Rock ‘N Race sure does make a big difference

Want to make a difference? Sign up to run in this year’s Rock ‘N Race next Thursday.
Want to make a difference? Sign up to run in this year’s Rock ‘N Race next Thursday.

When the first Rock ‘N Race was held 15 years ago, it was done to raise a little money for Concord Hospital’s soon-to-be-opened Payson Center for Cancer Care.

The Payson Center opened in June of 2003, and over the last decade and a half, almost $4 million has been raised by the event that has seen participation grow from just over 800 in the first year to almost 6,000 last year. Not a bad little run for an road race that founder Steve Duprey referred to as “a hair-brain idea.”

Duprey was asked way back when to help organize an event to give the hospital’s new endeavor a little boost in the monetary department. There were too many golf tournaments, but he felt that Concord could support a road race/walk – with a twist.

“People love to do walks and road races,” Duprey said.

After witnessing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego, Duprey thought it would be fun to add musical acts along the 5K route.

“No one did a race in New Hampshire with bands,” Duprey said.

The first year was a huge hit and ever since, it has been one of those events that people not only look forward to, but show up in droves for.

“I had no idea it would turn out this way, but people really bought into it and it became a great community event,” Duprey said.

The number of participants somehow seems to grow each year, and we can see why. You not only get your exercise in, but you get to listen to some great tunes, have a bunch of delicious food (and dessert)– and help raise money for a worthy cause.

Now, you might be wondering what that almost $4 million has been used for. Well, the money goes to supporting a multitude of programs and services at the Payson Center’s HOPE Resource Center and provides financial assistance for cancer patients in need.

The HOPE Resource Center offers things that aren’t paid for by insurance but are crucial to patients going through their battle with cancer. It offers a wide range of social services like support groups, nutritional and financial counseling and spiritual care.

From the get-go, the center gets you in the nurse navigation program that provides patients with someone that will help keep them on track. It offers patients things like aromatherapy, reiki and acupuncture, as well as an avenue to discuss your advanced care planning.

“It’s tremendously valuable,” said director Jody Blumberg. “It’s allowed the hospital to grow the program.”

Sounds like Concord has really stepped up.

And you can’t pull off an event like this without a lot of hands on deck.

“We have some people that have been doing it for 15 years,” Duprey said.

So if you’re looking for something new to try, why not give Rock ‘N Race a whirl? As you can see, it’s a pretty important event.

“It’s a good reminder to all of us that when a community backs an event, there’s no limits to what it can do,” Duprey said.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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