Why run the Mattapoisett Road Race? Why sponsor the Race? Why volunteer hours all year long and on the 4th of July? The answer is simple – scholarships. The sole purpose of the Road Race is to raise funds for scholarships for seniors graduating from ORRHS. As a former high school guidance counselor, I know how important these scholarships are to students. The cost of college has become outrageously expensive and aid rarely meets student need. Local scholarships can make the difference in going or not going.
The Mattapoisett Road Race has worked over the years to create substantial awards that can be a real help. According to Bob Gardner, Road Race founder, the first race probably was not able to award scholarships. With only 35 runners, the financial resources were limited. And, since the cannon that started the race blew out windows at Point Connett, it is likely window repair ate up the proceeds. Once the cannon was eliminated, scholarships consistently became available. To put it in perspective how far the Race has come, consider the following: In 1982, six scholarships of $100 were given; in 1986 seven awards of $125 were made; and in 2013 eleven awards of $1500 were given. There is no question the Mattapoisett Road Race has become one of the most successful scholarship programs benefiting students from Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester.
Jason Eddy, formerly of Rochester and winner of last year’s race, ran his first Mattapoisett Road Race before he was in high school. The race inspired him to run cross country in high school. When he graduated, he received a Road Race scholarship. Now when he runs, it is to show his “appreciation and to represent ORR as well as the entire Tri-Town area.” It is clear that when students can be inspired to follow their dreams and give back to the community, it is worth every piece of watermelon sliced, every bottle of water handed out, every hour spent planning for a year, every donation solicited, every piece of litter picked up, and every volunteer hour spent in the sun or rain. Since its creation, the Mattapoisett Road Race has awarded approximately 500 scholarships to deserving students. This is the answer to the question “why”!