40th Annual Montague Mug Race to honor town influences Al Ross, David Kaynor

  • David Kaynor STAFF FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • David Kaynor in April 2006 STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • David Kaynor

  • David Kaynor

Staff Writer
Published: 8/18/2021 6:04:48 PM
Modified: 8/18/2021 6:04:53 PM

MONTAGUE — Montague’s annual “Mug Race” will honor two figures significant to both the road race and the town on Saturday.

Beginning in 1981 as the “Old Home Days Road Race,” the 40th annual Mug Race honors Al Ross and David Kaynor, whose recent deaths follow lives that profoundly touched the tradition.

The 5.5-mile road race starts at 8:30 a.m. at Village Common and finishes at the ballpark on Station Street. Per the event’s name, the male and female winners of the race will each be awarded celebratory pewter mugs.

Al Ross, who died in October 2020, helped found the Mug Race four decades ago.

“The Mug Race was his daily running route,” race director Ann Fisk said.

An avid runner, Ross also helped start Montague’s New Year’s Day Sawmill River Run 10-kilometer road race, which takes place each year on Jan. 1. Off the race course, he served as a Montague Selectman and treasurer for the Board of Directors of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. At this year’s Mug Race, T-shirts given out to the first 60 registrants will sport Ross’s photo and a special message on the sleeve in tribute.

David Kaynor, who died in June 2021, was perhaps best known as a gifted fiddler, but Fisk said that he was also one of the Mug Race’s star runners.

“He loved the Mug Race a lot. He ran the Mug Race whenever he could,” Fisk said. “He would finish in the top 20 easily.”

Fisk said that Kaynor’s presence in Montague Center was constant, far transcending his brief annual appearances at the Mug Race. She recalled that every Monday night, Kaynor would play alongside the “Montague Fiddlers” at his house (and in later years, Montague Common Hall) to entertain residents.

“You’d get here on a Monday and there would be a line of cars,” Fisk said. “He just embraced everybody.”

She added that on Friday nights, he would host dances in Greenfield.

“I don’t think he was ever without a fiddle in his hand,” Fisk said.

The “Montague Monday Sessions of Fiddlers” who Kaynor played with weekly will be performing a tribute to Kaynor at 10 a.m. to close out the Mug Race.

While the Mug Race begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, racers should arrive at Village Common between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. for registration. Pre-mail registration forms can be found online https://bit.ly/3jZE4nA, or register online at https://bit.ly/3AEwEgc. The race will be accompanied by free refreshments from 8 a.m. to noon at Montague Congregational Church.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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