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Celebrate! West Hartford FUNd RUNS Return to Live Format, Support Neighbors in Need

Runners cross the finish line in the Celebrate! West Hartford 5K in 2018. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto (we-ha.com file photo)

Registration is now open for the 2022 Celebrate! West Hartford FUNd RUNS with both a 5K and Kids’ K.

Celebrate! West Hartford Kids K Run. June 10, 2018. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

Runners of all ages, speeds, and abilities will take to the streets of West Hartford this June, joining the community for the annual Celebrate! West Hartford FUNd RUNS 5K run or walk and Kids’ K non-competitive dash.

The FUNd RUNS, which will be held on Sunday morning, June 12, 2022, are part of West Hartford’s signature Celebrate! West Hartford two-day outdoor festival which will take place this year on June 11 and 12.

The races, which have in the past drawn great crowds and are one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the weekend, return this year to full in-person format for the first time since 2019, after being modified for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Celebrate! West Hartford FUNd RUNS provide an opportunity for entire families to get out and enjoy fitness together while supporting our neighbors in need,” said Peter Travers, FUNd RUNS committee chair.

The races are not only “fun” for people of all ages, but also “fund” activities for local residents. “You are sure to see familiar faces at all skill levels, which is the beauty of this hometown event. Part of the registration proceeds are donated to The Town That Cares and the Leisure Services Scholarship Fund,” Travers added.

The Kids’ K, which begins at 8 a.m., is 1.75 loops around Blue Back Square. Medals are awarded to all finishers.

The USATF-certified 5K race kicks off at 9 a.m., and begins with a quick downhill on Raymond Road, winds through the Webster Hill neighborhood, and features a downhill finish on Burr Street. The 5K

Celebrate! West Hartford Event Director Linda Geisler said the 5K attracts many of the region’s elite runners vying for a course record as well as others running to break their own person records, kids who have been participating in spring training programs in West Hartford or neighboring towns, people running to support the town’s camp scholarship funds, and others just running or walking for fun, to be part of the Celebrate! experience.

Prizes valued at $30, $25, and $20 are awarded respectively for first through third place in all divisions of the 5K. Age divisions are: 10& under, 11-14, 15-18, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+. A random drawing of prizes for all other 5K participants is also held after the race.

Online preregistration for all races is now open at www.CelebrateWestHartford.com. and registrants can easily sign up more than one participant at a time. Runners who register by May 31 are guaranteed a race shirt.

Pre-race registration and packet pick-up will be at Fleet Feet Sports, 1003 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford Center on Friday, June 10, from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 11, from 9 a.m. until noon. Runners may register at that time as well, and can pick up their race shirt, race number, and bib tag.

Race-day registration and packet pick-up will also be available, beginning at 7 a.m. in the Festival Dining Tent that will be located in the Town Hall Parking lot at 50 South Main St. Runners are encouraged to arrive with plenty of time, and free race-day parking is available in Isham Garage, 17 Isham Rd. A post-race reception and awards ceremony will also take place in the Festival Dining Tent.

More information about Celebrate! West Hartford, as well as online registration for the races, is available at www.CelebrateWestHartford.com. Registration for the 5K is $27 until May 31. Fees increase to $32 on June 1. The Kids’K is $5.

In addition to the FUNs RUNS, Celebrate! West Hartford features an award-winning juried arts and crafts show, carnival rides and games, an international food court, live music, and exhibitor booths from nonprofits and local businesses. In past years, the event has attracted 40,000 visitors over the course of the weekend.

“After being shut down due to COVID-19 for the past two years, we are thrilled to be back as a live, in-person event,” Geisler said. It will be an extra special celebration of all things West Hartford this year.”

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