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A road race to reclaim Rutland - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A road race to reclaim Rutland

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

The people of Rutland say these streets belong to them, but an article published in the New York Times last month says that "block by block" Rutland is "fighting a heroin epidemic."

Resident Peter Bourque said Saturday, "It's just the opposite - it's a great community with great people who care about the people around them."

Bourque and scores of other race participants pounded the pavement in the Marble City Saturday for the first annual Shiver Me Shamrocks 5 K hosted by Heritage Family Credit Union.

"Rutland is doing a great job of recreating themselves and really putting a positive spin on what's going on. It's a wonderful example of friends and neighbors coming out," said Carrie Allen of Heritage Family Credit Union.

The newspaper article described downtown Rutland as being entrenched in the opiate problem, but the race participants Saturday reclaimed those very blocks, running or walking right through them.

Marsha Hance of Rutland said, "Given the recent past of bad publicity, it's nice to be on the front line of something positive that's happening for the community."

Others cheered runners and walkers along, but all came out to have fun and raise thousands for the Wonderfeet Kids Museum, a learning place for children that some say is another example of Rutland's positive growth and development.

Myra Peffer of Wonderfeet Kids Museum said, "It brings the community together and it supports something that everybody wants to see happen, and so this is going to launch our remodeling of the second floor."

Race participants say the strong turnout on a chilly day shows that Rutland will not let itself be overtaken by the opiate problem, but is pushing back and running right past it.

"I think it takes the stigma off of Rutland," said Bourque.

Hundreds taking strides in Rutland towards a more vibrant future.

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