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Timlin 5K organizers eager to see response to virtual platform

by | Apr 30, 2020 | Featured Front Page, News

While local traditions continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, organizers of the Sharon Timlin Memorial Event have plans to make this year’s event memorable in a new way.

The Timlin 5K road race, scheduled for June 20, is shifting to a virtual activity. Runners and walkers will have a 10-hour window on June 20 to complete 3.1 miles on their own.

“While we are sad and disappointed our 17th year won’t be the live event the Hopkinton community has grown to love and celebrate, we are really excited to take the Sharon Timlin Memorial Event to a virtual platform this year,” co-event director April Galanek said. “The event has always been about gathering together, in a fun environment, with the key point of raising awareness and funds for ALS research.”

Both the 5K and ensuing Family Fun Day are popular events, annually drawing more than 2,000 people.

The virtual event will take place on June 20 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this time, registrants can run or walk a 5K route of their choosing. Organizers are encouraging participants to follow CDC guidelines that are in place at that time, and asking runners not to run the Timlin route so as to avoid crowds.

Part of the day’s experience will include links to opening remarks and inspirational messages from Mike Timlin (a former Red Sox pitcher whose mother was the inspiration for the event), Rich Kennedy (president of the Angel Fund) and Dr. Robert Brown (director of research at UMass’s Cecil B. Day Laboratory).

Runners also can listen to the national anthem, sung by Hopkinton teenager Kelsey Breslin, and tap into the race’s Spotify playlist.

While it won’t be a competitive race, runners can upload their times to the website (sharontimlinrace.org). Photo and video submissions will be shared on the event’s social media platforms as runners complete their course. The hashtag is #SharonTimlin2020.

“We anticipate sharing a day of memories and experiences with everyone through these posts,” Galanek said.

A silent auction will be offered through the event website.

The day will wrap up at 5 p.m. with a live toast for everyone to raise a glass and celebrate their accomplishment.

Galanek noted that the virtual platform offers an opportunity for people outside the Hopkinton and MetroWest area to be a part of the event. Already there are registrants from California, Colorado, Kentucky and Ohio.

“The opportunity to bring this message across the country to many different venues outside of Hopkinton is uplifting and is an example of ‘Together at a Distance,’ ” Galanek said.

Galanek also said that the event typically has about 200 volunteers, and this year they will have the opportunity to run the race.

With families being quarantined, organizers decided to offer a family registration package, which allows up to five members to register at a discounted price.

“Since so many families are quarantined we thought it would be a great activity to be a part of the Timlin together,” she said.

Participants will receive (via mail) a race bib and a technical T-shirt — guaranteed to those who register by May 20 — as well as some additional “fun swag.”

“I’m actually very interested to see how this will go,” Galanek said. “We’ve been working on making it an event that people can appreciate and has some value. We’re hoping to reach a wider audience, and we’re really excited to see how it works out.”

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