I admit that I will never be mistaken for a sports reporter, so my recap of the event will probably read more like a review.
Board of Education Chair David Heller hovered near the finish line with a walkie-talkie. He told me that the day had dawned a little cold, but thankfully the rain that fell during the night had ceased. As the runners in the 5k began to cross the finish line, the sun was shining and the temperature was comfortable for the participants and spectators. "Hopefully, we can raise a good amount of money for the Naugatuck Education Foundation," he added. He confirmed that there were some 600 registrants this year.
Mr. Heller likened the view from the top of Firehouse Road to that of the annual Duck Day held in the borough. On the sidewalk across from Town Hall, members of the drum line of the NHS marching band played a street beat as the runners approached the finish line.
There was a sea of Irish green in the downtown area, sported by the runners, spectators and numerous volunteers. The finish line was surrounded by a cheering crowd that encouraged each runner as the ran past the digital clock that marked their finish time. Bananas were handed out to the finishers and a church member was handing out green St. Patrick's Day beads to everyone.
I saw many Naugatuck BOE employees among the racers, and I am sure that I missed many more. Maple Hill teacher and Lady Greyhound Basketball Coach Jodie Ruccio told me that she just felt good to finish and still be standing. "It was a tough course," she remarked. Congratulations to CHMS principal Brian Hendrickson, Cross Street teacher Charley Marenghi, CHMS teacher Lisa Leonard, Library/Media teacher Katherine Massicotte, NHS assistant principal Eileen Mezzo and all the staff members that I didn't see.
As for the children, many area students took part in the 5K, cheered on with signs by younger family members. It was inspiring to see them keep up and often pass the adults in the race. At 11:15, lots of very young students assembled in front of Nardelli's to warm up for the Fun Run held especially for them.
The numerous volunteers that worked a very long time on planning the event were out in force. Some rode bikes up and down the course to report on the progress of the runners. Others wearing green t-shirts held signs of encouragement that directed the 10K runners on to the correct course. Among the volunteers were Tax Collector Jim Goggin and his wife Susan Goggin, Mayoral Aide Ed Carter and his son Zach, Burgess Laurie Taf Jackson, and Hillside Principal Johnna Hunt.
Green Tee Shirts were given to all participants. Awards were presented for Overall Male & Female 5k and 10K finisher and top 3 in each division. They included Male & Female 10& under, 11-15, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 71& over) All racers were given a complementary post race Beer and Sandwich, with nonalcoholic refreshment for our under 21 runners.
The Naugatuck Education Foundation (NEF), in partnership with the community, encourages and supports excellence in education by providing funding for innovative and creative learning opportunities for students.Race results are posted here.
Course details and more information can be found at http://www.naugatuckroadrace.org.