Dashing through the snow

  • Peanut Butter Chip Chase Courtesy photo—

  • Peanut Butter Chip Chase Courtesy photo—

  • In the past 40 years, Peanut Butter Chip Chase racers have braved all types of winter weather. Courtesy photo—

  • Peanut Butter Chip Chase Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, December 27, 2017 7:45PM

It takes a hearty individual to get out of bed on New Year’s Day and run a road race. The often frigid, sometimes downright nasty weather of a Jan. 1 morning, mixed, perhaps, with the effects of the previous night’s carousing, create a cocktail not sipped by the faint of heart. And yet for the past 40 years, people have been ringing in the New Year by trotting through the ice and snow on their way to glory – or at least some homemade cookies – at the Peanut Butter Chip Chase.

“I love the community feeling of it and I think that’s what draws people back into it over and over,” said Michele Siegmann of Temple. “We have homemade soups afterwards, homemade cookies, I think that makes it feel more different than the run of the mill, bigger 5Ks.”

What started back in 1978 as a New Year’s Day fun run put on by Doug Porter and friends has turned into a full-fledged community event.

“Just some local guys got together, ran the race and then went and had a party somewhere,” said Joe Cournoyer of the race’s early days. “It was kind of a way to kick off the new year.” Now, it’s not only a big draw – nearly 250 people ran or walked across the finish line at last year’s Chip Chase – it’s also the biggest annual fundraiser for the Souhegan Lions Club, of which Cournoyer is a member.

“It’s a good way to raise money and everybody’s having fun with it,” Cournoyer said. The funds raised at the Peanut Butter Chip Chase go towards Lions’ services such as eyesight care, food pantries, and a scholarship awarded each year to a ConVal, Mascenic or Milford school district student. “It’s always good to be able to give out funds to a needy student.”

No matter the weather, the competition up front can be fierce, as some of the best local runners make it a habit to come out for the race. Last year’s winner was Adam Traffie, who finished first in 18:58.

“In terms of 5Ks, hardly anybody will PR on it,” Siegmann said. The first mile is uphill, indicative of the rolling, hilly course; add ice and snow and it’s far from an ordinary run around the track

“It’s a bit of a challenge for those who don’t usually do 5Ks,” Siegmann said.

A large contingent of participants opt to walk the course, rather than compete for the win, and those groups in the back of the pack have developed their own camaraderie over the years. A bus often makes the trip over from Greenville Estates carrying a load of race fans to spectate. And, of course, after the race, there’s all that homemade soup and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

“I just love it as a runner,” Siegmann said, “that it’s something that we’re doing that’s also promoting being outdoors, fitness, and community – all three of those together.”

The 40th Peanut Butter Chip Chase takes place on Jan. 1 at 12 p.m. starting at the Temple Town Hall. The first 120 registrants will receive a race t-shirt. Register online at g2racereg.webconnex.com/pbcc5k2018 or register in person on race day from 10-11:30 a.m.

A kids’ run around the common precedes the main run.