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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
By 9 a.m., the sun was shining, but the thermometer read 28 degrees Fahrenheit. It wouldn’t get much warmer throughout the course of the day, making November 11 a record cold one.
But that didn’t stop a group of fierce walkers and runners from participating in the annual road race at Walpole’s Italian American Club.
Paul Clerici first formulated the idea to begin a 5K walk and run in honor of his brother, David, and grandfather, Camilio “Camy,” who passed away in February and November of 2000, respectively. The Clerici family has been a longtime member of the Walpole community and belonged to the Italian American Club, so it felt only natural for them to found the Camy 5K Race and the David 5K Walk.
After Paul’s grandmother, Rosina, passed away in 2006, he established the Rosina Fun Run for kids 11 and under. Participating in the free 50-yard dash earned the youngsters a ribbon and the beginning of their own family tradition.
“It’s a nice little thing in November, and it kicks off the holidays,” said Paul. “And it’s neat seeing some of the kids who did the 50-yard dash, which we’ve had for 11 years now, are doing the actual run. I like to see that homey feel.”
The walkers and runners stretched inside the Italian American Club, surrounded by raffle prizes and boxes of donuts – motivation to finish the 5K as quickly as possible to get a better glimpse at the prizes and first pick of the sweet treats. The runners jogged in place, jumped up and down, and did partner stretches with friends and family who were also participating in the race before Paul announced it was time to head to the starting point.
“It’s a little cold today, but that’s okay … One year it snowed six and a half inches of snow, one year we had a hurricane, so 2.2 inches of rain, so a day like today,” said Paul as participants bundled up from head to toe, “I could whine about it, but I really shouldn’t.”
Unfazed by the chilly whips of wind, the 5K participants walked to the Stone Street and School Street intersection, by the Walpole Library, to begin the race, knowing that their registration fees would benefit local hospitals and charities.
With the walkers taking a 10 minute head start before the runners set out, volunteers, including some high school students from the National Honor Society, set up a little after-party inside the Italian American Club.
While the temperatures were undoubtedly low, the spirits were high at the 17th annual Camy 5K Run and David 5K Walk, bringing in another successful year of the community race.