So many to thank for 20 Miler


To the Editor:

Thank you for the recent write-up on the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler and Amity Island Relay (MV Times, Feb. 22 edition). It is always nice to read about an event that helps out so many on the Island. So many individuals, volunteers, and businesses make an event like this possible. Your article mentioned the Oak Bluffs Land & Wharf Co. for the use of their vans to shuttle runners to various points on the course, and back to the boat. You also mentioned J.B. Blau of Eat MV for providing the postrace meal. However, there were so many more Island businesses that deserve recognition.

The Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank’s financial donation offset the cost of the timing company. Island Water Source provided every ounce of water for the runners on and off the course. Santoro Hospitality Group and the Ocean View Restaurant donated clam chowder, a much-needed boost of warmth postrace. Jay’s Septic Service placed 12 units on the course, keeping the athletes happy and relieved along the way. The Clarion Hotel of Martha’s Vineyard, Isabelle’s Beach House, and the Nobnocket Boutique Inn all donated rooms or provided accommodation discounts to our guests. Budget Rental provided the use of a cargo van that was used to transport all the race materials and runners’ drop bags. The Oriental–Martha’s Vineyard Lodge supplied all the folding tables used along the course for our aid stations. I would also like to thank Ralph Packer for allowing us to set up our registration tent on his property opposite the Steamship terminal in Vineyard Haven.

In regard to the aid stations, every water stop was manned by the beneficiaries of this race, and a donation was made to their program for their active participation. Because the focus is youth programs, these volunteers ranged in age from 6 to 18 (with adult supervision). These kids took a hands-on approach for their own benefit. Programs like the MVRHS track and field team, MV Youth Lacrosse, MV Figure Skating Club, the Touchdown Club, MV Hurricanes Youth Running Group, and the main beneficiary, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Hockey, each stood for hours handing runners water and smiling and cheering the whole time. As race director, I could not be more proud of them, and the runners let me know of their appreciation.

The Amity Island Running Club ran the relay exchange point like a pro. So many runners approached me after the race to express their appreciation for their energy, organization, and efficiency at such an integral point in the race. Kudos to them.

Volunteers are the backbone of any fundraiser. They are the “front office” of an event like this, and are the individuals the athletes interact with the most. With almost 100 volunteers, there are too many to list individually: individuals who helped during bib pickup; tent setups; postrace cafeteria setup, maintenance, and cleaning; the sweep vehicle; and the shuttle drivers who provided plenty of entertainment during the van rides back to the boat. Thank you all so very much.

There is one volunteer who should get a special mention: My wife, Samantha. Without her tireless support over the past six months and endless energy on race weekend, I truly believe this event would have suffered without her constant eye for detail. So to her I would like to say, “Thank you.”

A special thank-you also should go to Mother Nature. She did not disappoint this year, with clear skies and mild — yes, 34° is considered mild for New England runners — temperatures.

And thank you to the Island community as a whole. My hope is that this event brings a little bit of tourism dollars and life to our Island home in the off-season.

Todd Cleland
Oak Bluffs