Ironstone Derby: May 3 race/walk/party for local nonprofit

The first 300 walkers and runners are guaranteed to receive a Ironstone Derby T-shirt.
The first 300 walkers and runners are guaranteed to receive a Ironstone Derby T-shirt.

Thoroughbred horses won’t be the only ones running on the day of the Kentucky Derby. Ironstone Farm in Andover is launching a new road race, the Ironstone Derby, on May 3, as a fundraiser for its nonprofit organization that helps children with special needs, combat veterans and others. Dozens of Tewksbury residents use the farms programs and dozens more volunteer their time there.

The Ironstone Derby will be a 5-mile run and 2-mile walk through Lowell, beginning and ending at LeLacheur Park, the home of the Lowell Spinners baseball team, a Single A Red Sox affiliate. After the races, people will be able to play games and watch the Kentucky Derby on the giant centerfield video screen. People have the opportunity to enjoy an all-you-can eat barbecue feast.

There is a special promo code for teams of people (companies, clubs, schools, families) attending the event together. People can receive it by sending an email to ironstone@surfglobal.net.

There will be a fun run inside the park for kids, ending at the Spinners dugout, with other children’s activities, including a chance to make and race your own stick horses. Concessions will be open, and children running the fun run will receive a coupon for free food.

The 5-mile race will be a timed, USATF certified event.

The slogan for the Saturday, May 3 event is “Run for the Roses. Stay for the Party.” People can run the race, come to the party or do both. People can sign up at https://raceroster.com/events/2014/2403/ironstone-derby or by clicking the “Register for the Ironstone Derby” button on the www.ironstonefarm.org website. Teams looking for the special promo code should email ironstone@surfglobal.net.

Ironstone Farm is home to two nonprofits that use horseback riding and a farm environment to provide therapy helping children and adults with a wide range of disabilities. Additional therapeutic programs improve the lives of others, including veterans returning with post-traumatic stress, survivors of cancer, teens at risk and elders with memory issues.

For the race, Ironstone Farm has partnered with Dave McGillivray’s company DMSE, which also directs the Boston Marathon and, locally, events such as the Feaster Five Road Race in Andover.

“Every time I visit Ironstone Farm, I continue to be touched and in awe of the work they do and the results they generate. Just to see the smiles on the faces of these children receiving therapy on these beautiful horses is priceless. You can’t help but want to be part of this special environment,” says running legend Dave McGillivray. “The Ironstone Derby will give everyone an opportunity to support the wonderful work being done at the Farm while having a lot of fun by being involved in this unique and exciting road racing experience.”

“The ‘Run for the Roses – Stay for the Party’ event is a really important fundraiser for Ironstone Farm.  We hope that it will bring new people into our ‘family’ – and we are so grateful to the Lowell Spinners and DMSE Sports for all their help to make it possible!” says Ironstone Farm Executive Director Deedee O’Brien.

The 5-mile and 2-mile events cost $35. The kids race on the playing field is $15. Clubs, companies, schools and families are encouraged to build teams of 10 or more runners or walkers.

Teams can email ironstone@surfglobal.net to receive a special promo code allowing team members to attend both the race/walk and all-you-can-eat barbecue for $45/person, or just the race for $20/person. With a special promo code available by emailing ironstone@surfglobal.net, families of four can attend both the race and Gator Pit barbecue for $100 (or $25 per person).

Prizes will be awarded to teams showing the most team spirit and raising the most money for Ironstone. People will be able to enjoy a party at the park and watch the Kentucky Derby for free on the park’s large centerfield screen after the road race.

Individuals who raise or donate at least $100 will receive a wristband to enjoy a barbecue dinner in the stadium’s Gator Pit. Those who raise or donate $100 will receive one wristband, $150 earns two wristbands, $200 gets three wristbands and those who raise $250 will receive four.  

About Ironstone

More than 200 people volunteer their time each week to help keep Ironstone Farm’s programs running strong. Clients come from more than 90 communities in Greater Boston, the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire.

Top doctors and major medical institutions refer clients to Ironstone Farm because of its successful programs and reputation.

Peter Raffalli, attending physician for child neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital, is a member of the Ironstone Therapy board. He became aware of Ironstone in the 1990s, from patients who lauded the program. He so believes in the program that during one three-year stretch he was at the farm virtually every Saturday, dressed as a clown to entertain the children.

“Therapeutic riding uses the horse to deliver traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapy in a unique way - providing integration of fine motor, gross motor, speech and sensory integration in one experience,” says Dr. Raffalli.

For more information about Ironstone Farm’s nonprofit programs visit www.ironstonefarm.org.


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