PLYMOUTH, MA -- Nearly 1500 people, many decked out in red Santa hats, twinkling holiday lights, and Black & Gold Bruins jerseys, gathered on Friday night in Plymouth to participate in the Winter Lights 5K to benefit Cape Cod Toys for Tots.
Despite a cold mist on a cloudy New England night on the South Shore, the holiday spirit shone throughout the event as runners were back-lit by Plymouth's beautifully decorated tree, which was lit prior to the start of the race.
The Boston Bruins Foundation, who partnered with Bayside Runner to help the Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to children in need.
"Everybody’s going to go out here, break a little sweat, run the 5k and enjoy the city of Plymouth," said Bob Sweeney, Executive Director of the Bruins Foundation, while wearing a glow-in-the-dark Bruins tee to match his team's participants
Tom Pena, co-owner of Bayside Runner and event coordinator for the race, was happy to partner with the Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation Running Team.
"When we opened up the race we had 350 people," recalled Pena. "When the Bruins Foundation called and wanted to partner with us on the future opportunity, we threw them in right away.
"Four weeks later we had 1400…and the final number’s not even in yet so it might be more than that.”
As the leaders of the race completed their run, they gathered at the finish line to enthusiastically cheer on runners of all ages.
"It was great,” said Meg of Middleborough. "People were screaming for the Bruins as we ran by because we had these shirts on.
"Everyone was in the Christmas spirit," she added. "With the rain, we almost wouldn’t have come, except we knew it was for the Bruins and for a good cause.
"We’re glad that we did."
All were in agreement that the event’s cause was a worthy one.
"It's amazing what we have here tonight," noted Sweeney. "At the end of the night, on behalf of the Bruins and the Foundation, we’re going to end up making a nice donation to Toys for Tots, so its great.
"It’s a win-win for everybody."
After the race, runners donated toys, enjoyed refreshments and camaraderie at a VIP party at the Cabby Shack. There, everyone had a chance to spend time with Blades the B's mascot and the Bruins Ice Girls leading up to the check presentation of $2,500 to Toys for Tots from the Boston Bruins Foundation.
"We work with Toys for Tots a lot around the Boston area, but down in Plymouth this is kind of new for us so...we look forward to a continued relationship," said Sweeney.
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