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The youngsters in last year’s race get off to a good start.

Part 1 of a 2-part story

SHIRLEY — If the leaves are starting to change, it must be nearly time for the Shirley Educational Foundation’s annual “Ready, SEF, Go!” 5K and 2K Trail Run/Walk through Holdenwood, a beautiful piece of property owned by Dave Holden, adjacent to the Shirley Town Common.

A free “Day of Play” will follow the event, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 3.

This year’s race begins and ends at the Common, located at 41 Brown Road in Shirley Center. Registration on race day begins at 8 a.m., but advance registration can be done online at, where a search for “Ready, SEF, Go!” will bring would-be runners and walkers to the correct page for registration. A description and information on the race can also be found at

The fee for the race is $10 for children up to 12; $20 for ages 13 to 64; and free for anyone age 65 or older. There is a cap of $50 per family.

Race T-shirts are available for all registrations received by Sept. 17.

The five race categories for both males and females are: overall; ages 0-18; 19-29; 30-54; 55-plus. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in each age category.

All proceeds from the event go to the Shirley Educational Foundation (SEF), an independent, volunteer 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to enhancing educational excellence in the public schools of Shirley through the sponsorship of academic challenges, and the awarding of grants for creative programs, instructional resources, and innovative materials.

According to Trail Run Director Kristan Burpo, SEF is still accepting sponsors for the trail run at the $200 through $1,000 levels. Those interested in becoming a sponsor can reach Burpo at, or 978-425-5075.

“What makes this trail run a special event, besides what it funds, is the beauty of the Holdenwood property,” said Mrs. Burpo’s husband, John, at a recent SEF meeting in their home.

“It’s such a beautiful course — probably the most beautiful one I’ve ever run,” he said. The couple and their friends Sarah and Jason Rakip became so captivated by the event that they have taken on the task of organizing it this year.

“It’s also a great community event,” said Kristan Burpo. “It brings people together from many of the surrounding towns.”

She said that a percentage of the proceeds from the race will go to the Play Board of Shirley’s fund for new elementary school playground equipment.