The Ducky Dash 5K is one of those small town races that flies under the radar for most people other than the locals and vigilant vacationers. The race brings in a crowd of around 75 people who are each given an entry into the annual Allens Pond Duck Derby. The duck derby is put on as a fundraiser for Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary which brings in $60,000 each year that is put towards conservation efforts, educational programs, and advocacy for the environment. Every entry into the duck derby has a chance to win one of 40+ prizes including the grand prize of a paid dinner anywhere in the world, round trip airfare, and two nights of lodging. The Ducky Dash 5K organizers offer up additional duck entries for the derby to each of the 5K overall male and female winners as well as the winners of each age group.
The race heads out from Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport, Ma and heads down East Beach Road towards Gooseberry Island. This section of the course greets you with a face full of wind as you run along the shoreline. After crossing the causeway, a quick trip around the dirt parking lot sends the race back towards the sanctuary with the wind at your back. This year’s race took place in some sweltering early morning heat and high humidity which gave my post Ironman body a hard time trying to find any kind of speed. Despite the level of discomfort I was having I managed to hold off one of Pennsylvania’s up and coming high school athletes (who already has a faster mile and 2-mile time than I can claim) for the win. This year, the awards for the overall male and female winners consisted of beautiful handmade pieces that capture the essence of the the wildlife sanctuary and gave me some extra motivation to run fast enough to take one of them home.
This race brings me back to when I was a student at UMass Dartmouth and the memories I created as club president and trip leader of the Outdoors Club. Every year I would spend time enjoying the spectacular ocean-side views, walking the wildlife trails, or helping clean up the beach. Now that I’ve graduated, I enjoy participating in this race as a way to continue giving back to the community and take in a breath of the salty air. With a little bit of luck, my rubber ducks and I will get the opportunity to dine anywhere we would like!