AUBURN — Seventh-graders on Team Tumbledown at Auburn Middle School took part in the 20th annual Pumpkin Run on Thursday.

It was both a milestone and a special day, teachers said, because it was the last Pumpkin Run for teacher Steve Robertson.

Robertson, who came to Auburn in 1983, founded the Pumpkin Run 20 years ago. After 39 years of teaching, Robertson is retiring at the end of the school year.

“If you ask the kids about the Pumpkin Run, it brings back fond memories of junior high and middle school,” Robertson said. “It’s the one thing I’ll remember. That and the Turkey Trot” held in November to raise money to feed needy families.

The Pumpkin Run is held every Halloween afternoon. The approximately 100 students on Team Tumbledown are invited to run or walk outside.

“It’s all about health and having fun, an alternative to wearing costumes,” Robertson said.

While it was created to be fun, the run did become competitive. Robertson has a Pumpkin Run folder with names of students who had the best times. Andrew Brodsky leads for the boys with 4:35 in 2001, Marley Byrne leads the girls with 5:29 in 2008.

Students who had the best times the year before are invited back to lead the run.

“They wear black shirts with big pumpkins on their backs. So it looks like kids are chasing pumpkins,” Robertson said.

— Bonnie Washuk

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