The Michel family from Hamilton will all run this year, too. Mark and Alice Michel, along with son Austen (who plays basketball and baseball at H-W) and daughter Aymee (a first-grader) will take part in the fun run.
“We’re doing it together because we know the Pacione family, and it’s for such a great cause,” Mark Michel said. “There are always some pretty good runners at the front, and I have to admit a lot of young kids run right by me.”
Melissa Jaynes ran last year for the first time and said she is now “addicted” to returning every November. The 32-year-old began running five years ago and trains under Mike Toomey, focusing mainly on marathons.
“The message is important to me,” said Jaynes, who moved to Salem six years ago. “Gabe’s Run shows that you can run competitively, love every minute of it and have fun. Sometimes runners focus so much on times, results and the finish line that we forget to appreciate all the fun in getting there. Gabe’s reunion race acts as a reminder to me that life is meant to be enjoyed.
“Everything I have heard about Gabe inspires me. He loved to compete, but most of all had a genuine good spirit and loved running. I am happy to honor him by making this part of my Thanksgiving tradition.”
Dartmouth College hasn’t forgotten the young man who never was able to join their running program, either. Jonathan Gault has come to Hamilton for the event each year except 2010 (when he was out of the country). He raced against Gabe when he was at Bedford High School and would have been Gabe’s Big Green college teammate.
“Gabe always beat me,” said Gault, who finished in this race seventh a year ago. “When I heard the news about his death, I was devastated. I knew if there was a way to keep his memory alive, I would be interested. So when the Paciones organized this race, it was a no-brainer for me to run it. We also try to get members of the men’s and women’s teams at Dartmouth to run it every year to show that Gabe is still remembered as part of that community, as well.