Race honors late Greenland police chief Maloney's memory
GREENLAND — The third-annual Chief Maloney Unity Run, which commemorates the life of Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney, brought out nearly 1,200 registered runners Sunday, in addition to several hundred volunteers and race supporters.
Maloney was shot and killed by a drug dealer on April 12, 2012.
"The first one was so emotional, and every year this (race) brings up emotions, but time and distance has helped us to really focus on the positives this year, especially with the community coming together like this," said Tara Laurent, who succeeded Maloney as Greenland police chief. "This year, specifically, has been just happy, and everyone's sharing stories about Chief Mahoney and everyone's smiling and excited to be together."
Al Previte, a probation and parole officer, ran this year's race and said the event is a perfect way to honor Maloney's memory.
"He paid the ultimate sacrifice almost two weeks before retirement by putting his life on the line and subsequently ended up sacrificing his life to save another officer's," he said. "Words can't express how courageous he was, so if we can come out here and honor his memory and his service, well, it's obviously a great way to do that and to get together with fellow law enforcement officers and to do something positive to show the community that we're out there trying to do our best and serve the public."
This year, the course was changed from a 5.6-mile jaunt from Portsmouth to Greenland to a 10K race that began at the Stratham Police Department and guided runners through 6.2 scenic country miles before concluding at the Greenland Police Station.
"I think it's a bit of a nicer course this year," said Keith Tharp of Millennium Running, the popular local road race organization that coordinated the event. "The 10K gets a different demographic, more runners and people supporting the cause and ... there's been tons and tons of (police support), we've seen vehicles coming from different departments from all around the region.
"When we initially did it the first year, it was kind of pulled together in three weeks, and we had a huge turnout, so we've kind of piggybacked on that these last couple years," he said.
Portsmouth police Sgt. Christopher Roth didn't run in this year's race but was there with Officer James Noury to support their brothers and sisters in blue through a pipes and drums presentation.
"The meaning of the race is clearly to celebrate the life of Chief Maloney and to remember the sacrifices we make every day in the line of work," said Roth. "It's a great day to get together as a community and appreciate law enforcement, which we don't always do because sometimes situations don't always make us popular. But on a day like today, everybody forgets that. They all get along together, are all here for a purpose to support the family and give to the various funds that are set up, and to have a good time running or walking."
Laurent said the race also proved a helpful reminder that the general public hasn't lost sight of Maloney's sacrifice.
"I think it's good for us, as the officers and the people that were close to him, to be reminded that everyone does remember, that the citizens remember and that the community is willing to come together, and they really did today," she said. "I mean, the weather wasn't great, and they still came out to share this really, really positive experience."