The race, which includes a barbecue and a chance to enjoy the lake and other camp features, is also a fundraiser. Wanakee was a farm in the 19th century before it became Meadowbrook Camp and, in 1962, Wanakee.
Race proceeds go toward repairing and renovating the farmhouse to “ensure that fixture of Wanakee, that oldest part of Wanakee is here to welcome campers for generations to come,” said Executive Director James Tresner at the race start.
Talking about the camp’s history, Tresner said: “I am fortunate to have been associated with this place for 18 years; many of the people around you have been here much longer … The reason people come back here year after year is because of the connections that they make and the people that they meet. It’s a uniquely special place in terms of the relationships formed and the way it feels to be part of this community.”
Runner Loren Butman feels that connection. Butman, who lives in Bow, NH, came to Wanakee as an 11-year-old in 1972. His great uncle, a Methodist minister, introduced the family to the camp. Butman’s three older siblings also attended camp.
“It was one of those experiences that stuck out among the many that you have as a child,” said Butman, who said that the camp has been on his mind many times over the years.
“I just happened to be online this year and I saw this race,” he said. “(I thought) today would give me a chance to reflect back, come back and give back, and also do something I really love, which is a trail run.”
This year’s overall winner was Lars Hogne, 12, who completed the course in a little over 22 minutes. See all the results and more photos at the race website: http://www.wanakeewilderness5k.com/
The Wanakee race is part a new series of runs in the Meredith area called the Harvest 4-Way 5K. It comprises four races, Wanakee was the first, one a month between now and November; each race benefits a different cause. Click the link above to learn more.