Plymouth State University students were a large part of the success of the Eighth Annual Circle Trot last weekend, and members of the school's American Chemical Society were just one of several organizations who were involved in the event. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 02, 2018PLYMOUTH — A little rain has never been able to dampen the spirits of Circle Program supporters, so it was no surprise this past weekend when 200 people registered for one of the three walk/run options and nearly 100 more volunteered to make the annual Circle Trot a success.
The Circle Program benefits young girls and teens from low-income families throughout central New Hampshire. Among many things, they work to develop self-esteem, provide mentoring programs, and offer summer camp experiences to help young girls succeed in the future. All proceeds of the Circle Trot are used to promote and benefit that success.
This year the Circle Trot starting point was moved from the ice arena at Plymouth State University to the All Well North facility across the road, and that made for a few changes in the event.
Circle Program Director Kathleen Kearns said the change was made for several reasons, one of which included access to the indoor track at the wellness center where children supporting parents and friends yet not participating in the race could get some great exercise, too. Overseeing their activities were members of the Health and Human Performance Club at PSU.
Those changes brought new challenges though to the Circle Program staff and to meet those challenges they reached out to students and staff at PSU for some assistance.
Kearns said that students in university programs such as sports management, marketing, criminal justice and more helped worked together as part of a Cluster Project to make the event a success.
Sally Sheffield, Office Manager for Circle Program, said a lot of time went into the planning of this year's race.
"Since January, a team of six (students) met with us to develop the plans for the Circle Trot," she said.
A class in Sports Management first focused on the challenge of recreating sanctified 2k, 5k and 10K courses for the timed event. Their options were then presented to Circle staff members who selected the course that best suited their requirements.
Students proved to be of more help than just establishing the new course though. They directed traffic, set up equipment, and athletic team members were also stationed out along the course on race day to help direct runners and walkers.
Inside the All North Center other university clubs and organizations pitched in as well with registration, race information and anything else that was needed.
"The kids who took on this project were amazing," said PSU Sports Management professor Pam Childs.
Participants of the Circle Trot were able to chose from three run/walk options- a quick 2K course near the All Well North site, a 5K that wound through a part of downtown Plymouth, or the more challenging 10K race that led runners up Reservoir Rd. to Ledgeside Lane and back as they raced to the finish line.
"My goal is to run the whole 5K without walking," said one determined woman as she headed for the start/finish line.
Amongst those taking part in this year's race were Circle Program girls and their mentors, local child and adult supporters of all ages, along with running enthusiasts from all over.
"We're grateful to all who came out today in spite of this weather," said Kearns.
When the final results came in it, was the youngsters in the 2K who kicked up their heels and crossed the line ahead of the adults. Ten-year-old Jackson Mitchell from Laconia placed first in the race, followed by eight-year-old Hannah Casey of Holderness and nine-year-old Mabel Casey of Holderness.
In the 5K run it was 17-year-old Randall Scroggins of Rumney leading the way. Close behind Scroggins was 48-year-old James Koren from Plymouth, who came in second, and 16-year-old Ellie Page of Wenham, Mass. who finished in third.
Finally, for the more challenging 10K race, 29-year-old New Hampton resident Sam Cieplicki was the first to complete the course with a time of 47:30. Behind him was 42-year-old Jeffrey Mattson of Bristol with his time of 48:13, and Center Conway resident, 22-year-old Kaylin Samia, who clocked in at 48:37.