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18th annual 5K charity road race Walter's Run set for Sunday

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  December 7, 2011 02:03 PM

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(Taslim Sidi / Boston Globe file)

Competitors in the older age divisions of Walter's Run participated in the 2009 race.

Walter’s Run, an 18-year-old 5K charity run, will race through West Roxbury streets this weekend.

The event will kick off Sunday with a free, non-competitive youth race for ages 10 and under at 10:40 a.m. The less-than-1K Kid’s Race is overseen by Santa, and participants receive a ribbon and candy cane from the big-bearded jolly man in red.

Walter Burgess, 40, died in 2003.
Formerly called Santa Scamper, the charity event organized by the neighborhood-based Parkway Running Club was renamed Walter’s Run in 2004 to honor of former running club member 25-time marathoner Walter Burgess who died at age 40 just weeks after completing his first Ironman Triathlon the year prior.

“He was an inspiration to many in the club. He stayed after every race to cheer on even the slowest runner and exemplified what it meant to be a runner,” race director Keith Shields said in an e-mail.

“Walter's run isn't merely a 'race.' Over the years we have really tried to make this a family friendly holiday 'event' for West Roxbury, something that even the walker and most recreational runners would want to circle on their calendar,” he added.

The event has raised over $35,000 since being renamed, including a record $7,500 last year from around 300 runners despite inclement weather, to benefit three charities: The Boston Globe Santa Fund, the Greater Boston YMCA’s Reach Out Campaign, and the Walter Burgess Scholarship Fund, race organizers said.

Globe Santa, described by those who knew Burgess as a favorite charity of his, provides holiday gifts to needy children in the Boston area; the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Reach Out Campaign gives financial aid to those who could not otherwise afford the organization’s programs and services; the Walter Burgess Scholarship sends young runners to a Newport,-R.I. summer running camp.

The day’s races will start and finish at the West Roxbury YMCA on Bellevue Street. Amenities include a wheel-measured course, raffle, free running gloves and a swag bag to the first 250 entrants, a post-race feast provided by local businesses, trophies for top finishers and medals for the top three runners in each age group. Balloon making, face painting and temporary holiday tattoos will also be available for children.

After making their inaugural run in last year’s race, members of Girl’s on the Run of Suffolk County, a chapter of a national campaign for pre-teen girls which combines running training with curriculum designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development, will return to participate in this year’s race.

Registration for the 5K is $20 in advance or $25 on race day. For more information, visit or contact Race Director Keith Shields at 617-594-3194 or

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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