Saturday’s Fourth Annual West Hartford Relay attracted 270 participants.
By Ronni Newton
Saturday morning’s crisp temperatures were ideal for running – perfect weather for the 2015 West Hartford Relay which started and finished on the grounds of West Hartford Town Hall.
Sarah Fite took over the organizing role on her own this year, now that event co-founders Kim and Vito Iacovacci have moved to Las Vegas, but Fite has plenty of support from West Hartford non-profit Growing Great Schools.
“The event was a complete success. Our Kids’ 5-mile relay continues to attract a great many families. Kids were excited to run and I saw many happy team moments, with kids high-fiving and hugging one another,” Fite said.
Fite said that there were a total of 55 teams participating in the 5-mile relay, representing 10 of West Hartford’s 11 public elementary schools as well as St. Thomas and Solomon Schechter Day School.
The Smith 4/5ths from Smith STEM School, with team members Avery Allen, CJ Bukowski, Ford Gillespie, and Xavier Prince, took first place in a time of 35:30. Smith had a total of 44 participants in the event, and the school was recognized for the second year in a row for having the greatest number of runners. Duffy, Norfeldt, and Braeburn also sent large contingents, with 29, 27 and 22 participants respectively.
“I will continue to expand the Kids’ Relay and look for ways to increase participation even more. The idea is fitness fun with friends,” Fite said.
The race was a 5-mile loop, starting and ending at Town Hall with runners following Boulevard to Ridgewood Road and then back along Farmington Avenue,
“I would love to see more participation in that event from our middle and high schoolers,” Fite said. “I think that working closely with the West Hartford Public Schools Physical Education Department may help us stir some interest from our older students. The one team of middle schoolers that ran the 20K took third place, narrowly missing second and the top team spot,” said Fite. The middle schoolers, Team FSA, finished in 1:33:34.
There were three teams of teachers that participated in the 20K race – one from Smith STEM School and two from Webster Hill. According to Fite, world language teacher Monika Hunt participated on both Webster Hill teams. Other notable participants included Board of Education Chair Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, whose four-person team included his wife, Jordi, and kids Sarai and Maceo.
Sponsor Bouvier Insurance’s team of four and “ran the entire race with smiles, vowing to come back again next year,” Fite said.
The total raised from this year’s event is still being calculated, Fite said, but over the past three years more than We $18,000 has been donated to the physical education of West Hartford students.
Fite is thankful to Fleet Feet Sports for their generous donation of first place prizes, including water bottles and running gear. Sponsors included Max Restaurant Group; Bouvier Insurance; Federman, Lally & Remis; Highland Window Company; and Mathnasium. Support from other local businesses included ShopRite, Girls in Stride, and 2-4-1 Sports.