It was cold and it was rainy but we still had 760 people finish and almost 100 volunteers in our 20th anniversary road race Saturday. Pretty amazing — and we’re grateful; it’s one of our largest fundraisers of the year.
And we wouldn’t be having our 20th anniversary race if it wasn’t for Carla DeLellis, owner of Johnny D’s. The Bullpen, a bar where Orleans is now, held a beer run for the Homeless Coalition until they closed (were closed down) 20 years ago. Carla knew how important the money was for the Coalition and decided the race had to keep going. She enlisted two runners from Rounder Records, Nancy Given and Steve Burton, to help with the logistics and the Somerville Homeless Coalition 5K Road Race was off and running.
When I came 16 years ago the race had less than 600 runners; now we average about 1,000. I think some people run it to support the Coalition, some people run because it’s right here in Davis Square, and lots of people run so they can have the fabulous brunch after the race donated by so many local restaurants — starting of course with the scrambled eggs and oatmeal from Johnny D’s.
We honored Carla at our annual April dinner in 2014; during her remarks she coined the phrase, “It takes a Somervillage” to address issues like hunger and homelessness. That really rings true for us. All the runners, all the volunteers, all the sponsors, all the restaurants, support from the city and the Somerville Police, the Auxiliary Police, the Traffic and Parking Department — they all help to make the race possible and successful.
And if you want another idea of what Somervillage means to us and some of our community partners, please watch the video our friends at Newfangled Studios just did for us. It does take a Somervillage and we’re grateful for everyone’s help and support. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJagV5gxfpY Sadly for us all, Johnny D’s is going to close next year — but we’ll be looking in our Somervillage to see who can make the scrambled eggs and oatmeal for our 21st Annual Somerville Homeless Coalition 5K Road Race.
-Mark Alston-Follansbee, Executive Director