The Louison House Family Life Support Center held its first Bunny Walk, Run, Hop to end Homelessness on Saturday morning, drawing a turnout of approximately 200 walkers and runners.
Both adults and children adorned with bunny ears could be found prepping for the one-mile walk and 5K race on the corner of Main and Holden Streets in North Adams, while the Easter Bunny hopped around, greeting children and motivating participants.
Many of those who signed up for the race did so because of its beneficiary, the Lousion House, a nonprofit homeless shelter in Adams that provides housing and support programs to its residents. It was established in 1990 and has helped more than 3,500 Berkshire County families and individuals.
According to Mark Farrington, chairman of the Louison House board of directors, the event was put on to raise money and awareness. "We're doing it because we need to step up our fundraising," he said.
Farrington added that the city of North Adams was very helpful, other events have been planned, and Executive Director Paul Gage is an asset to the Louison House and great with granting funds.
Farrington said he'd also like the community to learn more about the organization.
"It's for a really good cause and one that's really dear to his heart," said Farrington's wife, Shelby, who ran in the race.
"It's a growing event and we hope to see you back next year," Mayor Richard Alcombright told the crowd at the starting line.
Dawn Klein, from Adams, was drawn to the race for the cause.
"I think the Louison House is such a valuable asset to the community and I just wanted to support that," she said, adding that she would like there to be more awareness of what it does and how many people it helps. "They're just always there, like a beacon."
The same reasons brought out Ryley Gaudreau from North Adams.
Although he has done mud runs in the past, he said this was his first race of this kind.
"It was a fundraiser for a good cause," he said.
Sara Moulton and Amanda Chilson, both from North Adams, ran with their children in strollers; Moulton with her daughter, Abby, and Chilson with her son, Race Chilmor. Lauren Hobbie-Welch, who came from Boston for the event, as well as to see some old friends, joined them.
Chilson said they would absolutely do the event again.
"Hopefully our kids will be running, too," Moulton added.
Farrington has confirmed that the organization plans to hold the race every year on Easter weekend.
"I think it was exceptionally good for our first time," he said, adding that he is hoping for an even better turnout and more going on for next year.
The event concluded with food, beverages, and a live band.
The top five finishers of the Bunny Run 5K race were:
Brian Kirchner of Williamstown, 17:29
Brandon Williams of Pittsfield, 18:39
Lucas Lincoln of Williamstown, 20:06
Jacqueline Shakar of Wilkinsonville, 20:49
Jim Preite of North Adams, 20:49
More race results can be found at www.coolrunning.com.