Progress Center in Norway to hold third annual run/walk on Oct. 28

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The Progress Center in Norway will host its third annual “Wicked Weird and Totally Freaky Trick or Treat Trot by the Lake” 10K and 5K run/walk on Saturday, Oct. 28, according to development manager Miranda Ward. Five of last year’s costumed entrants pose for a photo. 

NORWAY — The Progress Center will host its third annual “Wicked Weird and Totally Freaky Trick or Treat Trot by the Lake” 10K and 5K run/walk on Saturday, Oct. 28.

The event raises money for programs that serve the agency’s more than 250 children, families and adults in 49 communities in four counties in Maine. According to its website, the nonprofit provides “residential, vocational, day habitation, case management and in-home support services to adults and children with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses.”

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Miranda Ward, development manager of the nonprofit, said that 365 days a year, the agency works to “bring its clients into the community” and to create an inclusive relationship between the two.

Three years ago, Ward said she created a fall fundraising event that would “help bring the community to the Progress Center.” Shortly after she was hired, she came up with the idea to create a fall-based fundraiser that would incorporate a 5K run/walk and Halloween costumes.

“Part of my position is coming up with fundraising and special events for the Progress Center, so this is sort of my brainchild,” she said. “I think one of the important things to note about the event is that this isn’t just for the runners, but for the walkers too. We consider it an all-ages-and-ability event. We’ve had kids in strollers and wheelchairs participate.”

Ward said the event brings the community together to show support for the Progress Center, and she has been “absolutely thrilled with the growth in volunteering, participation and sponsorships over the last three years.”

She said runners and walkers are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes.

“Each year, I am shocked at what kinds of costumes that people can run in,” Ward said with a laugh. “One year, people ran in blow-up suits. We had a woman pin a number of stuffed animal cats to her robe. Last year, we had a lot of people in superhero costumes.”

Ward said the Progress Center awards $100 to the first place male and female finishers in the 5K and 10K run/walk, and gives a $25 gift certificate to the person with the best Halloween costume.

All proceeds benefit the center’s programs, Ward said, including the distribution of food to hungry people in Oxford County and sending athletes to the Special Olympics at no cost to them.

Ward pointed out that last year, the Progress Center was able to use the money from the run/walk to distribute 131,769 pounds of food to the hungry in Oxford County and send 24 athletes to the Special Olympics.

“None of that would be possible without the businesses in our community who help sponsor us,” Ward added. “Not once has a business failed to help us out, and I know that we’re not the only ones asking them for help.”

Those wishing to participate in the race can sign up at progresscentermaine.org, Ward said.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

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