Guinness 5K a party, not just a race

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Bristol resident Jonathan Govednik crossed the finish line in Sunday’s Finish for a Guinness 5K in just 17 minutes and 40 seconds, beating about 750 runners for the fastest time.

But the real winner was charity.

The eighth annual race, started by a Warren family to honor a loved who passed away after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS, will donate thousands to ALS research and other charitable causes. This year’s event, held with perfect running weather, was one of the largest turnouts ever.

Hundreds of runners — some trained, others not so much — started showing up on Water Street around 9 a.m. There was Warren Town Council president Joseph DePasquale, who said he’d been “virtual training’ for months — “I visualize training, and I visualize getting ready for the race,” he joked. There was a large group wearing shirts in honor of “Louie,” and there were a pair of runners sporting pink tutus and makeup. Others paced back and forth at the start line, loosening up for the 3.1 mile run.

While Mr. Govednik finished the race in winning time, others went at a slower gait. The average time was north of 30 minutes, and the last person to cross the finish line completed the course in one hour, eight minutes.

The race may have been fun, but the after party was just as popular. Racers who pre-registered got a sharp long-sleeve T-shirt, and volunteers handed out pints of Guinness Stout and other beers to legal racers. Restaurants offered a wide array of food, too. The Careys, who own the Square Peg at Water and Miller, cooked up 30 pounds of haddock for fish tacos, and the chefs at Revival, across the street from the Square Peg, had a hit with halibut ceviche. There was also pizza, calzones, fruit, plenty of water and soft drinks, and live music.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.