North Salem Open Land Foundation announces plans for 2nd annual Race for Open Space


Image courtesy of North Salem Open Land Foundation

Lace up those running (or walking) shoes. The second annual “Race for Open Space” returns to Baxter Preserve Sunday, September 18. The family-friendly run/walk raises funds for the North Salem Open Land Foundation, a local nonprofit that works to maintain nearly 30 preserves and trails for public use.

North Salem Open Land Foundation members, friends and supporters are welcome and encouraged to participate. Individuals and/or teams can choose from a Kids Fun Run, 5K Race of 4K Run/Walk.

Following last year’s inaugural race, NSOLF plans to make this year’s event bigger and better. “The Race for Open Space can be a marquee event for us, and can also be a great running opportunity for trail runners,” said John Baker, new executive director of NSOLF. Himself a runner, Baker said he is looking forward to helping facilitate incremental improvements to the race to make it a must-do for both community members and competitive racers.

Funds raised from last year's race went toward invasive species removal at Baxter and Bloomerside preserves, as well as general stewardship throughout NSOLF lands. This year, funds will support more general maintenance and land stewardship work and may also support the purchase of lumber to repair and replace bridges and boardwalks, fund the hiring of seasonal employees and more. “It’s broad, but it comes down to stewardship and the ability to maintain our preserves,” Baker said.

New this year:

Kids Fun Run: Kids will loop around the pond at Baxter Preserve, a flat, approximately .8 mile distance known to locals as “the racetrack.” Each young racer will receive a completion medal for making their way around the pond.

Awards ceremony: The top 3 male and female 5K finishers by age group will receive awards. Race participants will have electronic chipped race bibs to ensure accurate timekeeping.

Finisher’s village: hosted by the North Salem Climate Smart Leadership Committee. The committee will share information about methods of reducing energy consumption and reducing your carbon footprint.

Expanded capacity: This year’s race capacity will be expanded to 250 registrants, up from 150 last year.

Race day schedule:

  • 9:00 a.m. - Kids Fun Run
  • 9:30 a.m. - 5K Race
  • 9:45 a.m. - 4K Run/Walk

What else:

  • The event will be dog-friendly
  • There will be swag! Participants will receive a race t-shirt

Individuals who can’t or don’t want to walk or run can still contribute to the cause through financial contributions and/or by volunteering the day of the event. Baker said that NSOLF needs about 20 volunteers to help ensure that the day runs smoothly.

Whether residents consider participating in or volunteering at the event, Baker hopes that all community members will take to heart the true purpose of the event. “When you think about ‘The Race for Open Space’ and what that really means, it’s about the need to preserve open space and the impact of what open space means for our climate,” he said. “That’s something I want to bring forward.”

To register for The Race for Open Space, visit Individuals who have questions about the event or would like to volunteer or sponsor the race should email

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