Dandelions and determination: A celebration of spring at The Dandelion Run

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DERBY –Despite forecasts of cold, drizzly weather, the 15th Annual Dandelion Run on Saturday was blessed with sunny skies, cool running conditions, and fields blanketed with dandelions, the event’s namesake flower.

Around 135 runners and walkers turned up for the event, dubbed “The Dandy,” and were treated to more than just a scenic run. The course was alive with music, thanks to performances from local musicians stationed at various points.

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Highlighting the musical lineup were artists such as Wayne Hankin, Patti Casey, Tom MacKenzie, and Bob Dunn among others. The musical roster ranged from bagpipes to string bands, creating a jubilant atmosphere as participants ran, walked, and even danced along the route.

Orr Ashenberg of Cambridge, MA, and Kristen Lande of Richford, NH, claimed victory in the half marathon, with respective times of 1:38:28 and 1:45:37.

In the 10 km race, Newport local Nicholas Monty, 37, edged out George Kominos, 66, while Sacha Peeler, 45, held off Jessica Boucher, 39.

The 4-mile run was won by youth runner McKenna Flint, 9, and adult runner Nick Brown, 26.

The event’s spirit of inclusivity was evident in the 1 and 2-mile races, where the oldest participant, 83-year-old Annette Pion, and the youngest, 3-year-olds Sam Credit and Ophelia Goulet, each claimed prizes.

As is tradition, the event also celebrated the “Last One Back to the Barn,” a title given to the runner who demonstrates grit and determination. This year, Michelle Floyd, 47, of Erie, Colorado, claimed the prize.

Community spirit was on full display, with families running together and teams representing local businesses.

Community National Bank sponsored the event and supplied prizes, along with maple syrup, beef jerky, and a goody bag provided by Louis Garneau.

Alongside the celebrations, participants remembered Terri Weed, who was murdered in the Town of Morgan on May 21, 1981.

This year’s Dandelion Run raised $1,250 for Umbrella, an organization advocating for victims of violence, and an additional $500 for Siskin-Coutts.

The Dandelion Run is more than just a race. It’s a celebration of the arrival of spring, a symbol of the resilience of the community, and a tribute to the joy of running.

Next year’s event is already set for May 19, 2024.

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