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Registration Opens for Fourth Annual West Hartford Relay

Runners in the kids relay portion of the 2014 West Hartford Relay transition runners. Photo credit: Ronni Newton.

Organizers have updated the course this year and hope the changes will attract more participants.

Runners in the kids relay portion of the 2014 West Hartford Relay transition runners. Photo credit: Ronni Newton.

Runners in the kids relay portion of the 2014 West Hartford Relay transition runners. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (We-Ha.com file photo)

By Daniel Guest

Teams of kids and adults will have the opportunity to participate in a newly improved and lively event to support children’s health when the fourth annual West Hartford Relay kicks off on Sept. 26, 2015, at 8 a.m. at Town Hall.

Registration for the event opened this week.

The West Hartford Relay was founded in 2012 by former Reach the Beach Ultramarathon participants Sarah Fite as well as husband and wife Vito and Kim Iacovazzi.

The three served as organizers of the first three West Hartford Relays, but Fite has taken on the organizational activities herself this year, following the Iacovazzis recent move out of the area.

Fite said that one of the changes for this year’s relay is the restructuring of the adult race to make it more attractive to four-person teams of adults as well as older children.

“To ensure that the race will accommodate more people, last year’s 20-mile relay has been changed to a 20K relay. This year we have received feedback from the community and understand that 10 miles [the distance run by each runner on a two-person team last year] might be a stretch for people who are not serious runners. So we decided that a 5K would be more accommodating to runners.”

Fite said that the route of the adult race was also simplified.

“We shortened the race from a 5 mile [loop] down to a 3 mile route which is much simpler. It goes down Boulevard to Ridgewood and back along Farmington Avenue.”

Thanks in part to increased involvement from the Growing Great Schools (GGS), Fite feels that the event will be better than ever.

“We are doing great this year in our fourth year of the event. We are picking up where we left off last year with the benefit of continued sponsors in a lot of ways. GGS really helped with out volunteer base for the race, and helped provide refreshments for runners on race day.”

Executive Board Member and Secretary of Growing Great Schools Susan Kamin gave additional insight into how the event was organized.

“Sarah [Fite] helps with development of promo material, getting flyers done, and producing T-shirts that are coordinated with the town and race courses. In the past we were just involved with the kids. This year we are helping with everything from music equipment to putting up flyers around town. We send kids home with flyers and really develop our volunteer base”

Kamin said that the GSS is making an increased effort to target 6th through 12th graders. Kamin thinks that shortening the race will give the GSS leverage in targeting participants in this age range.

“We are sending flyers home with all kids, specifically engineering our efforts towards middle and high schoolers. This year we have opened up the adult race to 6th through 12th graders.”

Instead of running with the younger group of runners, the middle school and high schoolers have the option to run against the more advanced runners.

The kids’ race remains a 5-mile relay consisting of loops through Blue Back Square. Teams can be made up of two, three, or four runners. On a four-person team, for example, each member would run two laps or 1.25 miles.

The expected turnout for the event is 100 adults and 200 kids, organizers said.

All of the money generated from the event goes back to the West Hartford Public Schools’ Physical Education Department.

To register for the event or for more information, visit the West Hartford Relay website at www.westhartfordrelay.com.

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