NEWINGTON - As spring graces us with its presence local athletes are preparing for race season. The first event in this area belongs to the Lucy Robbins Welles Library’s Board of Trustees.
The 22nd annual Library 5K Challenge is set for Sunday, May 20 at 9 a.m. It will start and finish in Mill Pond Park off of Garfield Street, where board members will provide participants with prizes, refreshments, T-shirts and encouragement.
“It’s become a real community event,” library Director Lisa Masten said. “A lot of families run together. We see these younger kids who run the race year after year grow up into adults.”
Runners are eligible for prizes donated by local businesses and the top male and female finishers in each age division will receive medals. In addition, the first 250 people to register will take home race T-shirts. Volunteers hope to see at least 300 people at the starting line this year.
Pre-registration is $10 for children 12 and under and $20 per adult. Same day registration is $10 for kids and $25 per adult. Registration forms are available at the library, 95 Cedar St., and online at raceentry.com. They can be dropped off or mailed to the library.
The library board will put funds raised at the race back into the facility, which has limited space for its growing number of visitors.
“Eventually we would like to expand but right now we’re trying to repurpose space,” Masten explained.
A wide variety of programming for children, teens and adults has grown increasingly popular. Residents are often joined by out-of-towners taking advantage of the engaging offerings. However, the building’s community room fits no more than 70 people and there are waiting lists for many activities.
“One of the things we’re looking at right now is to purchase some mobile book units,” board President Diane Stamm said. “So when we have an event we can push them around to allow for a larger seating area.”
Right now books and CDs are on shelving in the main area of the library, which significantly limits activity space. The mobile units could be transported out of the way during events like the Friends of the Library’s annual Wine and Cheese Social, author visits and large cultural exhibits.
Girls between the ages of 6 and 14 have a special opportunity to train for the race. Newington Parks and Recreation’s Girls in Stride program meets Tuesday evenings in Mill Pond Park from April 3 through May 15. Coach Lisa Pillow leads girls through fun games and drills, introducing them to goal-setting, nutrition and mental preparation. Participants record their training in journals. The cost is $79 for residents and $89 for non-residents.
“It’s quite popular,” Parks and Recreation Director Bill DeMaio said. “We do it to get girls in shape, teach them how to run and improve self-esteem.”
The library will celebrate Willy Wonka this April. It begins with a screening of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” during Family Movie Day Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. This will be followed by Desserts Ever After on Sunday, May 20, from 2-4 p.m. Visitors are invited to take pictures with the cast from the Newington Children’s Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr. There will be games and ice cream. Tickets are $5 per person and available at the Adult Information Desk.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
WHAT: The Lucy Robbins Welles Library’s 5K Challenge
WHEN: Sunday, April 20 at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Mill Pond Park, Newington