Goffstown Gallop an athletic event, social occasion
Runners begin their trek at Saturday’s 5.2-mile Goffstown Gallop. Second from right is the women’s winner, Mary Klene, of Manchester. (HARRY KOZLOWSKI/Union Leader Correspondent)
The 5.2-mile course winds through Goffstown and provides some challenging terrain for runners, but the race was designed to be an event for all levels.
French served as director of the Goffstown Parks and Recreation Department until his retirement in 2010. It was then that the race was named after him.
"The whole premise is to have a local, fun event," said race organizer Rick Wilhelmi, Goffstown's current parks and recreation director. "It's an event where neighbors come to socialize and connect with neighbors."
Then there were first timers like 11-year old Patrick McVey. "I ran cross country at Mountain View Middle School. I wanted to try it this year," said McVey.
The race featured seven age divisions for men and women, with a trophy for the top finishers.
"It's the furthest I've ever run," said McVey, whose longest race until Saturday was 2 miles. "I had to walk up most of the hills."
As the final runner crossed the finish line a little over an hour after the race started, French clapped his hands and looked at the smiling groups of tired but happy people enjoying refreshments and chatting with friends and neighbors about what they all just endured.