By Catalina Kirsch

MADISON — Nearly 200 people gathered at Purity Spring Resort on Thanksgiving morning for what has become a local holiday kick-off tradition at the PSR5K, presented by Saucony, a trail race and fitness walk fundraiser held each year to benefit local youth programs.

This year’s event profits ($2,000) benefit the Kennett High School cross-country/track and field teams as well as the Kennett Coders high school robotics team.

There were 149 finishers in the 5K, which follows the scenic wooded cross-country trails at Purity Spring Resort. Runners and walkers enjoyed mild temperatures and the light drizzle they faced was nothing compared to last year’s foot of snow. Course conditions lent to a fast race.

Top three finishers overall for the men were Joshua Thorson of Dover in 14:49; Zach Switaj of Rollinsford was second in 14:55, while Wolfeboro Falls’ Seth Richardson took third in 15:05.

Top three overall for the women were Lisa Jacobus of Rye in 19:42; Meghan Underhill of Northfield was second in 19:51, while Center Conway’s Terry Ballou was third in 20:22.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the Thanksgiving festivities than by running in the Purity Springs 5K Trail race,” said Ballou. “I get to reconnect with running friends and challenge myself on a hilly and usually snow-covered course, and then feast guilt-free on turkey and pie. Family-friendly, and always great awards — one of my favorite races of the year.”

Top age category finishers for men and women were:

14-and-under: Jeb Brayshaw, 9, of Byfield, Mass., 24:57; Ali Luce, 14, Hopkinton, Mass., 21:18.

Ages 15-19: Jim Huckman, 18, West Ossipee, 18:48; Sofia Luce, 15, Hopkinton, Mass., 22:15.

Ages 20-29: Andrew Doherty, Center Conway, 15:48; Maggie LaRoche, Silver Lake, 20:28.

Ages 30-39: Andrew Drummond, Madison, 15:41; Kristen McKay DeCorte, Medford, Mass, 21:40.

Ages 40-49: Derek Clement, Binghamton, N.Y., 18:06; Mary Luce, Hopkinton, Mass., 22:25.

Ages 50-59: Jonathan Miller, Sanbornville, 17:06; Cathleen Livingston, Madison, 24:27.

Ages 60-69: Paul Bazanchuk, Center Conway, 19:06; Cheryl Clapp, Center Conway, 29:48.

The top finisher in age 70-plus was Eaton’s Frank Holmes with a time of 24:37.

The race also provides a tradition for holiday visitors to the Mount Washington Valley to start their weekend on the scenic trails at Purity Spring Resort in East Madison. This year’s visitors came from across the Granite State along with Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington state.

The PSR5K is part of a series of races put on by acidoticRACING, LLC, a N.H.-based athletic club, which according to founder Chris Dunn seeks “to host events that promote a high level of athletic competition and sportsmanship and also benefit nonprofits. Throughout the year we are involved in a number of charitable giving campaigns and are very proud of the thousands of dollars we’ve raised. Our athletes are about competition, community and charity and are generous with their time, energy, and resources.”

Since 2008 the Thanksgiving 5k hosted by sponsor Purity Spring Resort, has raised over $20,000 for local youth programs in the valley. This year’s race raised over $2000, which will be shared between the Kennett cross-county/track programs as well as the Kennett Coders. Among the 20-plus volunteers who helped this year were several track and field families and robotics team families who spent Thanksgiving morning supporting the cause.

The event strives to be a very family-friendly, age-friendly outdoor experience for all. In addition to a 5K trail run, it also featured a 1.2-mile fitness walk along the scenic King Pine Upper Lake Loop trail, enjoyed by participants of all ages and abilities. Also to promote family fitness there is always a free kids fun run for children to enjoy the excitement of running across a finish line while family cheers them on.

“Such a good way for the family to start the day in gratitude: for being together exercising, for living in such a beautiful location, and within a community so dedicated to giving,” Adam Lane-Olsen of Fryeburg shared. “This was such a fun event for our entire family.”

This event is made possible by generous business sponsorships from Saucony, Purity Spring Resort and King Pine Ski Area, Café Noche, Cormack Construction Management, Dieselworks, LLC, Gamwell, Caputo, Kelsch & Co., Memorial Hospital, Profile Subaru, RL Sand, Inc, Total Concept Property Management. Additional support comes from Big Dave’s Bagels, Settlers Green, Donna Cormier Massage, Mt. Washington Auto Road, Great Glen Trails, Good Vibes Coffee Roasters, Starbucks North Conway, Yankee Smokehouse,Taylor Chiropractic and Cranmore Mountain Resort.

Catalina Kirsch is the race director of the PSR5K and is with acidoticRACING, LLC, 

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