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Annual Hot Chocolate Run raises record amount

  • Runners take off to start the Hot Chocolate Run Sunday, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Runners take off to start the Hot Chocolate Run Sunday, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hundreds of people were able to enjoy free Hot Chocolate following the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Hundreds of people were able to enjoy free Hot Chocolate following the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass student Frank May ponders how he will drink his Hot Chocolate with his costume on after the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    UMass student Frank May ponders how he will drink his Hot Chocolate with his costume on after the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Route 9 in Northampton was a sea of people Sunday for the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Route 9 in Northampton was a sea of people Sunday for the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Onlookers searching for a better view survey the Hot Chocolate Run from the parking garage in downtown Northampton Sunday, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS<br/>

    Onlookers searching for a better view survey the Hot Chocolate Run from the parking garage in downtown Northampton Sunday, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.
    JOSH KUCKENS
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Smith College cheerleaders perform a routine before the Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton on Sunday, a benefit for Safe Passage which helps victims of domestic violence and their families. JOSH KUCKENS

    Smith College cheerleaders perform a routine before the Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton on Sunday, a benefit for Safe Passage which helps victims of domestic violence and their families. JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Expandable Brass Band entertained the crowd before the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    The Expandable Brass Band entertained the crowd before the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Runners take off to start the Hot Chocolate Run Sunday, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Hundreds of people were able to enjoy free Hot Chocolate following the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • UMass student Frank May ponders how he will drink his Hot Chocolate with his costume on after the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Route 9 in Northampton was a sea of people Sunday for the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Onlookers searching for a better view survey the Hot Chocolate Run from the parking garage in downtown Northampton Sunday, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS<br/>
  • Smith College cheerleaders perform a routine before the Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton on Sunday, a benefit for Safe Passage which helps victims of domestic violence and their families. JOSH KUCKENS
  • The Expandable Brass Band entertained the crowd before the Hot Chocolate Run, a fundraiser for Safe Passage, an organization that helps women in abusive relationships transition to a healthy new life.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

The money represents about 20 percent of the annual budget for the organization, which helps victims of domestic violence and their families, said Executive Director Marianne Winters. It will enable Safe Passage to build up its capacity for preventing domestic violence, she said.

“They really rise to the occasion,” she said of the participants. “I’m feeling so lucky today that this community is so supportive and concerned and active. Northampton has a real community spirit and that’s really showing in this event. It’s a community that truly cares about people.”

Last year’s Hot Chocoate Run brought in $165,000, Winters said. The run began nine years ago with 400 people signing up, and this year some runners and walkers had to be turned away because city officials said that 5,500 people was the most it could accommodate, she said.

The men’s top finisher in the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race was Sonny Gamble, 24, of Gloucester, at 15:58, a speed just over five minutes a mile. Frank May, 23, of Franklin was second at 16:13, and Orlando Cordero, 22, of Springfield was third at 16.32.

The woman’s winner was Katie Chaput, 27, of Mount Hermon, at 17:36, followed by Natalie Mako, 17, of South Deerfield at 18:28 and Sarah Romain, 28, of Easthampton at 18:51.

The race, which Winters said is probably the biggest in the Pioneer Valley, started and ended at Roundhouse Plaza. It took six or seven minutes for all the runners and walkers to cross the starting line, she said. Adults paid $27 to participate, and the entry fee for students was $18.

Race organizers made 500 gallons of hot chocolate to give to the runners. They received donated milk from Our Family Farm, and cocoa, sugar and vanilla from Northampton Coffee. It was mixed together in a beer vat at Northampton Brewery on Saturday and stirred with a kayak paddle, Winters said. Roller derby league members on skates gave mugs to the runners as they passed the finish line, she said.

Safe Passage shelters people escaping dangerous relationships and provides community services and legal support, Winters said.

“For us to be able to address the needs of survivors of domestic violence, this means more families will have a safe place to sleep and their families will be supported as they rebuild their lives after violence,” she said.

The run began as a way to recoup funding lost from government budget cuts, she said. The money it provides has fewer restrictions on it, and can be used for prevention programs, she said.

The money raised at the run will enable Safe Passage to work with schools, colleges and community groups to prevent domestic violence, Winters said.

“We need to put some more resources into having an impact on the problem itself as well as the aftermath of the problem,” she said.

As for the Hot Chocolate Run, the outpouring of community support was heartening, she said.

“We’re floored and excited and thrilled that we’ll be able to move to our plans for extension of the program,” she said.

Related

Safe Passage looks to expand protective services for women

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NORTHAMPTON — Gail Kielson has been working hard to put herself out of a job for almost 30 years. Kielson, the president of the board of Safe Passage, the Northampton nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence and their families, hopes for a time when such an organization is no longer needed. With community support and fundraising efforts like its …

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