April marked the 38th running of what some call the “Ramble”, “The Joyce”, “The Actor Race” or “Hanley’s hubris” although it was actually its 40th anniversary of existence.
We did all the preparatory work for it to be run in 2020 and then again in 2021 before we were stopped in our tracks due to the public health emergency. It was suggested by more than a few that it might be a good time to gracefully call it a wrap as the event financials didn’t make much sense to anyone who didn’t have a deep emotional stake in the race.
Most of the operational costs of the Ramble were put on credit cards to be paid off months after the event, our only choice if we didn’t wish to raise entry fees and discourage participation from cash-strapped runners. Unless the director won the lottery, the prospects were looking bleak.
Last May we were approached by a Maryland company called Total Wine & More who was very much interested in being a presenting sponsor which gave us as they say, a new lease of life after having no sponsor for seven years. It was with that pledged support we were able to go forward with a successful bid to host three more years of the USATF National Masters 10 km Championship. We look forward to their store opening in Dedham over the next several weeks.
The conditions, cool and damp last month were perhaps not ideal for spectating, but it was perfect for establishing two American distance records, one of which has stood for over twenty years on the challenging course that our runners love so much for its beauty if not for its varying elevation.
Some of the best athletes from across the country are effusive in telling us they look forward to returning each year to enjoy the hospitality of Dedham residents and volunteers on Ramble Race Weekend.
Our mission has evolved to promote fitness for older Americans in a nation impacted by serious health issues caused by societal changes in diet and lifestyles. The Ramble is also a proponent of living and doing business in Dedham, a coming together as a community no matter one’s political point of view with a proven record of working across the board with all people.
Again, Dedham residents of all ages and abilities were involved in the 10 km, the North Star Children’s Ramble and the cherished Dedham Savings’ “Take A Walk” under the steady and loving, proud stewardship of the Stanley family.
The bedrock of our race like any other civic event is good will. That encompasses the camaraderie of volunteers, the kindness of neighbors who tolerate with good humor the inconvenience of closed roads, the homeowners on the course who improvise water tables, the dedicated men and women who work at the Department of Public Works, The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department, Dedham Police and Fire, Parks & Recreation and the New England office of USA Track & Field and our many theatre students from Noble & Greenough and the scores of student volunteers from Ursuline Academy, Dedham High School and St. Sebastian’s.
Allow us to express appreciation to A Tent for Rent, Blue Ribbon Barbeque, Café Fresh Bagel, The Stafford Family, Noble & Greenough School, Hertz Rentals, Bellagio Pizza, Dedham Savings , Poland Springs, Get Fused, Visi-Flash, Thirsty Irish Running Club, Parkway Running Club, Dennis Brennan and the True Vines band Jack’s Abby Brewing, The Publick House, Dedham Times, Walley Insurance Co., Cocktails, Inc., The Total Image, KTK Sound, Dedham Country Day School, Blue Bunny Bookstore, Dedham Square Circle, and the Gustin and McKenna families.
Recognize please too the organization that endures at times the blundering race director; the Ramble Organizing Committee which includes Administrator Denise Nolan & Nancy Samya, supported by Neil Shelly, Lou Falcone, Henri Gough, Rob Naser, Bernie Chirokas, Sheila & Kevin Longval, Dan Hart, Peter, Paul and Janet Reynolds, Steve Vaitones, Bob Stanley, Nick Spada, and Art Director Richard Sullivan and so many others whose names we didn’t catch on the 16 hour Ramble day.
Contemplative planning is underway in anticipation of the James Joyce Ramble’s 39th (or depending upon how you look at it, the 41st) anniversary on April 28, 2024 and hope even more of you will play a part.
“While you have a thing it can be taken from you…..but when you give it, you have given it. no robber can take it from you. It is yours then forever when you have given it. It will be yours always. That is to give.” -J. Joyce
Love to one and all,
James Joyce Ramble