements in place to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19.

“Since we were one of the few in-person races that actually took place in the state, we had more out-of-town participants this year,” Blanchette said. “Many of those participants were grateful that the event took place, as they reported having signed up for races that were cancelled last minute. Some stated they looked forward to returning to Burrillville next year.”

It took careful planning and required several new rules. Racers and volunteers were required to wear masks at all times, except while they were running on the course in 2020, and organizers chose to forego the traditional awards ceremony. Participants were asked to not gather after the 5K, but to return to their vehicles and rest before safely driving away. This year, no spectators were allowed.

The race was sponsored by the Rhode Island Department of Health Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, Daniele, Inc., Wright’s Farm & Restaurant, Johnny’s Victory Diner and the Burrillville School Committee.

Blanchette noted that the first place finisher, Keith McAteer of Westerly, came in at 15 minutes, 44 seconds, and commented that he was glad the 5K was,”not a baby course.”

The race was held for the first time in 2019 and in raised roughly $3,600 in its initial year, with money awarded to students who took part in two school-based clubs: Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse and Students Against Destructive Decisions.t

“Overall, the event was a success and we’re looking forward to our third 5K,” said Blanchette.

The event is now in the planning stages and has been scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 7.

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