The 7th Annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed Johnny’s Jog for Charity 5K was held on on Sunday, March 26, 2017, in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square.
By Ronni Newton
Rain started falling steadily just before the race was set to begin, but cold and damp weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of the approximately 800 runners and walkers who stepped off in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square Sunday morning for the Johnny’s Jog for Charity 5K.
The St. Patrick’s Day-themed event was originally scheduled for March 19, but a wintery weather forecast force a postponement of a week.
This is the first year that the 5K officially recorded times. Chris Chisolm, 54, of Farmington was the overall winner in a time of 17.00. The first female and third overall finisher was 17-year-old Gwen Geisler, a senior at Conard High School, in a time of 19:10.
Johnny’s Jog for Charity is much more than a road race. The event was founded by West Hartford residents Dan and Laura Moran (Johnny’s parents) and Dan and Kelly Clark and, and inspired by the incredible, brave life of Johnny Moran who was born in 2007 with Wieaker Wolff Syndrome, a rare and debilitating condition.
Sadly Johnny passed away last April, but the organization and race founded in his honor continue to celebrate his resilience and strength, and bring the community together.
“Johnny’s Jog is about bringing people together and celebrating life. It is inspired by a boy that has taught us all to be positive and strong no matter what we are challenged with,” Dan Moran said.
In addition to the run, activities included Irish Step Dancers, a DJ, a bagpiper to send off and welcome home participants, prizes for best Irish costume, face-painting, and more.
The event also benefits local non-profit children’s organizations that assist families and children.
Dan Moran said at the event that approximately $300,000 has been raised since Johnny’s Jog for Charity, Inc. was formed, and this year raised more than $70,000. “The Clarks and Morans are overwhelmed with the generosity and support of this community,” he said.
The beneficiaries are Covenant Preparatory School of Hartford (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), Miracle League of Connecticut (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), and the Molly Ann Tango Memorial Foundation (helps finance the purchase of much-needed medical supplies or services when insurance is exhausted and other social programs are unavailable).
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