Forrest Memorial to run for 25th year
Marlborough – A race that began as way to honor a father and civic leader and to raise money for much-needed city programs will celebrate its silver anniversary this month.
The 25th running of the Jim Forrest Memorial 5K Run-Walk will be held Sunday Sept. 27, at the Wayside Racquet and Swim Club. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the run/walk at 11 a.m. More than 300 runners/walkers are expected to participate. Those interested in the race can register online at www.firm-racing.com.
The silver anniversary of the Forrest Memorial Run-Walk will be the last spearheaded by Pat Forrest, who began the race in 1984 in memory of his father.
“This will be my last race as the organizer,” Pat said. “I moved to the Cape about five years ago and it has been difficult getting back and forth for the weekly meetings. The race will continue, though. I’m sure someone on the board or with Greater Marlborough Programs will take the lead and keep the race going.”
Proceeds from the Forrest Memorial 5K benefit the Greater Marlborough Programs Inc. (GMPI), a nonprofit service agency for the developmentally disabled. In the last 13 years, the Forrest Memorial Run-Walk has raised more than $200,000 for GMPI.
The Marlborough Boys Club was the benefactor of proceeds and donations of the first 11 years of the running of the Forrest Memorial 5K, and those donations and proceeds were used to send more than 250 children to two weeks of summer camp, as well as to purchase an electronic scoreboard for the Marlborough Boys Club gymnasium, as well as the scoreboard currently in use in the Marlborough High School Fieldhouse.
Jim "Zeke" Forrest, the man for whom the race is held, gave his time willingly in so many ways to the city of Marlborough. The father of nine was a Ward 3 city councilor for more than 20 years, was one of the original members of the Marlborough Recreation Department, and, in 1944, a founding member of the Marlborough Boys Club, known today as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metrowest.
Two of the run-walk’s time-tested traditions will continue as the Pre-Race Pasta Dinner will be held at the Marlborough Courtyard by Marriot Friday Sept. 25. The socializing will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner served at 7 p.m., and in attendance will be members of the Marlborough High A Cappella Choir. Also back on the run-walk agenda is the post-race cookout and bash, featuring barbecue masters Bill Cox and Joe Craig and DJ Bobby B. The post-race bash has become as much a part of the Forrest Memorial 5K Run-Walk as the race itself.
Through the years, the race has had more than its share of notable – both locally and nationally – grand marshals, including the late Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, the life-long Northborough resident who went on to become the 1975 American League Rookie of the Year while pitching for the Detroit Tigers, and former Holy Cross All-American basketball and baseball player Ron Perry Jr. Perry was one of the few people in sports history to have been drafted by both a National Basketball Association team and a Major League Baseball team.
This year’s grand marshal will be former New England Patriots lineman Max Lane.
Other grand marshals of note through the years have included: Robert Nagle, winner of the grueling long-distance event called the Eco-Challenge; Karen Smyers, seven-time national triathlon champion and winner of the 1995 Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon; former New England Patriots Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie; Paul Giorgio, the local man who has scaled Mount Everest four times; well-known Boston Marathoners Dick and Rick Hoyt; and the legendary Johnny Kelly, the winner of the 1935 and 1945 Boston Marathons, who also finished second in the prestigious race seven times.
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