To the editor:

More than 300 runners took to the streets of Salem to participate in the 8th Annual Festivus 5K for Autism on Sunday, Dec. 15. The event, hosted by Finz Seafood & Grill, raised $27,000 for the Northshore Education Consortium, the largest provider of special education services on the North Shore.

The consortium provides services to students who have severe special needs, including emotional, behavioral and developmental disabilities. The funds from this year’s race will benefit special programs and technology for the consortium’s students with autism.

Adam Linsky, 22, of Marblehead, was the men’s overall winner with a time of 17:23. Olivia King, 16, of Swampscott, was the women’s overall winner with a time of 22:16. Wicked Running Club was the winner of the team award with runners Ian Edwards, Riley McGoldrick, and Madelyn Steeves.

Many people from the NEC community were there running, walking, volunteering and cheering folks on. Culinary program students also participated by baking their famous muffin tops (and stumps this year).

Runners, volunteers, and sponsors celebrated after the race with a Festivus-themed party at Finz. Race organizers presented awards for best costumes, winning runners, and top Festivus grievances. The winning grievance was simply “Flat-earthers.”

Festivus is an alternative holiday celebration, made popular by the TV show “Seinfeld,” which includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”

This year’s sponsors included Finz Seafood & Grill, Kiewit Corporation, SIGMA PROS LLC, Rotary Beverly MA, Salem Five Charitable Foundation, North Shore Medical Center, First Ipswich Bank, Beverly Athletic Club, Endicott College, Dotokushin Krav Maga Ne’Emanei Imi, Steel Root, National Grand Bank, Northshore Education Consortium Employee Federation, EBSCO Information Services, FirstLight HomeCare, North Shore Eye Care, Rotary Club of Salem, Education Consulting Advocacy & Legal Services, Marblehead Firefighters Local 2043, North Boston Oral and Facial Surgery, Sheehan Marine Services, Universal Screening Studio, The Triumph Center, Boston Solar, Murphy Funeral Home, The Triumph Center, Front Street Coffeehouse, Terence A. Criswell, DDS, JH Turiel & Associates, Inc., and New England Running Company.

Special thanks to the Salem police who did a great job controlling traffic and keeping runners safe during the race. And thank you to the many Salem residents along the route who cheered our runners on!

For more on the Festivus 5K for Autism, visit

Cindy Johnson

Co-race director

Festivus 5K for Autism


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