Westport Fair 5K is a two-town celebration

By Angie Hilsman | Jul 09, 2017
Photo by: Angie Hilsman Dartmouth's Grace Potter and Mason Chace, both 4, take first and third place in the Fun Run for their age group, while Fall River's Lucas Pavao, 4, takes second place.

When Dartmouth residents Jennifer Potter and her husband Jim planned the first Westport Fair 5K in Jim’s hometown three years ago, they knew they wanted it to transcend Westport.

The couple uses the annual event to connect Dartmouth and Westport with running (their favorite pastime), art, and scholarships.

"We wanted to bring the two towns together," said Potter, cheering on her four-year-old daughter Grace in the kids’ Fun Run on July 9. Grace took first place for her age group in the 150-foot dash.

"We love seeing our kids participate in something we love doing," she said.

At 10 a.m., nearly 100 runners took off from the Pine Hill Roads fairgrounds on a flat route to Old Pine Hill Road and back. The race not only helps many runners reach a personal record, but supports scholarships for the towns’ high schoolers, Potter explained.

Registration fees — $20 for the 5K; $15 for the kids' Fun Run — allow the race committee to hand out $500 scholarships to students, Potter said. This year, she hopes to give out three scholarship to 2018 graduates.

Event staff sported Fun Run and 5K t-shirts designed by Dartmouth and Westport students. It's a way to also support the arts, Potter explained.

The t-shirt design contest was run through the schools’ art classes. Art teachers picked the top five designs from every grade, then the fair committee picked the top six designs overall. The race committee was then charged with determining the first, second, and third place winners, and honorable mentions from the six finalists.

"We like to make sure there is both a Dartmouth and Westport resident winner," Potter said, explaining that if a Dartmouth students wins the 5K t-shirt design contest, a Westport student will win the Fun Run t-shirt contest. "We like to make sure both towns are represented," she continued.

Dartmouth High's Cierra Yim took first place for the 5K shirt design, although Yim was not at the award ceremony. Her peer Lauren Valentine, 15, took second place.

"I decided to do stuff that reminded me of the fair, like tractors. And I thought of running, so I put in footprints," Valentine said.

Westport's Brayden Abreu, a Macomber School student, took first place for the Fun Run t-shirt design. The 12 top designers are awarded a t-shirt and gift certificates to places like Carabiner's and Ten Cousins, Potter said.

The Westport Fair 5K is always scheduled on the Sunday before the Westport Fair. The fair will run July 12 through 16.

The women's 5K winners included Mary Cass, 55, of Westport (20:25.3); Jennifer Merlin, 28, of Hanson (23:02.1); and Jacqueline Casavant, 31, of West Greenwich, Rhode Island (23:32.6). The women took first, seventh, and 10th place overall, respectively, in the race.

The men's 5K winners included Ethan Gifford, 35, of Westport (21:15.6); Sean Lawrence, 41, of Westport (21:29.7); and Jason Laviolette, 35, of Dartmouth (21:43.3). They took second, third, and fourth place respectively in the overall race.

Lauren Valentine, 15, takes second place for the 5K t-shirt design. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
T-shirt designs for the 5K were submitted by both Dartmouth and Westport students. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
T-shirt designs for the Fun Run were submitted by both Dartmouth and Westport students. (Photo by: Angie Hilsman)
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