Final Preparations Under Way for SEA 5K

Members of the Operation Santa Claus Committee work on Burma-Shave-style sequential road signs for Saturday's SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk.

Members of the Operation Santa Claus Committee work on Burma-Shave-style sequential road signs for Saturday’s SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk.

(Story corrected to remove link to Millennium Running as online registration was closed on Wednesday.)

The 20th annual SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk may have been two decades in the making, but the event itself is just days away. Just as runners and walkers have been hard at work preparing for the event, so too have been the SEA member volunteers who put the event together.

The 5K is set to start at 10 a.m. Saturday and there is still time to sign up. You can sign up on race day at the registration tent. You can find more information on the race on the SEA’s website.

As you could imagine, plenty of work goes into putting together the event, and members of the Road Race Committee have been working for months hashing out details. But even all of the planning can still leave room for a mad scramble in the final days before the event. Those days can be a blur, according to Mary Hillier, the committee chairwoman.

“For me, it never seems like it all comes together until an hour after the race, but these last few days are always exciting and things start humming,” said Hillier, who works for the Department of Information Technology.

In the last few days, Hillier said she’s busy doing lots of last minute preparations, including collecting last-minute registration forms, confirming building use and checking in regularly with Field Representative Joe Meagher, the staff liaison to the race committee. Meanwhile, the race committee members have been hard at work, as well.

“We have a great committee this year, and they have been confirming arrangements with police and ambulance services, preparing to help with set up, tending their assigned tasks: we have notified Concord Police and Fire of the race time and road closure, we did the list of checks and awards late last week,” Hillier said, noting that all of this is done with a wary eye on the weather reports for race day.

On Friday evening, volunteers will assemble at Hazen Drive to attend to as much pre-race set up as can be accomplished before Saturday, though this is weather permitting. Also on Friday, member Mary Fannion will join Meagher in the van to collect donations, complete shopping, pick up the generator and load up all the cones, tables, chairs and other supplies.

Proceeds from the SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk help support Operation Santa Claus, and as such, many of those who volunteer for Operation Santa Claus are helping out with the 5K. This week, the committee members were at the SEA working on some roadside entertainment – Burma-Shave-style sequential road signs.

“The Road Race Committee has been told that people don’t like to race around that area because it’s a bit boring, so they discussed making these signs,” said Linda Farrell, chairwoman of Operation Santa Claus. “Obviously, people that are running to really run aren’t going to stop and read them, but a lot of people walk and they’ll read them as they go.”

Farrell said that understanding that the Road Race Committee had a limited budget, Operation Santa Claus offered to take care of making the signs. Farrell said the Operation Santa Claus volunteers are happy to assist the hard-working Road Race Committee.

“The Road Race Committee does all of the work getting ready, and we just try to support them,” she said. “They do a lot, and we try to help with what we can.”

Members of the Road Race Committee include Hillier and Fannion, who works for the Department of Transportation, as well as Chapter 1 members Carol Beaudoin, Charlene Clark, Alyce Harper, Barbara Lillios, and Deborah Wheeler, David Best of Information Technology, Dianne Blodgett of NH Hospital, Owen David and Jennifer Day of Environmental Services, and Bruce Vanlandingham of the Department of Transportation.

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