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By Cody Shepard
September 3, 2018
This Saturday will mark the 42nd season of the Kids Road Races, which are held for eight weeks in the fall and spring at D.W. Field Park.
BROCKTON — Every Saturday for the last 40-plus years, Dave Gorman could be found in the same spot -- fall and spring, rain or shine.
Well, maybe all but one.
“I think I missed one when my son was graduating from college,” he said. “But I think I sort of left late to get there so I was there, but I didn’t stay to finish it.”
On Saturday, about a hundred kids from the city and around the region will gather at D.W. Field Park for the 42nd season of the Kids Road Races.
Gorman and his wife, Judy, have put their blood, sweat and tears into the event for the last four decades. And this Saturday won’t be any different.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years. If I didn’t do it, I don’t know if anyone else would do it,” he said. “I don’t mind doing it, I’m still healthy enough to do it and I like working with the kids.”
The most important thing for Gorman, he said, is to keep the event affordable. When the program started, it cost just a quarter per race. It later increased to 50 cents, then a dollar, where it remains.
“It’s the cheapest thing you can do in Brockton with a kid -- just a dollar a week,” he said. “I said years ago that if I ever had to raise the price over a dollar, I probably wouldn’t do it anymore.”
The races started decades ago as a school program, but were dropped due to funding cuts. That’s when Gorman stepped in. Now, usually 100 to 140 kids take part each week.
The races, which are 2.2 miles around the park, are open to children 14 years old and younger. There are 10 total divisions for boys and girls -- 6 years old and under, 7 and 8 year olds, 9 and 10 year olds, 11 and 12 year olds and 13 and 14 year olds.
The program runs eight weeks each fall, beginning about the first week of school, and in the spring. The first fall race this year is set for Sept. 8 and the last will take place on Oct. 27.
Each week, registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Pentangle parking lot, which is just past Tower Hill. The race begins sharply at 10 a.m.
Children who run at least five weeks in a season receive a trophy at the end of the year. Every week, the first three runners in each category receiving a ribbon. A pizza party is held for all participants at the end of the season.
Parents can pre-register children by emailing Gorman (firstname.lastname@example.org), but can also just show up on the day of a race.
The races are sponsored by Brockton Firefighters Local 144, the Mark Creedon Memorial Race, New Balance, Signature Healthcare, Frank’s restaurant, the Plymouth County district attorney’s office and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald Jr.
“Thousands of kids have come through over the years. I’ve done over 700 road races now,” Gorman said. “Some weeks, we have 105, others 140. It’s not just a Brockton event, they come from all over -- Rhode Island, New Hampshire, the western part of the state. It’s great.”
Back in May, Gorman’s trailer at D.W. Field Park, where he keeps things he needs for the races, was broken into. His megaphone, old T-shirts, pens, cups and other supplies, totaling about $600, were all taken, he said.
Since then, many have stepped forward to make donations and his trusty megaphone has been replaced. At the time, Gorman said it was frustrating as the thieves were “taking from the kids.”
But his spirit remains positive heading into the new season this weekend.
“If anyone wants to come up and make a donation or just watch the races, come on up Saturday,” he said. “It’s a fun time.”