Frosty Runner Road Race hits its stride

Jan 27, 2024

ROCHESTER – When Beth Botelho organized the first Frosty Runner Road Race in 2012, 170 people signed up. At the time, she couldn’t imagine having more than 200 runners.

Participation in the event has since more than doubled. On Saturday, Jan. 27, 360 people ran the 2024 Frosty Runner Road Race at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School. The race, in its 10th edition, has hit a runner’s high. 

Co-organizers Botelho and Marcie Gamelin, both Old Colony staff, said the event has a community of runners, many of them repeat participants who attend the race year after year.

“We’re a small school,” Botelho said. “It’s like a family. Our students and families become part of our community and now our runners are part of that, so it’s really nice.”

Runners at the Frosty Runner Road Race complete either a 10.5-mile or 3.1-mile/5-kilometer route. The event raises funds for the Old Colony cross country team. Proceeds go towards scholarships for seniors and team equipment as needed. 

Janytzabell Nystrom, a previous winner and 10.5-mile record holder, said that the race’s importance is in its fundraising purpose. Beautiful Rochester views along the course also add to the appeal of the race for Nystrom.

“I just fell in love with both the course and the cause, so I just kept coming back, including today,” said Nystrom, a Taunton resident.

Both the 10.5-mile and 5-kilometer routes looped around Old Colony from North Avenue. A stretch of the latter half of the 10.5-mile course ran along Neck Road, offering views of Snipatuit Pond. 

Cheryl Healy, of Fairhaven, said the track of the race has “just the right balance.”

“Just a nice course,” Healy, 67, said. “It’s a safe course.”

Botelho said she began the Frosty Runner Road Race when she was the cross country coach at Old Colony. Enrollment into the team was low, and Botelho wanted to show students and the community the sport of running, she said. 

Gamelin then coached the team following Botelho, and though neither are coaches at Old Colony today, they still organize the race “because we love it,” Gamelin said.

“This has become its own thing,” she said.

Linda Spooner of Sturbridge won the 10.5-mile women’s race with a time of 1:11:25. She said the event is “really geared towards the runners.”

The course had strong traffic control and directional markings among other advantages, according to Spooner, who also won in 2023 when she set a race record. 

“Everything about it is amazing, so it’s perfect,” Spooner, 49, said.

Joseph Bradshaw of New Bedford won the men’s 10.5-mile race with a time of 1:03:47. It was his first time competing in the Frosty Runner Road Race. He said he liked the course, running through trees on quiet streets.

“I like the roads that it runs on,” Bradshaw, 25, said. “I thought that it was really well-marked.”

Brian Lowry, 56, traveled from Dennis Port on Cape Cod for this year’s 10.5-mile race. It was his second time participating. 

He said the race’s distance, not quite a 13-mile half marathon but longer than a 10-kilometer course, is “certainly different.”

“Not a lot of races this time of year too, so it just seemed like a fun thing to do,” Lowry said.

For the 5-kilometer race, Corey Hebert of New Bedford finished first among men at 16:52. Nancy McGee of Marion, 41, won the women’s race with a time of 19:53.

Hebert, 30, said the event, with its race timing technology and pace cars, is “very well-organized.”

“They’re making the efforts to make this a really good race, and you can see it over the many years I’ve done it,” Hebert said. “It’s awesome. It’s a great local race.”