A light drizzle greeted runners and their dogs as they gathered back of the Wellington Veterinary Clinic for the First Annual 5k Spring Fever Canine Run on Saturday, April 22. The brainchild of clinic partner Tracey Jensen, herself an accomplished long distance runner and organized by clinic assistant manager Morgan Despain, the race drew a group of enthusiastic runners and their equally excited canine companions.

“The ‘why’ of the race is simple,” Jensen said. “Celebrating people, their pets and healthy activities they can do together.” The race supports Wellington’s Boys and Girls Club which provides healthy activities for the youth of the community.

The weather was a little cool for standing around outdoors before the start, but ideal for the four-legged participants who were at no risk for overheating. The human participants could stay warm, sip on coffee or hot chocolate, get their face painted or munch on an energy bar as they waited for the 8 a.m. start. And there were goodies for their dogs as well, everything from bandanas to clever little plastic bag holders designed to help their owners remember to pick up after their dogs.

It was a congenial group, mostly made up of people who seemed to know and enjoy each other, making the atmosphere festive. The course headed south, turned west at Beech Street and then went north on Fifth Street, making a loop and finishing at the start behind the clinic.

Overall winner Pete Rolfe and his dog had the course to themselves as they rounded the final turn, greeted by his wife Tracy. A few minutes later, first woman Chloe Muir crossed the finish line.

But the atmosphere was not competitive. Having a whole lot of fun took precedence over fast times or personal best records.

“We look forward to many more Spring Fever 5k Runs in the years to come,” Jensen said.

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