Chestertown Runners Group Takes Off

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Lisa and Jay Yerkes

Lisa and Jay Yerkes

Jay Yerkes is excited about Chestertown’s new sense of momentum. And he continues to help perpetuate it.

“We have some great leadership in place at both the town, county, and the college level. People are moving here to build homes and there’s a resurgence in downtown businesses,” he notes.

Kent County might not be fully out from under the shadows of the recession, but Yerkes feels that a new sense of “community” is evolving and real traction for new businesses is underway.

“It’s interesting to experience this. I’m seeing more of the “shop local” mentality and a new awakening of pride in moving the community forward. There’s a lot going on, from the marina and public arts to the college,” he says.

Yerkes, a Chestertown native and President of Yerkes Construction Company, has long been involved with community charitable endeavors. Recently he donated time and materials to replace the Washington College “Pub House” roof which had been leaking and interfering with the student work taking place there.

Spreading the holiday spirit he also helped the college’s Habitat for Humanity group renovate Santa’s House for downtown Chestertown.

As an avid runner with a willingness to take an active role in shaping the town’s future, founding a new activity comes easy. At a recent Cancer Awareness fundraiser he discussed the idea of starting a runners group with fellow health and fund-raising enthusiast Thad Bench, President of Benchworks.

Chestertown Runners group was born the next day.

“We’ve adopted the Rail to Trails program as the first focus of our group’s efforts. We want to help keep the trail in top shape,” he says.

Now with almost 180 participants and an active Facebook page used daily to plan events and inspire each other, the group is growing and invites everyone from beginners to seasoned runners.

One message today on Facebook—December 23— from Samantha Holloman is typical of the contagious interest in promoting runs. It reads, “Rails to Trails 5k-ish, 8am Wilmer Park start, Weds Dec 24th!! Rain, snow, sleet or Florida-style sunshine, it’s on! Join me & my boys!”

She received thumbs-up responses.

Along with with the Chestertown Runners events, Yerkes is working with The Kent Center’s Running/Walking Club to offer the same running opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities. “I love working with the Kent Center club. It’s emotional, powerful stuff. They want to get out there, sweat, work and succeed along with the rest of us,”he says.

The Kent Center Running/Walking Club usually meets in Wilmer Park on Fridays at 9:00am.

“Right now we’re putting together our application for non-profit status. That will help our mission to become a strong community charitable organization,” Yerkes says.

Runners are invited every Saturday to Wilmer Park. The long run begins at 6:30am and the short run joins the last leg of the long run at 8am.

“This really is for everyone. Even if you haven’t done any running at all, you’ll get a lot of support here. We have a rule: run until it hurts, walk until you’re bored,” he quips.

For more information about the Kent Center Programs, go here. Or call: 410-778-7303

For more information about the Chestertown Runners Groups go to their Facebook page and join! Questions may also be left on their Facebook page. Or call Jay at 443-480-3047.

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