By Carolyn Steber

For the past ten years, Bordentown has hosted its Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K and 2-mile Fun Walk. The event attracts both serious runners and people looking for something fun to do on a holiday weekend. Even Bordentown High School principal Pat Lynch will be participating.

“I do this for the education foundation and I do it for me, too, because I get a great sense of accomplishment,” Lynch said.

Lynch is not an avid runner, but gets his practice in doing laps around the school hallways before students arrive in the morning. One lap, from his office and back, is about 1/5th of a mile.

“I do as many laps as I can until I work up to probably two and a half miles,” Lynch said.

The race, which will be held on March 17, will benefit the Bordentown Education Foundation.

Elaine Buggs, the president of the Bordentown Regional Education Foundation, and a planning board of foundation trustees, including race director Joann Dansbury, have been meeting every Thursday to plan for the big day.

Buggs said the race has been growing each year since its inception.

“This race has really made a name for itself. I’m amazed at the legacy this race has made over the past ten years,” she said.

Last year, the race attracted about 800 runners.

“It was a madhouse,” Buggs said.

Principal Lynch said race day is full of energy from the runners, as well as the spectators who come to cheer on their friends and family. Participants can expect to see some runners decked out in green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and possibly spectacles like last year’s Body Project group, who ran in all black outfits and lime green shoes.

Since the same amount of runners are expected this year, the foundation has been working hard to make sure everything will run smoothly.

“We have come up with fantastic ways to improve the race for the 10th anniversary,” Buggs said. Race day will feature a 7:30 a.m. registration at MacFarland School, local vendors, snacks and prizes for first, second and third place runners.

The course, which winds its way through historical Bordentown, is sanctioned by the U.S. Track and Field Association. This is a bonus for the avid runners.

“Some runners get points for running. About 85 percent of all them are members of the organization that sanctions our race,” she said.

Buggs stresses the fact that you don’t have to be a serious athlete in order to participate, and that even kids can get in on the fun by running in the one-mile children’s race. Lynch said some 80-year-old runners have beaten him in the past, but that just goes to show that people of all skill levels will be in attendance.

There’s a friendly competition between all the local schools in the district. Lynch said that whichever school has the most employees signed up to race will win a $1,000 grant.

Supplying grants to the schools is the major mission of the education foundation. Last year the race raised about $17,000. With this money, the foundation has funded book clubs for kids who want to do more reading than is required for their classroom. They also financed a landscaping project for the front of the middle school that had students learning about mulching and gardening. The foundation even provides $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors.

“We want to give out as many grants and as many scholarships as we can,” Buggs said.

The foundation is also in partnership with Burlington County Community College, where they share a $1,500 scholarship for a deserving student.

The remainder of the money will be used by teachers who apply for grants to fund classroom projects.

“The education foundation is giving our teachers opportunities to extend themselves and I think that is a great, great thing,” said Lynch.

Students will be volunteering to make sure the race day is successful. Members of the Bordentown High School honor society, the track team, and the local Boy Scouts will all be donating their time to help the race run smoothly.

“We involve the school in almost every step of the way,” Buggs said.

It promises to be a fun day, full of people coming out to support a great cause.

“Whatever we get from the race is wonderful,” Lynch said.