Lifestyle Sports

Johnny’s Jog Looking to be a Virtual – and Actual – Success in 2021

Johnny's Jog organizers and volunteers at Rockledge Grille Thursday for participant t-shirt pickup. From left: Rob O'Meara, Lauren O'Meara, Jenn O'Connell, Holly Walsh, Laura Moran, Kelly Clark, and Dan Clark. Courtesy photo

Johnny’s Jog for Charity returns to West Hartford for 2021, in a modified ‘Your Place. Your Race’ format which will allow participants to run any time March 27 or 28.

Johnny’s Jog for Charity. March 24, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

After setting records for participation and fundraising in 2019, what would have been the 10th annual Johnny’s Jog for Charity in March 2020 was canceled amid the shutdown of activity in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnny’s Jog is back for 2021, and although the event is being held in a modified format due to the lingering pandemic, organizers are excited that everything is coming together for success the weekend of March 27-28.

“It’s ‘Your Place. Your Pace,” organizer Laura Moran said of this year’s virtual event. Participants can design their own 5K, and if they want to compete against others can upload their time to the website. The only requirement is that the racing take place on March 27 or March 28, 2021.

Virtual 5K race results can be submitted by clicking here. The link will also be provided in 2021 Virtual Johnny’s Jog for Charity 5K participant confirmation email, or by going to your profile page on runsignup.com.

There will be prizes for the male and female with the fastest time and – in keeping with the event’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day theme –  for the best Irish garb based on photos shared to the Johnny’s Jog Facebook page or tagged on Instagram (@johnnysjog).

“We’re hoping people take us up on that,” Moran said of the Irish garb contest. All photos of the event are encouraged – even if you’re not decked out in green.

Those who aren’t up to running the full 5K distance (3.1 miles), or who may have their kids in tow, can do a mile or two and still be part of the event. Participants are also welcome to run longer distances.

“Johnny’s Jog is really coming together. I think you’ll see a lot of green around town,” Moran said.

When the event was canceled in 2020, sponsors were rolled over to this year, and Moran is thrilled to report that thus far they have raised more than $100,000 – a new record. There is also a virtual raffle and auction that includes entertainment, sporting events, kids’ packages, and more, and Johnny’s Jog gear is also available for purchase. More details on how to bid or donate can be found on the website.


They also have more than 700 participants already registered, and because it’s virtual, they’re from all over the country, as far away as Oregon. There are also participants signed up from Texas, Chicago, Georgia, and New Jersey.

Some West Hartford neighborhoods have set up teams and groups of families and friends plan to run in small groups over the weekend. The University of Hartford men’s basketball team, led by coach John Gallagher, also plans to run a Johnny’s Jog course around Wood Pond on Saturday afternoon, Moran said.

“My husband and I are really excited to run it this year,” said Moran – something they have never been able to do in the past because they are busy running the event. They plan to follow the traditional loop, which begins and ends in Blue Back Square.

Laura and her husband, Dan Moran, and their friends and fellow West Hartford residents Dan and Kelly Clark, started the 5K fundraising event in 2011.

Johnny’s Jog for Charity is much more than a road race. It was inspired by the incredible, brave, but sadly brief life of Laura and Dan Moran’s son, Johnny, who was born in 2007 with Wieacker Wolff Syndrome, a rare and debilitating condition. Johnny passed away in April 2016, but the organization and race founded in his honor continue to celebrate his resilience and strength, and bring the community together.

The beneficiaries of the race are all children’s-related nonprofits, and include Covenant Preparatory School of Hartford, which provides tuition-free middle school to boys in underserved families in the City of Hartford in order to help them graduate academically prepared for further education (www.covenantprep.org); the Miracle League of Connecticut, which fosters a community and sports facilities that remove all barriers so young athletes with unique needs are able to join their friends and experience the joy and triumph of team sports in their purest form (www.miracleleaguect.org); and the Molly Ann Tango Memorial Foundation which helps finance the purchase of much-needed medical supplies or services when insurance is exhausted and other social programs are unavailable (www.mollytango.org). These organizations benefit the lives of countless children annually and depend on communal donations to do so. In 2020, Friends of Brigid Curtin at Westmoor Park was added as a “Clover Charity.” After successfully raising funds for a new outdoor classroom which opened in August 2020 to honor Brigid Curtin, additional funding will support programs at Westmoor Park. The park was a beloved space for Brigid, who died tragically on Dec. 17, 2018.

​For complete details about the event, including links to register and donate, click here.

Moran is very grateful to all of the event sponsors, and the full list can be found below.


Connecticut Ear, Nose & Throat, PC

For the Love of Amy

Jeffrey & Nancy Hoffman

& The Hoffman Auto Group

Jodi & Tony Oh

May, Bonee & Clark Insurance


NBT Bank

Rockledge Grille/Beachland Tavern/

Beachland Smoke

Star Distributors/Blue Moon/Coors Light

Tokio Marine HCC D&O Group


2-4-1 Sports

Coldwell Banker Realty

Community Child Guidance Clinic

Dunkin’ Donuts–GAD Franchisee

JJ Promotions

Keller Williams Realty

NeuroHealth of Connecticut

O’Meara Real Estate Group

Progressive Animal Wellness (PAW)

RT Specialty

The Church of Saint Peter Claver

The Perry Egress Group at Morgan Stanley

The Rotary Club of West Hartford

UMF Medical

Wentworth, DeAngelis & Kaufman Insurance


American Diagnostic Corporation

Athleta Westfarms

Bay Financial

Blue Back Dental

C2 Educational Systems

Cushman & Wakefield

Datapay Payroll Services

DeRobertis Jewelers

Eagan, Donohue & Falsey, LLP

El Pollo Guapo

Hartley & Parker

Harvard Pilgrim

Holly Walsh, Coldwell Banker

Higgins Flooring

JP Carroll Roofing

Lamar Advertising

Lionshead Energy, LLC

Luna Pizza, West Hartford

Madd Capp

Mystic Aquarium

Pat Cooney Attorney at Law

Quassy Amusement Park

Seamus Painting, West Hartford

Solinsky Eye Care

The Backyard Musical

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

TJ Hall of TowerMark Wealth Management

Uberdog Dog Playcare & Hotel

West Hartford Exchange Club

Wings Over West Hartford


BR Surgical

Central Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

CrossFit Relentless

Ransom Ink

Smiles for the Future Pediatric Dentistry

The Bee Man, CT

The Enlightenment Counseling Center, LLC


Back East Brewing Company

Avon Prime Meats

Big Sky Fitness

Central Optica

Jessica Tamaccio, Color Street Nails

Conard High School Lacrosse

Cycle Bar West Hartford

Dick’s Sporting Goods


Bride’s First Choice DJ’s/MC Joan Dylan

Drew McElroy Lacrosse


Frame Dimensions

Homegrown Friends

Hope & Stetson

Iris Photography

J Restaurant

Joey’s Pizza Pie


Max & Lily’s Closet

Mystic Aquarium

New park Brewing

Playhouse on Park


Shiny Nail & Spa


Sugar Salon


Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Total Wine & More

West Hartford Yoga

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