Lifestyle Sports

Runners and Walkers: Register Now for Celebrate! West Hartford Road Races

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

The 32nd annual Celebrate! West Hartford Road Races return on June 2, 2019, at a new time, and registration is now open.

By Ronni Newton

Runners of all ages, speeds, and abilities will take to the streets of West Hartford on June 2, joining the community for the 32nd annual Celebrate! West Hartford Road Races.

West Hartford’s signature outdoor festival, Celebrate! West Hartford, will be held the first weekend of June this year, and for many, participating in the one of the annual road races – either the 5K or Kids Fun Run – is the most highly-anticipated part of the weekend.

Online registration is now open for both the 5K, on a USATF-certified course through the Webster Hill neighborhood that features a downhill finish, and the half-mile Kids Fun Run through Blue Back Square, which features a medal for each finisher.

New this year to this family-friendly fitness event is an earlier start time. The Kids Fun Run will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the 5K at 8:30 a.m. The Kids Fun Run course has also been modified, and will start on Burr Street and finish on Isham Road, near the corner of Raymond Road.

“This year marks the 32nd running of families, friends, and neighbors getting together to celebrate fitness and fun in our community,” Road Race Committee Chair Michael Alquist said in a news release. “The celebration extends beyond race day – race proceeds go to scholarships for families in need to participate in Leisure Services programs year-round,” added Alquist, who by day is a lieutenant in the West Hartford Police Department.

Celebrate! West Hartford Event Director Linda Geisler said that race draws a great crowd every year, with some running to break a personal (or course) record, some to support the town’s camp scholarship funds, and others just running or walking for fun, to be part of the Celebrate! experience.

“Celebrate! West Hartford attracts some of the fastest runners in the region,” Geisler said. “We’ve had elite runners, but we also get large groups of kids who train for the race by participating in training programs throughout the spring in West Hartford and neighboring towns. And we also give great prizes,” she added.

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 registration has been streamlined, and allows registrants to sign up multiple runners in one transaction. Registration can be done on paper as well, and should be mailed with a check to Celebrate WH Road Races, West Hartford Town Hall, Room 128, 50 South Main St., West Hartford, CT 06107.

Registration for the 5K is $27 until May 22, and to guarantee receipt of a road race shirt designed by a West Hartford high school student. Fees will increase to $32 on May 23. The Kids Fun Run is $5.

Registration will also be available along with packet pick-up at Fleet Feet Sports, 1003 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, on Friday, May 31, from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday, June 1, from 9 a.m.-noon.

Race-day registration and packet pick-up is also 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.

Visit the Celebrate! West Hartford website (www.CelebrateWestHartford.com) for more information about the race, including the link to registration, and for details about other festival activities.

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