Pam’s run returns in-person for its 10th anniversary


Credit: Bella Schreiber

This year, Pam’s run will be returning in-person for its 10th anniversary after taking a small break during COVID-19. “I think what’s nice about the run is that it reminds everyone about the continued need for [helping others] and connectivity [within the community],” past runner Susan Garfield said.

Bella Schreiber

At 10 a.m. on Oct. 16, a couple hundred runners will take their mark at Claypit Hill Elementary School to start off Wayland’s annual Pam’s Run. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Pam’s Run and the first in-person return of the event since 2019 due to COVID-19.

Through Pam’s Run, community members have the opportunity to not only work to get in shape, but also support a cause. Participants, sponsors and anyone watching will have the opportunity to participate in a walk, run or various other activities.

Originally started in 2012, Pam’s run was created by Pam Manikas Washek’s family and friends along with the help of Neighbor Brigade. Washek founded Neighbor Brigade in 2010 from a small group of volunteers out of a previous group of support she started called Wayland Angels.

“Our volunteers help their neighbors facing a sudden crisis manage day-to-day tasks such as meal preparation, rides, pet care and basic household chores,” Neighbor Brigade’s Executive Director Marcy Eckle said.

After receiving many acts of kindness from their neighbors following their diagnosis with cancer, Washek and her friend Jean Seiden started Wayland Angels in 2002. Wayland Angels was created with the hope that it would be a neighbor-based volunteer program to help community members who are going through a sudden family or personal crisis. Washek lost her battle with cancer in 2012, but her vision and legacy lives on through Neighbor Brigade.

“Pam had always dreamed of having a road race that brings groups of neighbors together to benefit Neighbor Brigade,” Pam’s Run director and sister to Washek, Joanna Manikas said. “An event like this, which is so grounded in community, is the embodiment of Neighbor Brigade’s mission of neighbors helping neighbors.

Pam’s Run was dreamt by Pam as a way to unite the community in a fun but meaningful way. After she passed away, a few of her close family members decided to make that dream a reality in her honor.

Past Pam’s Run participant Susan Garfield takes a selfie with her friends who were also running socially-distanced in the 2021 run. (Credit: Courtesy of Susan Garfield)

“I think what’s nice about the run is that it reminds everyone about the continued need for [helping others] and connectivity [within the community],” past runner Susan Garfield said. “I really like having it, especially in Wayland, where people can forget that we have lots of people who are in need all around us. I think it’s a really nice way to remember [Pam] but also ignite action among all the people who are choosing to run.”

Some people in the community who have actively participated in the run each year see it as a great opportunity to reconnect with their friends and neighbors. For a handful of runners, the run can help them to remind them of their community and the different ways they could aid those in need.

“Pam founded the Neighbor Brigade to help those in crisis with free and immediate services provided by fellow community members,” Eckle said. “It is a simple idea with tremendous impact in providing relief while strengthening the fabric of the chapter towns.”

The original hope of transitioning from Wayland Angels to Neighbor Brigade was that it could go from a small group in Wayland, to eventually having chapters or groups in almost all of Massachusetts and across New England. Slowly, Neighbor Brigade is impacting lives by being there for people when they are in a bad situation.

“Pam’s Run raises funds critical to Neighbor Brigade’s continuing operations and ability to reach more individuals and families in need of support and assistance,” Eckle said. “This run is our signature event and brings in needed support for all of our programs and outreach to our chapter communities. New volunteers are engaged and more and more people learn about our important work.”