Nashua, January 19, 2021
United Way of Greater Nashua’s winter obstacle course race, the Blizzard Blast, will be very different this year due to COVID. Instead of being a single day event in Mine Falls Park, the planning team has created a virtual event with 5k, 10k, or half-marathon options. As part of the challenge, the runners will stop at multiple locations, each of which is a nonprofit serving the Greater Nashua Community. Including United Way, there are a total of 21 different nonprofits involved in the effort. At each of these stops, the runner will be asked to do a challenging non-running exercise such as burpees, squats, lunges, army crawls, etc. Runners choosing the half-marathon distance will actually go to all 21 organizations!
The event is a fundraiser and this year the proceeds are supporting United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund has issued emergency grants, purchased PPE supplies for community nonprofits, and provided educational technology such as laptops and hot spots for at risk youth.
The Virtual Blizzard Blast takes place starting on January 30 and runs through February 6, with runners choosing the course and time to run. The event is self-timed and on the honor system, but nevertheless competitive.
According to United Way President Mike Apfelberg, “We are very excited about this year’s Blizzard Blast Event. Like most things these days, it will look and feel very different because of COVID. For us, the great thing is that it will allow us to spotlight our great community partners. These organizations are the heart and soul of our community safety net, and we are always looking for ways to support them… You might drive past these nonprofits all the time and not even notice that they are there, let alone knowing what they do in our community.”
Partners nonprofits participating in the 2021 United Way Blizzard Blast include: Stepping Stones Youth Homeless Drop In Center, HEARTS Peer Support, The PLUS Company, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua, Nashua PAL, The Youth Council, Marguerite’s Place, Adult Learning Center, Salvation Army of Greater Nashua, Revive Recovery, Greater Nashua Mental Health, Girls Inc., Clearway High School, Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, Family Promise of Southern NH, Corpus Christi Food Pantry, Gateways Community Services, Greater Nashua Dental Connection, Front Door Agency, and Bridges Sexual and Domestic Violence. The start and finish will be at the United Way.
Response has already been strong, with 3 naming sponsors on board including Service Credit Union, St. Joseph Hospital Mobile Health Clinic, and United Healthcare. According to representatives from UnitedHealthcare, “We are proud and excited to sponsor The United Way of Greater Nashua’s 2021 Blizzard Blast event, contributing to the Covid-19 Relief Fund. We know the devastating impacts Covid-19 has made to our communities. This event allows for further support of the Greater Nashua community as we continue to navigate these difficult times.” There are still opportunities to sign up as a runner, team, or sponsor, with all of the information being found at www.UnitedWayNashua.org or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.