Gorge Aprés Gorge: Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition Supports Nature-Based & Intergenerational Engagement

Gorge Aprés Gorge: Best Little Walk/Run in the Hilltowns

The Sunday morning following your Thanksgiving dinner gorge, rise and shine to join friends and neighbors for the 13th annual Gorge Aprés Gorge run/walk at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA. Community members are invited to embrace winter by being outside with friends and neighbors in a three mile out and back run/walk/bike/snowshoe/ski along the beautiful Westfield River. It’s a free event and all are welcomed! It’s a family affair. 5K at 9:30am. Family walk at 11am.

For the past 13 years, families have gathered together at the Chesterfield Gorge on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to walk, run, and socialize at a community potluck. The Gorge après Gorge Family Fun Walk and 5k run was started by organizers Leslie Charles and Tanya Rapinchuk, as a way to escape from the stress that can accompany the holidays and to get outside and appreciate nature with your friends, family, and neighbors. Charles explains, “I believe community and getting to know each other is the best way forward for humanity. It’s a homegrown event to really benefit everybody. It invites anyone and everyone to join in for a walk or run. It’s a total labor of love inspired by the desire to share the outdoors with our community, make new friends, and gather together.”

It began with just a few dozen people, and has grown over the years as word has spread about this wonderful family-oriented event.

“I have attended every Gorge Aprés Gorge these past 13 years,” says Hilltown Families Founder and West Chesterfield resident, Sienna Wildfield. “The Chesterfield Gorge, the Westfield River, and families from around the region make this event as special part of our community tradition. It offer a way we can support a sense of place through engagement with these amazing community treasures!”

Last year, over 200 people showed up to exercise outside together and enjoy the unique offerings of this event. The community potluck after the run and walk, the hand-knit and crocheted hat prizes for the top runners, and the edible cookie medals for the race finishers make this a walk & run unlike any other. The hand-made hats even come from people as far away as California!

Sally Loomis, Executive Director of Hilltown Land Trust, said “Hilltown Land Trust is thrilled to be co-sponsoring this wonderful event. Gorge après Gorge brings the hilltown community together and gets folks outside at a time of year when people often retreat indoors. And we are so grateful to Florence Bank for again supporting Gorge après Gorge.”

The run will begin at 9:30am, and the walk at 11am. Stick around afterwards for complementary hot beverages and to enjoy the community potluck. People are encouraged to bring their own mugs, or to buy a reusable one at the event. There will also be a raffle to benefit Hilltown Land Trust.

Runners and walkers can sign up on Runreg.com. Advance registration fees are as follows: for the 5k, $15 individual, $10 for current member of Hilltown Land Trust or The Trustees, FREE for children 9 and under, $40 for family (up to four people); for the walk, FREE, as always. Day of registration fee is $25 for the 5k.

All are welcome! It’s a family affair (no dogs please). Spend time outside with friends, neighbors, and future friends to celebrate the love of life, nature, and running!

This event benefits Hilltown Land Trust and the Zephyr Rapinchuk Memorial Fund. Details can be found on the Gorge après Gorge Facebook. Please contact Katie Carr at Hilltown Land Trust for more information: hltoutreach@thetrustees.org 413-628-4485 ext.#4.

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