Ears and tongues fly as dogs and their owners make their way up Main Street in Williamstown at the start of the 5k Humane Race in 2009.
Ears and tongues fly as dogs and their owners make their way up Main Street in Williamstown at the start of the 5k Humane Race in 2009. (Eagle file)

NORTH ADAMS -- After 10 years working to establish and organize the Humane Race -- the run and walk fundraiser for the Berkshire Humane Society, Alix and Brian Cabral are moving to the back of the pack.

"It's really time to pass the baton," Alix Cabral said.

For the 11th annual Humane Race, the Cabrals are giving guidance to the new coordinators of the event -- Christa Abel and Dawn Catelotti, proprietors of Bark N' Cat, a pet supply boutique on Holden Street in North Adams.

The Humane Race is becoming well-known as a pet-friendly event that draws hundreds of people and dogs to Spring Street in Williamstown. This year's race, a 5K fun run and one-mile walk, begins at 10 a.m. at 16 Water St. on Saturday with the finish line on Spring Street.

Alix Cabral conceived the idea of the Humane Race in 2002 while trying to figure out a way to get the North Berkshires involved in the Berkshire Humane Society's efforts on behalf of homeless pets -- but it had to involve physical fitness and dogs.

"It was my idea, and then I dragged my husband in," Alix Cabral said.

So, with the help of her husband and a growing list of volunteers, the event began with 60 people and about 40 dogs running the trails around Mount Greylock High School.

A few years later, the event really took off when it was moved downtown to Spring Street.

"It was a lot more work, but it paid off in spades," Alix Cabral said.

This year, the team of six organizers and roughly 50 volunteers are expecting nearly 400 people and 200 dogs -- or more, if the weather holds.


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Since the start of the event, the Humane Race has raised more than $120,000 to help operate the Berkshire Humane Society's homeless pet shelter in Pittsfield.

The Cabrals have been helping the new team of organizers navigate through the logistics of pulling off an event like this.

"They've really hit the ground running," Alix Cabral said. "It's a very time-consuming job, but it's time to get some new energy and reach out to the community in new ways. And with Christa and Dawn, there is now a big North Adams presence in the race."

Abel noted that there are still plenty of sponsorships open, and that the first 150 people to register get a free T-shirt. As in years past, participating dogs get a bandana, and there will be drawing for prizes from among the runners that raise the most money for the shelter.

One of the prizes is a photo session with premiere pet photographer Amanda Jones.

For more information or to register, visit www.HumaneRace.org or call (413) 664-7777.

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6241.
On Twitter: @BE_SStafford