Although the Celebrate! West Hartford 5K will have a modified format this year, a local woman is ensuring that her wheelchair athlete partner will still have a special experience.
By Ronni Newton
For the past three years, Becky Hoisl and Jack Wittman have been a team, traversing the Celebrate! West Hartford 5K course together, and crossing the finish line to the cheers of family and friends.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in the way the race is being held, Becky and Jack will still be able to run as a team this year.
“We love running it,” said Hoisl, a 2013 Conard High School graduate who is now a first grade teacher at Brent Elementary School in Washington, DC. “We wanted to make sure we could still run it,” she said after learning that the race has been transformed into the “FUNd RUN,” so that runners can, as the race’s tagline states, “run apart, give together.”
They won’t be running the same course this year. Hoisl said instead she has set up a course on Meadowbrook Road which will give plenty of opportunity for people to be out on the sidewalks cheering for Jack – and there will be many of his favorite elements of the race, including sprinklers and water stations – to make it as special as possible.
Jack’s dad, Phil Wittman, said because the course is going to be shorter this year, Jack will race in his “dynamic stander,” which will allow him to stand up rather than pushing the wheels of his chair.
Hoisl said she was waiting for the announcement about the race, and is glad that it is being held in some form so that she and Jack can still be a team. The two met at a “Beachland Buddies” camp program.
“I wanted to race and he wanted to race,” Hoisl said.
“I love doing the run with Miss Becky,” said Jack, 11, who is a student at West Hartford’s Norfeldt Elementary School.
Hoisl is going to pick up their shirts from Fleet Feet, and the pair will be running their course on Saturday.
Registration is still open for the Celebrate! West Hartford FUNd RUN, which will be held from June 5-8. For more information about the event, including the link to register and/or donate, click here. You can also email event director Linda Geisler at [email protected]. More information is also available on the Celebrate! West Hartford Facebook page.
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.