Smith McMillan 5k – An Inclusive Event for the WFS Community


Susan Finizio

Head of School Ken Aldridge addresses the runners before the race starts.

Nick Urick, News Writer

Earlier this fall, the Wilmington Friends School held their 22nd Annual Smith McMillan 5k run – a 3.2 mile run that takes place in the neighborhood of Alapocas. The run honors the memory  of Wendy Smith McMillan ‘77, and Jonathan Bacon Smith ‘83, and benefits the financial aid endowment for WFS. Not only does the race consist of a run for teenagers and adults, it also includes a Free Kids Fun Run prior to the race. Every year, members from the Wilmington Friends Community and beyond come to the school to race the Smith McMillan, and this year was no different.

One of the things that makes the Smith McMillan run more fun and enriching is its inclusion of activities in addition to  running. Those who register for the Smith McMillan receive a tee shirt, as well as the enjoyment of refreshments and live music. The race has integrated chip timing, to provide accurate times, and prizes for the overall male and female runners from a variety of age groups.  The race is also sponsored by well known companies and organizations  throughout Delaware, such as The Delaware Orthopedics Specialists, Brew HaHa, Jamba Juice, PNC Bank, and Massage Envy. During a conversation about homecoming with Hannah Blackwell ‘20, a varsity cross country runner at Wilmington Friends,  she commented that “I really enjoyed the Smith McMillan this year. It was a great race, and a really fun way to bring together the community before homecoming. Also, I really enjoyed the after race refreshments. They had free Jamba Juice and Manhattan Bagels, which was a really nice way to refuel after the run.” Clearly, Blackwell enjoyed the race and all of the fun activities it provided.

Every year, both the middle school and upper school Wilmington Friends Cross Country teams have consistently participated in the Smith McMillan as a type of homecoming race for the teams. Izze Rios ‘17, a former member of the cross country team commented that “I always really enjoyed the Smith McMillan. I feel like it’s a great way to make sure everyone gets involved in homecoming, because often those whose sports lack a special homecoming game feel less included on homecoming. I also feel like the Smith McMillan is a great way to change up the group of people you run with, because so many faculty, parents, and non-cross country runners participate in the race.” Clearly, Rios found great value in the race in the years she participated in the race. Evidently, the cross country teams enjoy the race as a fun opportunity to run with friends without the stressful competition of a normal cross country race.

The Smith McMillan is also a great way to get faculty involved in homecoming events. Sue Kampert, Human Dynamics and Health Teacher for the Upper School commented that “I was a little nervous because I hadn’t run the race before, but I felt a lot of comradery among the runners. Everyone else was really supportive of everyone and I loved how inclusive it was. There was families, students, athletes, and faculty.” Clearly, the race proved to be a fun and inclusive experiences for all members involved.

Overall, The Smith McMillan Race has proven to be a vital part of the WFS Homecoming activities. It’s a great way to get a varying group of the community together through exercise and fun. This year was the 22nd annual race, and hopefully the tradition will continue.