NEW SALEM -- On Saturday, May 18, the Rabbit Run 10K and 3-Mile Walk makes its 10th run through the scenic Quabbin Reservoir. Registration for the race starts at 9 a.m. on the historic New Salem Common. The starting time is 10 a.m.
For those readers who wonder how the Rabbit Run got its name, once upon a time there was a train. The "Rabbit Train," as it was called locally, ran on a line from Athol to Springfield, making short hops from station to station. One such station was in New Salem where it would pick up passengers, goods, and often produce grown on the area's farms.
In 1935, when construction of the Quabbin Reservoir began, the train stopped running. The creation of the reservoir would effectively remove a good number of the stations from the Rabbit Train's route. There would be no passengers, no goods and no produce coming from the towns of Prescott, Dana, Greenwich or Enfield. These towns were dissolved and the lands they encompassed flooded. Before the valley could be flooded everything in these four towns had to be removed, including the rails for the Rabbit Train.
In 2003, New Salem celebrated its 250th Anniversary with a variety of events sponsored by the recreation department, including the first annual Rabbit Run 10K and 3-Mile walk named for the same discontinued rail line that connected the town with its neighbors to the north and south.
Much like its namesake the Rabbit Run has progressed, taking small hops.
What was once a commemoration is now a full-fledged local event with radio spots, and the sponsorship of dozens of local businesses attracting runners and walkers from around the state -- and farther.
The Rabbit Run 10K roadrace is the only local event of its kind to incorporate the protected woodlands of the Quabbin Reservoir into its rambling course. The start and finish of the race are on the New Salem town common.
Prizes are given to walkers and runners in both men's and women's categories and eight different age groups. Included are products and gift certificates from Dean's Beans, Diemand Farm, Johnson's Farm, The Humble Baker, The 1794 Meetinghouse, Hamilton Orchard, East Oak Kennel and Training, and Natalie.
Additional sponsors of the race are the Athol Daily News, WJDF, Ames Trophy, Pete's Tire Barns, Fran's Designer Outlet, and Kimball-Cooke Insurance.
Proceeds from this year's race will go towards restoration of the town's playground. In the previous two years, the race has raised nearly $2,000.
Registration forms can be found at various locations including the New Salem Public Library, and the New Salem General Store, or can be obtained by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.