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NMH Pie Race: Running for Dessert

Nov. 17, 2022 — One of NMH’s favorite traditions returned to campus on Nov. 15 — Pie Race! 

Now in its 132nd year, the Bemis-Forslund Pie Race delivered its annual dose of community spirit, as alumni, families, and friends joined students and faculty to run the 5K course that winds across campus and into the surrounding woods. Thanks to NMH Dining Services, at the finish line the top runners received the coveted prize — a homemade apple pie!

NMH workjob students bake pies in the dining hall for NMH Pie Race 2022.

Dining Services Director Rich Messer said workjob students helped the dining hall staff bake the 165 pies that went to the first 25 finishers in each category and to every runner over age 65. In addition, they baked 50 small apple tarts for younger children who ran the traditional Tart Race, which followed the Pie Race.

Pie was one of the factors that motivated Class of 1975 alum Martha O’Neill to run her very first pie race.  

Three NMH alums enjoy their apple pies after NMH Pie Race 2022.

“I reconnected with the school when I came to my reunion in June, and I met [NMH Archivist] Peter Weis, who’s the son of my calculus teacher who I was very close to,” said O’Neill, of Merrimack, New Hampshire. “So I thought it was a good year to come to the pie race. Also, I just turned 65 and they guarantee a pie no matter what. I have friends who are counting on eating it with me.”

Dan Pinkham of Ashfield, Massachusetts, a current NMH parent and an alum from the Class of 1992, made a last-minute decision to run the race, which he hasn’t run since he was a student here.

“My daughter who goes here forgot something at home,” he said. “I needed to bring it up to her, so I figured if I was going to be here I might as well run the pie race.”

A student finishes NMH Pie Race 2022.

The NMH Pie Race is among the oldest organized foot races in the nation, preceding even the first Boston Marathon in 1897. It is named for Henry Bemis (Class of 1891), who ran early versions of the race as a student and began donating prizes in 1908, and for Gladys Hall Forslund ’26, wife of longtime Mount Hermon athletic director Axel Forslund. It was Gladys who started the tradition of awarding homemade apple pies.

Student Campbell MacDonald ’23 was the first runner across the finish line and, soon after, dug right into his pie. 

“The pie was delicious,” he said. “I went up to the dining hall after the race and shared it with my girlfriend.” 

Another top finisher, Liesl Barry ’26, who also placed first in her category, was going to wait to savor her pie. 

“Tonight is my brother’s birthday, so maybe I’ll save it,” she said.

Whether you ran this year’s race or not, you can still enjoy the sweetness of one of the school’s most beloved traditions by making yourself a pie. Here’s the NMH recipe.

See the full race results, and check out photos of the race and pie baking

 

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