“We don’t want to make any trouble or put anyone at risk,” Prentiss said.
The run starts and ends at Sweet Williams Garden Center, 141 Pine St. The run goes clockwise around the roads in the summer and counterclockwise in the winter, so runners go against the traffic and are more visible. The run travels on Pine, Holten, Centre, Hobart, Charter, Elm, and back to Holten and Pine streets.
Prentiss is exploring the possibility of using a portion of the Danvers Rail Trail for the course, to avoid the difficult intersection of Pine and Holten streets in the vicinity of the busy McKinnon’s Market and a gas station.
While it’s not a formal event that requires sign-ups, the run has a website, danvers5K.com, and tracks runners’ times. Its Facebook page has 727 likes. The Dec. 26 run drew 44 participants. Last week’s run drew 62, Prentiss said.
“I never know what to expect,” Prentiss said of who might show up.
While runners are never asked for money, from time to time, they are asked to bring nonperishable food donations for local food pantries. Local merchants like chiropractors and massage therapists are also asked to come to the runs as a way to support local businesses.
“We’ve had people from all over the country,” Prentiss said. “We’ve had people from other countries come here.” The pack includes some top 100 finishers in the Boston Marathon who use it for training.
Selectman Mike Powers said that even though the run is not a formal event, it may give runners the mindset they can run with some impunity down the street. Powers said he once had to swing his car around runners. However, he likes the idea of the run and wants to see it continue, so he urged Prentiss to keep runners safe.