I have a feeling the Kennedy Community Health Annual 5K Walk & Run will mark a lot of firsts for Worcester. Aside from being the inaugural 5K at Polar Park, it is also the first in-person race for many of Worcester’s runners who have been confined to virtual events over the last 16 months. Add a large crop of freshly minted pandemic runners into the mix and what we have is a party.
Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center has been dedicated to helping the people of Worcester live healthier lives since it was founded in 1972 by seven women living in Great Brook Valley. Founders sought regular, preventative and primary care services for their families who had long relied on hospital emergency rooms for care. Today, Kennedy Community Health serves nearly 29,000 patients annually across 90 communities, including six school-based health centers.
On Saturday, Aug. 7, the Worcester Red Sox will partner with Kennedy Community Health for their first ever 5K walk and run at Polar Park. Runners will take off on a tour of the Canal District at 9 a.m. and cross the finish line inside the stadium. Walkers will embark on a one-mile lap at 9:15 a.m. — a perfect opportunity for families with young children to participate in the day’s festivities alongside the Woo Sox’s beloved mascot, Smiley Ball. Registration fees are lower than I’ve seen for a local race in a very long time; walkers pay just $5 and runners pay $10 for an official number and race results courtesy of Central Mass Striders. Registration also includes a limited edition T-shirt.
President and CEO Stephen J. Kerrigan began his career as a trusted advisor and senior aide to the organization’s namesake, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, before taking on the roles of chief executive officer of both the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee and the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, in addition to serving as chief of staff for President Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Kerrigan is thrilled about the evolution of Kennedy Community Health’s annual road race and the opportunity to collaborate with Polar Park’s talented team of event organizers. “What began as a neighborhood walk through Great Brook Valley in 2015 has evolved into a 5K event that brings the community together for a healthy and family-friendly activity,” Kerrigan said. “We are excited about partnering this year with the WooSox and hope to make it an annual Polar Park tradition.”
Many of Worcester’s favorite 5Ks also plan to host live events in the coming months including Canal Diggers Road Race. Follow free local fitness groups like November Project Worcester and Cupcakes Anonymous on social media to learn about more upcoming races.