After a great day of running in Holyoke, Massachusetts the day prior, on Sunday of last week it was off to Abington, Massachusetts for the Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race. This race is held annually in memory of Abington resident Jeff Coombs who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
The Jeff Coombs Foundation was formed to assist families who are in financial need because of a death, illness or other situation that challenges the family budget. It also provides emotional support to families by funding special outings and fun events. Committed to education, the foundation helps fund enrichment programs in the Abington Schools, and awards scholarships to graduating college-bound seniors and students in private high schools.
The foundation was created in response to the incredible outpouring of support Jeff’s family received after he was killed on Flight 11 in the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. Christie, Jeff’s wife, and their kids, Matthew, Meaghan, and Julia, wanted a way to “pay it forward.” They began raising money to help others in November, 2001. Since then, the Foundation has raised and distributed about $50,000 a year in Jeff’s memory.
The race is an out-and-back loop and takes runners through the streets of Abington. The first mile is a noticeably downhill stretch which then suddenly makes you realize that the next mile is likely going to be a rather uphill stretch; which is quickly confirmed. After finishing up the second mile it is then a flatter stretch heading back into the finish line. The Abington Police Department did a really nice job ensuring that traffic did not interfere with the race.
One of the highlights of the day was being able to meet Boston Marathon hero Carlos Arrendondo who proved to be as gracious and humble as we all have heard of him to be.
After runners crossed the finish line we were met by a sea of volunteers handing out bottles of water and were then sent back to the post-race festivities which included food, drink, sponsors handing out goodies and raffle prizes a plenty. A DJ, guy on stilts, bouncy houses and other things made foe a great post-race event.
I finished the Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race with a time of 22:29, good for 7:14/miles.