Run for a cause at NHTI’s 12th annual Friendly Kitchen 5K and Fitness Walk

Runners bolt off the starting line at the 2017 Friendly Kitchen 5K on the NHTI campus in Concord. Courtesy of Hogan Camps / NHTI
Runners bolt off the starting line at the 2017 Friendly Kitchen 5K on the NHTI campus in Concord. Courtesy of Hogan Camps / NHTI

There are plenty of road races in and around Concord every year, most of which are tied to some kind of good cause. The Friendly Kitchen 5K and Fitness Walk at NHTI should be right at the top of that list – and it’s coming up Friday.

For the 12th consecutive year, Concord’s Community College will host a 5K road race/2.5K fitness walk to help support the Friendly Kitchen. The race will start at 5:30 p.m. Friday on the NHTI campus. There will also be a fun run for kids at 6:15 p.m. The event attracts several hundred official runners and many unofficial walkers every year, and this year is expected to be more of the same.

“It’s basically two laps around campus,” said Perry Seagroves, race director and NHTI cross-country coach. “No confusion, no hills.”

The race is sort of two events in one. Serious runners looking to log fast times can take comfort in the fact that this is an official, certified 5K. Numbers will be given out and times recorded. For those who aren’t interested in having the fastest possible run, the 2.5-kilometer fitness walk is just the thing. For the most part, participants in this race are just looking to get a little exercise, have a little fun and help out the Friendly Kitchen while doing so.

You can also make up your mind on the spot. If you complete one lap and feel like that’s good enough, you can feel free to peel off and be done right then and there. There’s no pressure at this race.

“I swear the casual folks have more fun,” Seagroves said. “This has a real positive vibe. It’s not the most competitive race in New Hampshire – people are just doing it for the Friendly Kitchen and for exercise and just being part of the community. Nobody is disappointed afterward.”

For those who do like to compete, even at fun events like this, prizes will be given to the top three men and women overall, and the top three men and women in each of the following categories: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+, NHTI graduates/staff, Clydesdale (male) and Filly (female), top three teams, and the Runner’s Alley Friendly Kitchen Bowl for the fastest corporate team. The winner of the Friendly Kitchen Bowl gets a trophy that they get to keep for the year, just like the Stanley Cup.

For the little ones that may have a hard time finishing a 5K or even a 2.5K, there will be a fun run starting at 6:15 that will be open to kids of any age. All fun run participants will receive a prize. There will also be refreshments, a raffle and more – you won’t usually see raffles at big races run by race companies.

One of the main things that makes this race unique is that registration is by donation only. Participants can pay as much as they want, and the proceeds go to the Friendly Kitchen. While many race companies charge $30, $40 or even $50 for some events, making it a very costly endeavor for a whole family to enjoy, this one can be as inexpensive as you want it to be.

Seagroves said that although the race usually attracts only a few hundred people, it still ends up raising somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000 every year, with the bulk of that coming from corporate sponsors. Registration donations typically just cover the expenses of putting on the race, Seagroves said.

Once it’s all over, it’s generally a jovial atmosphere.

“We have a real sense of community after the race,” Seagroves said. “We announce winners and do a big raffle, and everybody has fun.”

Advanced registration is encouraged. For more details and to register, go to friendly5k2018.

This year’s Friendly Kitchen 5K is co-sponsored by Davis & Towle Insurance, Northeast Delta Dental and Bishop Brady High School. Contact Seagroves at for more information.

Author: Jon Bodell

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