The Village Ultra to sponsor Victoria Rose Fund

  • Graduating senior Adrianna Johnson, center, is presented a scholarship by Fund President Kristina Hartjens; Ingrid Schatz, director/owner of The Dance Studio; Treasurer Marissa Vescovi; and Vice President TJ Mallet. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 8/21/2023 5:00:54 PM
Modified: 8/21/2023 5:00:25 PM

NEW SALEM — Whether you can go the distance or just want a short saunter, The Village Ultra has something for everyone.

Set to take place Sept. 2 and 3, the annual fundraiser will benefit the Victoria Rose Scholarship Fund. The fund provides scholarships to The Dance Studio of Orange in memory of Victoria Rose, who died in 2016 at the age of 8. Kristina Hartjens, the scholarship fund’s president, said the money raised through The Village Ultra would be a tremendous help. Normally, the fund brings in $1,500 to $2,500 annually, with scholarships worth approximately $500.

“This could be huge for us,” she said.

The Village Ultra is organized differently than most charity walks or runs. Rather than one course, it’s divided into four — a quarter mile, half-mile, 2.2-mile and 2.4 mile course. The routes can be completed in any combination — just one route, or multiple routes as many times and in any order. There are no prizes, but everyone will get a medal with their individual mileage.

Registration may be done online, and costs $90 for full 24-hour participation, $50 for 12-hour participation or $10 per hour. The 24-hour starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2 and the 12-hour begins at 7 a.m. on Sept. 3. Participants may “drop in” and start at any time. The event begins at 23 S Main St., New Salem.

At the start of the event, participants can get a shoelace in a color of their choosing. At the midpoint of each loop, there will be a sign that says “Touch Here for Power!” and a bag of colored beads. Every time participants go through a loop, they can get a bead and string it on their lace. The beads are color-coded to the routes.

Event Director Carla Halpern said The Village Ultra started in 2017 to benefit a neighbor whose child’s extensive medical bills weren’t covered by insurance. Since then, the event has supported both local and national causes, from the Ralph C. Mahar Regional and Swift River schools to the Trevor Project and Abortion Rights Fund of Western Mass. When asked why she chose the Victoria Rose Fund as this year’s beneficiary, she said her family has been enriched by the dance studio, as her child takes classes there.

“All of us still feel the impact of losing Victoria,” Halpern said. “Losing her impacted the studio greatly.”

Halpern said The Village Ultra isn’t a traditional race, as it’s focused less on competing and more on the joy of running or walking. It’s made to be accessible to all, offering routes on trails, dirt roads, or paved surfaces. Since the event isn’t competitive, there are no age or gender categories, and all ages are welcome, though those under 18 will need a parent’s permission. Numbers on the bibs can be a fraction, Roman numerals — whatever people want.

“Our philosophy is we’re gonna cheer everybody to their own personal goals,” said Halpern. “We will walk or run with them if they want moral support or company.”

For more information or to register, visit

Max Bowen can be reached at 413-930-4074 or at 

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