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AYER — Nashoba Valley Medical Center hosted its second annual 5K Hunger Run road race Oct. 1, and had a bigger turnout than last year.

The race is professionally timed by Wilbur Race Systems and certified by the U.S. Track and Field Course Certification Program. The course runs along the back roads of Ayer and Groton. Although the cost to register for the race was $25 for runners and $5 for Half-Mile runners and walkers, each participant was also asked to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Loaves & Fishes.

Last year the race raised over $3,500 and this year has likely raised more.

“We’re still working out the numbers, but it’s expected (that we exceeded) the $4,200 raised,” NVMC marketing assistant Robin Eibye said.

On top of the fundraising, over 350 pounds of food was donated.

Nearly 225 people attended this year’s event and 170 of them took part, which is up from the 125 that participated last year.

Winners of the race included a top three for both men and women. For women, Kristy Bouchie, of Tewksbury, came in first, Kristine Little, of Lowell, came in second, and Nancie Gaj, of Groton, came in third. For men, David Birse, of West Sparta, Tenn., came in first, Jonathan Magsen, of Leominster, came in second, and Christopher Davies, of Ayer, came in third.

Aside from racing, children dressed in their Halloween costumes for the “Spooky Fun Half-Mile Run” while face-painting, pumpkin-decorating, a dance contest and a three-legged race and bouncy house took place at the finish line.

Next year’s race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Follow Julia Kacmarek on Twitter and Tout @JuliaEKacmarek.

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