NEWTOWN, Conn. — Despite the rain, Fairfield County residents raced out to the Fairfield Hills campus in Newtown on Saturday morning to live out their motto — 'Love Runs Through ... Our Schools' — and to show their support for the Sandy Hook 5K and Newtown Memorial Fund.
More than 2,100 children and adults got wet for the cause. The event featured a kids race with 225 runners, and the main event — the Sandy Hook 5K — with nearly 1,900 runners. An additional 200 people, including a soldier in Afghanistan, also ran the race virtually.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty welcome the runners. Volunteers dished up plenty of food, and live entertainment was provided by Fairfield band Alpaca Gnomes.
Isaac Grosner, 17, of Massachusetts, was the 5K winner, clocking in at 18:40 on the wet course. Grosner perfectly voiced the feelings of so many who turned out to support the Newtown event, which honors the memory of the six educators and 20 first-graders slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
"My dad grew up in Newtown, and he was affected by what happened here a few years ago," Grosner told Daily Voice. "At a lot of races it's all about winning, but here it doesn't matter what time or place you finish — it's for the cause."
Members of the Newtown Baseball program came out to support the cause by helping out in running the kids race.
"We came out to support the town," varsity team captains Jack Procaccini and Sam Czel told Daily Voice. "There are a lot of people running, and we want to be part of the community. We love the event, and it's a great time out here on a Saturday morning."
Race director Julie Brunelle, of Monroe, told Daily Voice: "We're here because of the tragedy, but we're here to make sure that tragedy doesn't define this town. We're here to come together as a community, move forward, and always support each other."
Proceeds from the Sandy Hook 5K will be donated to the Collaborative Recovery Fund, administered by the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation. It pays the out-of-pocket mental health expenses for those eligible who have been most impacted by the tragedy. A percent of the proceeds will also go directly to the chosen nonprofit organizations of the 26 families who lost loved ones.
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