Harvest Hustle Cold But Fun

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Photo by Lester Smith

After managing several other challenges, kids climb through a pair of big pipes in the Harvest Hustle obstacle run. An earlier run, with fewer obstacles, was limited to kids five and under.

At Bruce Park on November 10, the Suffield Elementary School’s PTO held their third annual Harvest Hustle, whose events began encouragingly at 10 o’clock in increasing sunshine and concluded at noon in strong wind gusts following darkened skies and a cold, very windy sleet storm. Something like 150 kids participated, and of course there were lots of young parents, along with a bunch of high schoolers who helped set up equipment and put things away hastily in the final wind.

There were two obstacle runs, one for five-and-unders and a second, with additional obstacles, for all ages. The challenges were set up with props provided by the Land Warrior CrossFit studio. As the weather deteriorated, many younger families left. Some, however, stayed, and some surprisingly young runners were among the nearly fifty who participated in the “5K run.” Several runners were able to measure the length of the circuitous route (around a wide perimeter of Bruce Park, across the timber bridge over Devine Brook and around a good deal of the high school property, then back around some of the Park again) and agreed it was 2.65 miles. That’s 4.26K.

The cold winds came soon after the start of the run, accompanied quickly by rain and driving sleet. The storm had quieted by the time the run was over (but the cold remained). The first finisher was Jesse Howes of Suffield, timed at 17:00, followed soon by Timothy Tkacz, 13, and then, in third place, Dr. Howes’ son Donovan Koukal-Kollie, also 13. Howes is an experienced runner, having competed in many events, including several 100-mile races! And both of the boys are members of the Suffield Middle School cross-country team. The Hustle run was a togetherness affair for the Howes family, and Caitlin Howes finished with daughter Addy, 9, later in the pack. The first female finisher was Natalie Crocker, at 21:40.

Photo by Lester Smith

Donovan Koukal-Kollie and Timothy Tkacz finished third and second, respectively in Harvest Hustle’s “5K Run” event.

Chris Kellogg of 94.9 WMAS (SHS Class of 1990) was the announcer and D. J. for the Harvest Hustle. Hot chocolate and donuts were available, along with energy bars and lots of bananas. Plenty of raffle prizes were awarded. About a hundred blue T-shirts were sold or delivered from advance orders.

Lisa Hayward and Meg Van Cott, the committee that organized the PTO event, managed things well, in spite of the weather. They said they were very pleased with how the event turned out and thankful for the excellent participation from contributors, especially Dunkin’ Donuts and Highland Park Market. Events such as these help the PTO support special activities in the Suffield elementary schools.

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