Great Day for a 5K Fun Run/Walk!

ANDOVER -- Freshman ABC scholar Xonatia Lee, a member of the Andover High School track team, had a special guest to help her set a pace at the second annual ABC Fun Run/Walk held this past Sunday; her mother Marsha Jones-Wilson of Brooklyn, New York, boarded a bus in New York City just past midnight in order to surprise her daughter and run with her. They were joined by nearly 100 runners who participated in the second annual ABC Fun Run/Walk to raise funds for Andover A Better Chance. The event raised over $2000.00.

James Hamilton,18, of Andover, was the first male finisher with a time of 17:58. Hamilton was in the top five of male finishers in last year’s Feaster Five. Michaela Jones, 12, of Andover was the female first place winner with a time of 18:36 to top her second place win from the 2011 race. Both winners received gift certificates from race sponsors New Balance and Converse Shoes, respectively. Willy the dog finished first in the canine division running a 27.07 along side owner Christie Bensley. Other new categories this year included the stroller division.

“This event is really like a coming together of friends,” said ABC President Mary Pritchard. “It has a very personal feel and people really feel a connection to the house, the scholars and the program after the run.” ABC supporters, neighbors and serious runners enjoyed the crisp April morning and the race course through the neighborhoods near downtown. All eight of the ABC scholars were in attendance, along with house staff. “The warmth and spirit of the ABC students, staff, and volunteers shone through from start to finish. My favorite part was when the students and their Resident Advisor sang the Star Spangled Banner at the start of the race” said Annie Gilbert, School Committee Chair and avid runner.

In addition to New Balance and Converse, local business sponsors included Optimum Sportswear, Orange Leaf Yogurt, Learning Express, Enterprise Bank, Panera Bread, Dresscode, Lois Lombardo, DMD, J Christopher Haircutters, Commonwealth Motors, TD Banknorth, and Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, Inc. As participants crossed the finish line they were rewarded with a raffle ticket for a chance to win dinner at Cafe Azteca and a pair of New Balance shoes.

According to Pritchard, the program hopes to add new elements and expand the field of runners in the coming years while still maintaining the personal feel of the inaugural event. “It was a great, family-friendly event, and I will definitely be back next year", said Gilbert. Andover ABC is an affiliate of a national non-profit organization that provides academically talented minority students scholarships and comprehensive support to live in Andover and attend Andover High School.