The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Penmen for Patriots 5K. Courtesy of Michael McGandy.

Penmen for Patriots 5K

When: Saturday, Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m. (race day registration is from 8 to 10 a.m.; online registration closes on Friday, Nov. 11, at noon)
Where: Begins and ends at the Student Center of Southern New Hampshire University, 2500 N. River Road, Manchester
Cost: $25 general registration, and $20 for SNHU students, military personnel and veterans

Vet run
Penmen for Patriots 5K returns to SNHU for second year

By Matt Ingersoll

 Run, party and give back to those who’ve served — that’s the idea behind the Penmen for Patriots 5K.

Retired Army colonel and Southern New Hampshire University Veteran Support Services Coordinator Michael McGandy organized the first Penmen for Patriots 5K to give students and the community a chance to support veterans. 
“We wanted to do some stuff that was open to the community and not just to our students, and were also looking for a tie-in to our Veterans Week celebration,” McGandy said. “I happen to be an avid runner myself, so we decided to go with [a race].”
The second annual event will be held rain or shine on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 10:30 on the SNHU campus.
All proceeds will benefit Veterans Count, a program of Easter Seals New Hampshire that provides financial assistance to local service members and their families.
“Veterans Count started out as a partnership with the New Hampshire Army National Guard to help soldiers during the post-deployment process,” McGandy said. “Now they do substance abuse counseling, financial counseling and psychological counseling … and one of the things that I’ve found compelling about them is that if you look at their financials, close to 90 percent of the money they receive actually goes directly to veterans rather than other things like administrative fees.”
McGandy said past events with partnerships between Veterans Count and SNHU have included dinners and veterans networking workshops on campus. The inaugural Penmen for Patriots 5K in 2015 raised more than $5,200 for Veterans Count, and the goal this year is to surpass that as more runners than last year have already registered.
“It’s a great course, and it’s actually going to be passing some of the new construction sites for the new dorms and the Welcome Center,” McGandy said, “so folks that have never been to SNHU or haven’t in a few years will get to see those new installments. We see this kind of as an opportunity to show the campus off, and of course we welcome walkers as well as runners.”
McGandy said another unique feature that separates the 5K from other late season races is the opportunity to stay warm in the Student Center both before the race and at the post-race party.
“The race physically starts and ends in front of the Student Center, and the post-race party will be in the Last Chapter Pub,” he said. “All runners will be given a tear-off coupon on their running bib that will be redeemable for a free beer or smoothie at the Pub. … One of the cool tie-ins this year is that we’ll have special-ordered beer from Able Ebenezer Brewery in Merrimack. That brewery is veteran-owned and the owner is a SNHU grad.”
Several other local sponsors will also be participating in the post-race party, including Granite Group Benefits, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the VFW, Northeast Delta Dental and more. Millennium Running will be returning to officially time the race for the second consecutive year.
“We have Sodexo, who does all of the food service at SNHU, providing bagels and fruit,” McGandy said. “We’ll also have Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England providing water, Stonyfield Yogurt providing yogurt, and we’ve reached out to the new Whole Foods that just opened in Bedford, and they’ll be providing snacks as well.”
Cash prizes of $150, $50 and $25 will be given out at the party for the first, second and third male and female finishers, as well as medals for the top three division finishers by age and gender. McGandy said the top SNHU student finishers will also receive complimentary prizes like gift cards to the campus bookstore.
Runners can expect a heavy student presence and participation in the management of the race, McGandy said.
“We’ll have three classes on campus that are involved in the race,” he said. “A communications class will be putting together a PR Power Point presentation and report, an introduction to sports management class will be taking care of all of the traditional volunteer stuff on registration day and will be setting food out at the race party as well, and a management class will be designing a survey for all of the runners. … So it’s unique in that it allows our students to get some real-world experience while all still on campus.” 

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