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West Hartford Man Wins Blue Back Square Mitten Run

Eric Blake of West Hartford is the first to cross the finish line, followed closely by Joe Gioielli, in the HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Eric Blake of West Hartford, a veteran Mt. Washington Road Race winner, was the first to cross the finish line in the annual Hartford Marathon Foundation Blue Back Mitten Run.

Eric Blake of West Hartford is the first to cross the finish line, followed closely by Joe Gioielli, in the HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Eric Blake of West Hartford is the first to cross the finish line, followed closely by Joe Gioielli, in the HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

More than 2,200 runners, many decked out in festive mittens and hats – or even complete Santa costumes – lined up on Burr Street in West Hartford under bright blue skies on Sunday morning for the annual Blue Back Mitten Run.

At the finish line of the 5K course, many had warmed up enough to shed their mittens.

“It’s a great crowd,” Hartford Marathon Executive Director Beth Shluger said. “It’s such a festive family race, and what a wonderful way to end the season.” The Blue Back Mitten Run is the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s last race of the season.

The race is named the “Mitten Run” not just because many runners need to cover their hands to ward off the December chill, but also because the race is a collection point for winter accessories for needy residents. West Hartford’s The Town That Cares Fund is the beneficiary of most of the hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves donated at registration, with some of the extra items going to Winterfest in Hartford, Shluger said.

Eric Blake of West Hartford, 37, who has won the grueling Mt. Washington Road Race multiple times, was the first to cross the finish line in 16:04, just a fraction of a second ahead of last year’s winner and course record holder Joe Gioielli, 23, of New Britain. Blake, the head track and field and cross country coach at Central Connecticut State University, is Gioielli’s coach.

“We’ve never raced together,” Blake said. “We got out front and were working well together. Joe was cruising, like he was out for a tempo run.”

Blake said this was his first time running the Mitten Run, which passes right near his own West Hartford neighborhood. He found the downhills to be the toughest part of the course.

West Hartford’s Trey Cormier, a sophomore and cross country standout at Hall High School, took third place in 16:24. Hall teammates Patrick Keith (seventh), Dylan Rendon (13th), and Jake Rocheleau (15th) were also top-20 finishers.

Mick Haines of West Hartford, a 2016 graduate of Kingswood Oxford School, took sixth place.

The first female finisher was Katie Edwards in 17:46. The 34-year-old South Glastonbury resident was a 2016 Olympic trials qualifier.

Anne Leonard-Blake, 34, who is married to Eric Blake, was the first West Hartford woman to cross the finish line. She was the fourth woman overall in a time of 19:09.

In keeping with the race’s wintery theme, age group winners took home mugs and hot chocolate kits as prizes.

Santa was on hand to high five all of the finishers who were then treated to post-race snacks of hot cocoa and holiday cookies.

In addition to the 5K, the Mitten Run also included an HMF FitKids race for children ages 2-11 who were given the opportunity to run distances of ½ mile or one mile

A gallery of images from the race is below. For complete results, click here.

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Trey Cormier, a sophomore runner from Hall High School, was third in the HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Trey Cormier, a sophomore runner from Hall High School, was third in the HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Katie Edwards of South Glastonbury was the first female finisher. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Katie Edwards of South Glastonbury was the first female finisher. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Town That Cares Fund is very grateful for the donations of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Town That Cares Fund is very grateful for the donations of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Runners donate winter accessories. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Runners donate winter accessories. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband Michael were ready for the run. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband Michael were ready for the run. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Some of the 50-plus members of Girls in Stride pose for a photo with their coaches. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Some of the 50-plus members of Girls in Stride pose for a photo with their coaches. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Wheelchair athletes got a 30-second head start. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Wheelchair athletes got a 30-second head start. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

And they're off ... HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

And they’re off … HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Greg Weaver of West Hartford finished in fifth place. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Greg Weaver of West Hartford finished in fifth place. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mick Hains of West Hartford was sixth overall. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mick Hains of West Hartford was sixth overall. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Patrick Keith of West Hartford in seventh place. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Patrick Keith of West Hartford in seventh place. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Shizhong Yang of West Hartford finished 11th overall. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Shizhong Yang of West Hartford finished 11th overall. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jake Rocheleau of West Hartford high-fives Santa on the way to his 15th place finish. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jake Rocheleau of West Hartford high-fives Santa on the way to his 15th place finish. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Anne Leonard-Blake was the first female finisher from West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Anne Leonard-Blake was the first female finisher from West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Watkinson student Bonnie Miller (left) tries to catch Wesley Jackson of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Watkinson student Bonnie Miller (left) tries to catch Wesley Jackson of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

14-year-old Ben Roach of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

14-year-old Ben Roach of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mary Liz Williams (right) took third place in her age group. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mary Liz Williams (right) took third place in her age group. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

At far left is 9-year-old Tess Sherry of West Hartford, who finished second (behind her sister Liv) in the 9-and-under age group. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

At far left is 9-year-old Tess Sherry of West Hartford, who finished second (behind her sister Liv) in the 9-and-under age group. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

13-year-old Jude Sargent of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

13-year-old Jude Sargent of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mason Joyce of Bristol was first in the wheelchair division. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mason Joyce of Bristol was first in the wheelchair division. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annie Keith of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annie Keith of West Hartford. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Heather and Rich Ferguson-Hull. Heather coached some Fleet Feet runners through the race. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Heather and Rich Ferguson-Hull. Heather coached some Fleet Feet runners through the race. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Top three finishers were Eric Blake of West Hartford (center), Joe Gioielli (right) and Trey Cormier. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Top three finishers were Eric Blake of West Hartford (center), Joe Gioielli (right) and Trey Cormier. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Maya Oberstein of West Hartford won the female wheelchair division. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Maya Oberstein of West Hartford won the female wheelchair division. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall High School cross country teammates had a great showing in the race. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall High School cross country teammates had a great showing in the race. HMF Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 4, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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