Everybody loves a good race, especially when it includes a free trip to Sesame Place after it’s over.
But for a second straight year, the fun is going to have to wait.
Due to the pandemic, Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic officials have decided to postpone the 5K, one-mile and kids’ sprint events for this year.
They are quick to add that, with health conditions hopefully improved, the Classic will return for its 22nd running in May, 2022.
The race was also called off in 2020 because of concerns over the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in March of that year.
All those affiliated with the Classic agree it’s important to keep this tradition going. Proceeds from the race go to the Dick Dougherty Scholarship Fund to financially assist college-bound seniors from Bucks County high schools.
“Mark your calendars, the Classic will return in May, 2022,’’ said Kiwanis committee chairperson Dixie Rhodes. “For 21 years the Kiwanis Club of Levittown-Bristol has held a race to recognize the accomplishments of high school seniors throughout Lower Bucks County.
“The last race event honored 34 scholar-athletes from 18 high schools at a banquet. Philadelphia Flyers legend Brian Propp, a member of the Flyers’ Hall of Fame, was the keynote speaker.
“Unfortunately, in 2020 there was no race and no banquet,
“As 2021 finally materialized and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic race committee has reluctantly voted to postpone this year’s race.’’
Kiwanis committee member Donna Milner echoed Rhodes’ comments.
“Given the uncertainty of the effects of the pandemic moving forward, there was no choice but to postpone the event until May of 2022,’’ Milner said. “We will return with a phenomenal event, sure to be enjoyed by all.”
Jill Saul, president of the Levittown-Bristol Kiwanis Club, said it’s crucial to put the health and safety of the community first.
“The intention of our club is to support the community through positive activities and services,’’ Saul said. “We are very sad we cannot hold the race this year, but in the interest of appropriate social distancing and the continued good health of the community we were compelled to postpone it until 2022.
“Count us down but don’t count us out as we will return stronger than ever in 2022.”
Classic registration director Jill Gilardi said much of the decision to postpone was made with young people in mind.
“The Sesame Classic has been, and always will be, dedicated to the betterment of youth of Bucks County,’’ she said. “Keeping with this standard, it only makes sense that the race prioritize the health of those involved, and return next year with all the fanfare the runners are used to at the Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic.’’
With the pandemic disrupting the school schedules throughout Pennsylvania, it would have been difficult to choose worthy scholar-athlete recipients this year.
“Our committee is committed to bringing back the race in even grander scale in 2022,’’ Rhodes said. “My heart goes out to the scholar-athletes who haven’t had the opportunity to compete properly in these tumultuous times.
“Events were cancelled and with the upheaval of learning virtually and/or attending a few days a week in the classroom choosing a proper candidate would be difficult. Participating in community service is limited in this trying time.’’
Bucks County Herald publisher and editor Joseph Wingert said he looks forward to better years ahead.
“In light of the pandemic, it is regrettable that the 2021 Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic 5K is cancelled,’’ he commented. “That said, the 2022 Classic promises to carry on the traditions of participation for people of all ages, and expanding the scholarship program to reach more scholar-athletes in Bucks County.”
Meanwhile, Sesame Place officials also are planning to welcome back runners next year.
“Sesame Place is looking forward to the safe return of the Sesame Place Classic in 2022 in partnership with the Levittown-Bristol Kiwanis Club and the Bucks County Herald,” said Sesame Place public relations manager Dana Ryan.
So, it might seem like a long way off but the Classic will return, better than ever, when everyone is safe to enjoy it properly.
Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series Covered Bridge 5K, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown (check club website www.bcrrclub.com for race status/updates).