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Runners Start Off New Year On The Right Foot At Brookfield Lions Road Race

Sara Belles of Brookfield posts the fastest time among female runners in the New Year’s Day Brookfield Lions Run for Sight 4-mile race on Friday. Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Brookfield resident Pam Mannion completes her very first race on Friday. Photo Credit: Joe Mannion
Woodbridge Running Group members attend the 29th Annual New Year's Day Brookfield Lions Run For Sight 4-Mile race on Friday. Photo Credit: Andy Timmerman
Overall male winner Will Sanders starts of his New Year with a victory. Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Runners line up at the starting line at Brookfield High School for Friday's race. Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox

BROOKFIELD, Conn. — Pam Mannion’s husband runs, and so do her two sons. Just three weeks ago, the 52-year-old Brookfield resident decided she wanted to try running, too.

Mannion began running on the treadmill at her gym and, encouraged by friends at the Woodbridge Running Group in Brookfield last week, ran 3 miles without stopping. On New Year’s Day, she joined over 220 fellow runners at the 29th annual New Year’s Day Brookfield Lions Run for Sight 4-mile race, which started and finished at Brookfield High School.

Mannion, who finished the race in about 45 minutes, said she ran the entire course. “I told myself, ‘No quitting allowed, and no walking, either,’” she said, adding that she plans to sign up for more races.

The overall male winner of the race was 28-year-old Will Sanders from Wethersfield, with a time of 19.53. The top female finisher was Sara Belles, 35, of Brookfield, in 25:52.

The overall master’s winners were Jim Harron of Brookfield, at 24.20, and Pam Quist of New Preston, at 29.48

Sanders said he looks forward to coming out every year for the race. “It’s something to get the New Year started off right.”

Belles said she finds the hilly course is challenging. “They allow you to focus on your racing skills,” she said.

The New Year’s Day Brookfield Run for Sight race is the first event in the Four Seasons Challenge Series. The other three events are the Mother’s Day 5K, the JDRF Strides to Cure Diabetes 5-Miler and the Brookfield Family Chiropractic 5K Halloween Run. Runners who register for and complete all four races receive a gift.

According to race director Mark Lyon, the worldwide mission of the Lion’s Club is to raise money to fight blindness and preventable eye disease. Proceeds of the race will be donated to the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation at Yale-New Haven Hospital. 

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