Why we amble…
The Ammonoosuc Amble – celebrating community for 25 years!
It’s hard to believe, but its been a quarter of a century since Ammonoosuc Health Service’s premier fundraising event – the Ammonoosuc Amble– has begun. What started as a small fundraiser has now grown to become one of the region’s signature races, hosting nearly 250 people on its five-mile course through picturesque Franconia and Bethlehem, NH and raising approximately $10-$15,000 each year.
At this year’s event, held April 28th, we hosted 92 runners, 92 walkers and 30 kids, and raised just under $10,000 between registration, the raffle and sponsorships. The “Amble” as it’s affectionately referred to, has benefited a variety of health and wellness initiatives over the years. Since 2015, funds have gone directly to ACHS’ Miles for Smiles program which provides financial assistance to patients who need dental assistance and are unable to afford it – patients such as J.B. from North Haverhill, NH.
Proceeds from Miles for Smiles benefit patients like J.B.
A few years ago, J.B. was diagnosed with debilitating asthma, which impacted her ability to work full-time. As a result, her medical and household bills began to mount. She found herself in a position, where she just couldn’t make ends meet. She also had a painful issue with her tooth and her car needed an essential repair. She had to decide, fix her car or her tooth?
Fortunately, because she qualified for ACHS’ sliding fee, she didn’t have to choose. ACHS was able to fix her tooth without breaking the bank and J.B. was able to get the care she desperately needed. Today, she is back to work and has the confidence to smile again.
In 2016, ACHS Oral & Dental Health Center saw over 1,100 patients – 37% of them had no dental insurance. With the help of the Miles for Smiles program ACHS was able to provide over $400,000 in sliding dental fees, which went directly to patients. Proceeds from the Ammonoosuc Amble help support this fund.
“The Ammonoosuc Amble has really grown”, said Michelle Routhier, who has worked for ACHS for the past 20 years and participates at the registration table at the Amble. “It has been amazing to see more and more people come, and so cool to see many of the same people year after year.”
“Folks from all around head to the Amble!”
Perhaps it’s because the Amble coincides with start of spring that folks from around the region turn out for the event. After a long winter, it’s time to stretch those legs, meet with friends and get some fresh air! Participants come from all around New England as far north as British Colombia, Canada and as far as Cape Cod in the south. The event also hosts all ages and levels of abilities. One runner, Aubriella Murray from Vermont, has been running the Amble for several years with her dad. In 2016, at nine years old, she beat her personal best completing the five-mile race in 48:48. The run is sanctioned by US Track & Field (USATF) and for many, the uphill race through Franconia is no easy challenge. “Those hills are a doozy” said race director Bruce Brekke.
Bruce, who has been the race director for nearly a decade keeps things running smoothly and organized at the event. The race is open to runners and walkers and there is also a ¼ mile kids fun run. “There’s really something for everyone.”, he said. “You can walk or run. There’s great food. Super prizes and terrific community camaraderie.”
This year’s Ammonoosuc Amble’s 25th Anniversary was sponsored by Consolidated Communications, local banks and dozens of area businesses and organizations. The winning runners and walkers were as follows:
- Men’s First Place Runner – Anthony Pifari at 29:39.3
- Women’s Runner – Meagan Boucher at 30:35.2
- Men’s Walker – Charles Coy at 1:05:09.3
- Women’s Walker – Pam Palmer at 1:00:29
Jill Kimball and Carol Hemenway along with members of ACHS Board of Directors coordinated this year’s event. “It takes a village”, Jill said. “We have oodles of organizers from work and the community who help out with everything from food (there’s a free lunch), to auction prizes and fundraising. We could not have had such a successful event without them.”
2018 Ammonoosuc Amble Female Race winner Meagan Boucher
Photos Courtesy of Dayna Flumerfelt photography