Hillsborough Resolution Run 5K: A community tradition for 23 years


Some 545 runners, joggers and walkers hit the pavement from the Hillsborough Municipal Building for the annual Hillsborough Resolution Run 5K, a tradition for 23 years.

Resolution Run, which takes place on New Year’s Day, was the brainchild of runner and triathlete Gary Verhoorn who wanted to host an event that drew together all segments of the community and would offer an opportunity to kick off their New Year with a focus on fitness, according to a press release.

Verhoorn saw the opportunity to not only host a great race, but also to provide much needed funding for the annual Hillsborough High School Project Graduation celebration and so a partnership was built that has helped sustain both events for well over two decades.

Resolution Run has always been a true community effort and this year the race was pleased to extend premier sponsorship to several local organizations including the Kugel-Briegs Group at Merrill Lynch, Patricia Carragher Attorney at Law, ReMax Preferred Professional Real Estate expert Diane Schilke, The Hillsborough Youth Services Commission, Impact Training, and The Ernest and Constance V. Richmond Foundation.

Other sponsors included: Schilke Construction, Van Cleef Engineering Associates, Flounder Brewing, Hillsborough Podiatry, Just Subs, Hillsborough ShopRite, Pinnacle Fitness, Image Glass, Nielsen Financial Group, John & Dottie Cassimatis, StrengthCondition.com, Petrock’s Bar & Grill and AthletiFreak Fitness Apparel. Racers also took pledges and the race collected over $1,100 in donations for Hillsborough’s Community Action Network (CAN) also known as the Food Bank.

Hillsborough High School Project Graduation Chairwoman Kacey Kowalchuk accepted a check for $10,000 raised from the race.

“Project Graduation is a huge tradition at Hillsborough High School and one that is not only fun but potentially saves lives,” she said. “We want to host an event that is diverse and exciting so that every student can’t wait to attend. The funds raised by the Resolution Run are critical to that mission.”

Project Graduation is part of a nationally recognized program whose goal is to provide a drug and alcohol-free celebration of life on graduation night, while giving seniors a positive sendoff. One-third of those younger than 21 who die in car accidents lose their lives during graduation season. In a 2010 poll, 79% of seniors admitted that teens were more likely to drink and drive on graduation night.

Hillsborough’s Project Graduation is a completely inclusive, no-fee event for the senior class held on the night of commencement where the new graduates can spend the night with classmates and friends, celebrating safely.

Another beneficiary of Resolution Run included Rock Steady Boxing (RSB), a unique program organized in Hillsborough by Barbara Kelly, focused on improving symptoms and quality of life in people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This organization is “very near to the heart” of Verhoorn, who lives with Parkinson’s.

“We will be utilizing the funds for meeting programming needs, as well as towards our scholarship fund for those that might not otherwise be able to afford to ‘fight back,'” Kelly said. “These donations are so essential for supporting what we do at Rock Steady Boxing and for the Parkinson’s community. I’d like to thank all those involved for all the hard work in organizing the Resolution Run, and making it such a success. It’s a great inclusive community event. I’d also like to thank our very own RSB fighter, Gary Verhoorn, for inspiring all of our coaches, volunteers, and boxers to ‘never give up.'”

This year, the race again offered both an in-person and virtual option. Race Director Courtney Newman said, “This is one of my favorite events to direct as there is just something special about the community being together to start the new year off in such a healthy way.”

Ninety-two medals were awarded by gender, age group and finish placement. The youngest runners this year were 4 and the oldest just shy of 94, proving that you are never too young or too old to get out and do something great for your body, and for your community, Newman said.

For more information visit resolutionrun.org. To learn more about Rock Steady Boxing or to donate go to www.facebook.com/RockSteadyBoxingHillsborough. To learn more about Hillsborough’s Project Graduation and to volunteer or donate www.hhsprojectgraduation.org.