LYNN — On Monday, the 8th annual Lynn Youth Summer Track Meets, sponsored by Lynn Parks and Recreation, kicked off in record-breaking fashion at Hood Park.
Earlier this week, the program broke its record for the number of first-day entries with 151 entries, around 121 of which registered the day of.
The meet that holds several running events from 30 meters up to a mile, a softball throwing event, and a standing long jump were a hit. The series of meets serves children from the ages of “being able to walk” to high school and will continue to run every Monday until Aug. 15, free of charge.
“Was I surprised? Yes, I did not know what to expect, frankly, and I was certainly well pleased with it. I was very much pleased to see that volume of people. They all had a good time from my gather,” said Joe Abelon, who helps with the program.
In order to see such an excellent turnout for the program, a lot of outreach was done to get the word out.
“The only way for this to happen is for a parent to be aware of it. Once parents know it exists, they jump right on it because they are looking for something for the kids to do,” said Abelon.
However, Abelon says he did not know what to expect regarding turnout this year with the program relocating to Hood Park due to renovations at Manning Field.
“I was not sure, frankly, because of where the site was. Is that going to be a deterrent or not? It turns out it was not a deterrent. A lot of people were aware of it, and a lot of people decided to come out and have some fun,” said Abelon.
He added, “We found a good footprint; it turns out to be at Hood Park, which is a major youth soccer environment. Steve Johnson, the president, welcomed us with open arms and let us use the site, the bathrooms: a very gracious host.”
Abelon also mentioned the work of a plethora of volunteers who make the track series possible, “They have my highest respect for getting the job done. These youngsters, the Lynn Tech and Lynn ROTC youngsters,” he said.
As word of mouth spreads, there is the expectation that more folks will head to Hood Park to participate in the fun events. Due to this, one of the best things people can do to save time is to show up with registration in hand.
Potential participants can get a registration form in advance by emailing [email protected], and Abelon will send back an application.
“I encourage everyone to come because they will have fun. You have heard about it; take advantage of it. It is a great time for kids,” said Abelon.