Runners, take your mark, as the 2014 CVS Health Downtown 5K is just around the corner! The annual athletic event – offering a day of healthy competition and fun for all ages and abilities – is one that runners, walkers, wheelchair competitors, volunteers and spectators won’t want to miss this year as the CVS Health Downtown 5K celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The event – scheduled for Sunday, September 21 – will pay tribute to its 25 years of rich history by celebrating elite runners, long-time race participants and volunteers, and area military veterans in addition to hosting the range of races and inspirational events that participants and spectators have come to know and enjoy. For those interested in registering for the main 5K race, the Tufts High School Inspirational 3K or any of the 21 different youth races, it’s not too late!
Go to www.cvsdowntown5k.com for registration information.
The CVS Health Downtown 5K, formerly known as the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K, was renamed to align with the September 3 announcement by CVS Caremark that it was changing its corporate name to CVS Health to reflect its broader health care commitment and its expertise in driving the innovations needed to shape the future of health. The 2014 CVS Health Downtown 5K is the first charitable sporting event hosted by the company since the corporate name change.
“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this landmark year for the CVS Health Downtown 5K,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health. “Not only does this year mark the 25th anniversary of this health-focused, charitable sporting event, but it also coincides with our company’s name change to CVS Health, and is a great reflection of our commitment to health care. We are thrilled to provide an event that encourages a healthy lifestyle and exemplifies our company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CVS Health Downtown 5K, several initiatives will mark the special occasion.
First, a military component has been incorporated into this year’s CVS Health Downtown 5K to “honor our nation’s heroes and recognize them for their service to our country,” according to Howard Boone. Organized by CVS Health’s colleague resource group VALOR – whose mission includes making a measurable impact in service to veterans, veteran outreach groups, current service members and their families – the CVS Health Downtown 5K will include a military procession before the start of the main 5K race, waived entry fees for 5K teams comprised of Rhode Island veterans, active military and their family members; and an interactive VALOR Military Village, which will take place on the lawn of Station Park – across from Providence Place.
The military procession will start at the bottom of Francis Street and work its way up to the start line, and will feature the Providence Fire Department, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members of Providence College and Junior ROTC members of Woonsocket High School. The VALOR Military Village will highlight a number of military and veterans groups, as well as organizations and businesses that support these groups – all providing either resources, patriotic-focused products and services and interactive experiences, such as a rock climbing wall and a portable fitness trainer.
Military groups and other organizations participating in the VALOR Military Village include the Rhode Island Air National Guard, the Rhode Island Army National Guard, Blue Star Moms, Gold Star Moms, the Rhode Island Military Organization, Team Red, White & Blue (RWB) Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Vet Corps, the Rhode Island Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Rhode Island Veterans Home, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New England Adaptive Sports Program and the American Red Cross of Rhode Island. Other groups that will be set up in the village include One Krafty Kitten, a patriotic jewelry maker located in West Greenwich, R.I.; Knockouts Haircuts for Men from Mansfield, Mass., whose staff members will offer camouflage and patriotic face painting; and Clear Channel Providence.
The opening ceremonies of the CVS Health Downtown 5K will also help celebrate the 25th anniversary by recognizing groups and individuals who have contributed to the sporting event’s history. On stage during opening ceremonies will be the men’s winner of the inaugural 5K race: Olympian John Gregorek of Seekonk, Mass., as well as the ‘CVS Health Downtown 5K Dashers’ – runners who have participated in every 5K race since its 1990 inception, and eight volunteers who will mark 25 years of service to the Downtown 5k with this year’s CVS Health Downtown 5K.
The ‘CVS Health Downtown 5K Dashers’ include Rhode Islanders Warren Alper of Burrillville, David and Susan Dean of Cranston, Barry Elfstrom of Chepachet, Dave Farrell of Barrington, State Representative Joseph McNamara of Warwick, Barry O’Brien of Warwick, Fred Zuleger III of Coventry and Massachusetts resident Richard Sullivan of Osterville.
The eight 25-year volunteers include O’Brien – who volunteers for the morning youth races before doing a quick wardrobe change and assuming his role as a ‘Downtown 5K Dasher’, two-time Olympian and two-time Boston Marathon winner Geoff Smith of Mattapoisett, Mass., Ron Boemker of Cranston, R.I., Ian Brooks of New York City, Lauren Leslie of Warwick, R.I., Ed and Diane Poirier of North Attleboro, Mass., and David Tetreault of East Greenwich, R.I.
Additional changes include updates to the race course – necessary due to road construction in the city. The changes will not impact the start and finish location of the course or its difficulty. As in recent years, the CVS Health Downtown 5K will start and finish on Francis Street in front of the Rhode Island State House. An updated map of the course can be viewed online at cvsdowntown5k.com/course/.
The CVS Health Downtown 5K includes 21 different races for children, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, including the CVS Health All Kids Can™ Inspirational event for children with physical and intellectual disabilities (youth races run from 8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.); a 3K Inspirational event for high school runners that incorporates a fun costume contest and is sponsored by Tufts Health Plan (3K begins at 12:15 p.m.); and the 5K event, which draws elite athletes, as well as amateur runners and wheelchair athletes competing as individuals or on college, corporate and gym teams. Walkers are also welcome to participate. The 5K race begins at 11:15 a.m.
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