5K, Four Paws: somdog’s Tom Taylor Memorial 5K is Just Around the Corner

Grab a leash and lace up those running shoes: On October 16, somdog’s 5K fun run comes to Union Square.

The Somerville-based dog advocacy group hosts the race every other year, and proceeds from the last bi-annual, quadrupedal run was held in Medford to benefit the Medford Dog Park Initiative. Thanks in part to the proceeds raised at last year’s event, the city will break ground on the its first-ever dog park this spring.

Race director Amy Parker explains that this year, the organization decided to use the event to honor late Ward 3 alderman Tom Taylor, who was instrumental in bringing dog parks to Somerville. “He was a huge somdog supporter, and really, the driving force behind getting the two off-leash dog areas open,” Parker says, referring to the Nunziato and Zero New Washington parks. The race starts and ends in Union Square, giving runners the opportunity to explore the ward Taylor represented from 1986 until 2013. “He was just a really great person.”

Not looking to break a sweat but still want to take Fido out to make some new friends? Local illustrator Anna Nason will be on hand painting pet caricatures, and there will be a gift raffle that includes Maynard-based photographer Fred Levy’s Black Dogs Project and a gift certificate to Skin to Soul Massage & Myofascial Release.

anna nason

Illustrator Anna Nason will be at the 5K drawing adorable pup caricatures.

The 5k starts and ends at Bull McCabe’s, which is co-sponsoring the race along with Lucky Lucy’s PetsThe Pet Republic and the city of Somerville. It’s open to both walkers and runners, and you don’t need to have a pup of your own to attend. And because somdog promotes responsible dog ownership, Parker will be posting tips on training for runs with your pup on Facebook in the weeks leading up to the run “so that people don’t just take their pug out and drag them along the street,” she jokes. Animal control officers will be on hand to talk education, outreach and training, and somdog is partnering with Slobbr, a new platform that connects owners with dog-friendly spaces in their area, as well as Runkeeper, Cody’s Creations and 2Dogs Treats.

Parker knows that there are a ton of races throughout the area each fall, but emphasizes that this is an especially impactful one, one that honors the legacy of someone who’s had a lasting legacy in Somerville government and with proceeds benefitting a hardworking local organization.

Plus—it’s really fun.

“We actually have Somerville police officers who request to work on that day,” she laughs. “It’s just all around a good time.”

The 2016 somdog Tom Taylor Memorial Doggie 5k Fun Run will take place on Sunday, October 16 at 10 a.m. You can register to run through RaceMenu, view the route on MapMyRun and RSVP on Facebook.