More Than 900 Take Part In Whitin Five Mile In Northbridge

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This is the first runner in the 24th annual Whitin Five Mile Road Race to cross the finish line Thanksgiving morning. Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – More than 900 people started Thanksgiving morning with the 24th annual Whitin Five Mile Road Race, complemented by a 2-mile health walk, in Northbridge.

Photo Album 24th annual Whitin Five Mile

The race to benefit Whitin Community Center has been a tradition for many more than 24 years, though. “The race and the course have existed for decades,’’ said Charles Thompson, former WCC director and a longtime race volunteer.

It began in the 1920s under Bob Gibson, then a well-known track and field competitor, he said.

At the time, Whitin Community Center track and field teams competed in meets all over the region, Thompson said, and Gibson was “one of those guys” who promoted running for a healthy lifestyle.

“He’s a part of local history,’’ Thompson said.

Linda Usher, a WCC member, has directed the race for 24 years. Before that, the director was Earl Nydam. “I appreciate what Linda does. I’m a great one for tradition and longevity and people like Linda keeps this going,’’ Thompson said.

Though the race hasn’t always been held Thanksgiving morning, so-called “turkey trots” have become popular. “It gets people up early; they can exercise and then eat an inappropriate meal’’ without guilt, Thompson said.

The Whitin Five is probably the longest running race in the Blackstone Valley, he said.

Race results will be available on www.coolrunning.com soon.

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