Writer recalls founding of Arnold Mills 4th race

Writer recalls founding of Arnold Mills 4th race

I enjoyed your June 28 story on the Arnold Mills Road Race. Kudos to Tom Kenwood for his long tenure as racing director and to the many volunteers who have kept the race going, making it one of the oldest races in Rhode Island.

The inception of the race starts with a group of Cumberland High School cross-country runners. Tom Grundy, Ron and Rick Mitchell, and I were planning to train over the summer to prepare for the fall cross-country season. We were looking for some races to enter but there were few races in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. So we thought why not create our own race and tie it in with the July Fourth parade in Arnold Mills? My dad was on the parade committee, and with the Mitchell’s dad got approval to run the race prior to the parade. Our group selected the route, received AAU sanction, and got volunteers to help with logistics on race day. We needed our coach, Harry Gederman, since he had a stopwatch and he was more than happy to help. It was a real do-it-yourself affair.

Less than 30 runners toed the line that morning in 1969, but we attracted some top talent from the region. At the finish, each runner was handed a tongue depressor numbered with the runner’s position and the times were hand recorded; no timing services back then. It’s now a tradition almost as much as the parade and I’m sure Tom Kenwood will be handing off the race director duties to capable hands for many more races to come.

James Clarke Jr.

Weymouth, Mass.