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On the Run: Running family’s strong showing epitomizes Be Kind 5K spirit


Can you imagine how heartwarming it would be to approach the finish line of a 5K race and have your two young boys, ages 9 and 10, waiting for you at the finish line?

Oh, and by the way, they ran the 3.1 miles, too, and were standing there several minutes patiently anticipating dad’s arrival.

That’s what Stan Brownell of Lansdale experienced last Saturday at the second annual Be Kind 5K at Holicong Park and surrounding roads in Buckingham Township.

Stan, 45, ran a very credible 23:42 (7:37 per-mile pace) but was no match for 9-year-old Alric or 10-year-old Avery.

Alric completed the course in a sparkling 19:47 and his brother, Avery, was right behind him at an equally impressive 19:59.

The reunion at the finish line epitomized the spirit of the second annual Be Kind 5K, which is part of the popular Bucks 5K Series. There’s a strong emphasis on family fun.

More than a combined 500 runners in either the featured 5K or 1-mile fun run turned out on a cloudy, windy day, which barely made it into the 50s.

Poor weather conditions were of little concern to these dedicated runners, who came from far and wide to take part in the event.

Both Brownell boys attend Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Middle School in Montgomeryville and look forward to the Bucks 5K Series races.

“I can’t keep up with them anymore,” Stan said with a smile. “They’re on their own at this point.”

Avery ran his first 5K when he was just 6 years old. He runs track and cross country at MMR and plans to compete in those sports when he reaches high school.

The boys were all smiles when dad ran his last few steps of the race. This is old hat by now.

“I don’t push them,” Stan said. “I don’t tell them they have to go out and do it. They run track and cross country. They started pretty early and run with their friends.”

If the boys need any more incentive, dad explains to them good running can lead to a college scholarship.

Proceeds from the race benefit Kin Wellness and Support Center in Furlong, which supports the Bucks County cancer community. Last year’s race raised more than $20,000.

Be Kind 5K and Kin director Keith Fenimore was gratified by a strong turnout despite the elements.

“The Kin Center, it’s centered around resilience,” Fenimore said. “And it’s centered around people who dig deep and do what they have to do. That translated out here today on our 5K.

“It wasn’t the most ideal situation with 25 miles-per-hour gusts but everyone came out here. Everyone was smiling and we had another great event. We raised a lot of money for the cancer community and that’s why we do it.”

The Be Kind race changed its course this year. The 2023 version was contained within Holicong Park. This year it moved out onto the roads with equal success.

“The runners in this area ... not only is this a beautiful, picturesque place to run, it’s the amount of people who live here and appreciate the beauty,” Fenimore said. “I saw a lot of that today. A lot of people were really happy to run here and they like the new course. It means we’re doing something right and we’re going to keep on doing it.

“I noticed a lot of people finished smiling. I think the more you smile, the faster you run. So it must work. I want to thank the race committee and our more than 45 volunteers. We’re eternally grateful.”

Finish Lines

Alex Izewski, brother of U.S. men’s Olympic Trials eighth-place finisher Josh, won the men’s title. He’s overcome a serious car accident in 2022 which left him a compound fracture of his right tibia ... Kellie Shimer, who’s run a marathon in all 50 U.S. states, took the women’s crown ... New Britain’s Nancy Smith posted an age-graded score of 88.43.

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