Slight inclines and their own endurance were all runners and walkers participating in the Sprint for Monroe had to contend with on a sunny Sunday morning with a steady breeze and no humidity.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Sgt. Pete Howard. “The weather cooperated and the people came out.”
Howard said that 623 people registered for the 19th annual event, held at Wolfe Park. The Monroe Police Department hosts this fundraiser to benefit school sports and charitable programs in town. Last year, $11,000 was raised.
The race used to be called the Sprint for DARE, named after the police program to keep children from abusing drugs and alcohol. However, the department is switching to SHARE, a similar program that can be tailored to the needs of Monroe, according to Howard.
Howard serves on the Sprint for Monroe Planning Committee with Frank Bent (interim Parks & Recreation director), Ed Butler, Paul Moyse and John and Maureen Berg. This year’s chief sponsor was the The Kimball Group.
“It’s a community effort, that’s what it is,” Butler said after the 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) race. “I’ve been out every year. I direct traffic, time people and cheer them on. I cheer people on with a mile to go.”
Butler is the Indoor Track and Field coach at Masuk High School, as well as the girls' track coach.
First Selectman Steve Vavrek directed runners along the course from Cross Hill Road to Millo Drive.
“It’s a great community event for all ages,” he said. “You saw five-year-olds and I think we had a 90-year-old. This is a great group of people from all walks of life.”
In fact, a 92-year-old man made the trip from Vermont to complete in Sprint for Monroe.
Once all of the money raised is collected, Bent said the planning committee decides how to divide it up. Howard said it has benefited the track program at Masuk, senior citizens, Project Warmth (which provides home heating and energy assistance) and the Monroe Food Pantry.
“Last year we gave $500 to the Masuk Color Guard,” Howard recalled.
The day included raffles with prizes including a bicycle, a cruise to Las Vegas, heart monitors, bags, and gift certificates to Monroe restaurants.
Prior to the race, there was a Children’s Fun Run.
Howard said registration moved along more smoothly than last year, because George Puglisi and his wife added an extra table. There were also tables of food, including fruit from Edible Arrangements, doughnuts and banana bread.
"We had a great food selection," Howard said. "The food was definitely above average."
Trophies were awarded to the top three finishers in each category (male and female) in Spring for Monroe's main event, along with the Top Monroe finisher (male and female). Cash Prizes were 1st $100, 2nd $50 and 3rd $25. First place for Master is $50 (Male & Female).
The Top Finishers Overall were (Men) Oscar Barretto, 47, of New Haven, 16:46; Austin Baldour, 18, of Sand Hook, 16:59; and Sean Gauaghan, 24, of Monroe, 17:27; (Women) Helen Merkle, 43, of Trumbull, 19:26 and Rebecca Ambrose, 33, of Monroe, 21:34.
For complete results, follow this link.
In addition to Kimball Group, sponsors included: Sprint for Monroe is also sponsored by Minuteman Press - Monroe, Mr. Handyman, Newtown Savings Bank, Pepsi Cola N.A., Adagio Photoworks, Bagel King, BIC Corporation, Big Y, Blanchette Sporting Goods, Center For Vision Care, Creative Music Center, Cycle Fitness, Dunkin Donuts of Monroe, Edible Arrangements of Monroe, Entennmanns, Fitness 4000, Guida’s Milk and Ice Cream, Hello Me Films, Jennie’s Pizzeria, Jensen Tire, Auto & Marine LLC, JP Maguire Associates Inc., Magas Media Consultants, Marybeth Zarifian, Realtor Monroe Police Department, Mr. Mac’s Canteen, Paul A. Moyse DC, Pepperidge Farm, Polar Heart Rate Monitors, Purdy Hill Bakery & Deli LLC, The Rustic Grille, Soup Thyme Spire LLC, Steve Williams Salon, Swiss Army Brands, Town Fair Tire, Turner Construction, The Vacation Center, Walgreens, Wolfe Promotional Services and Woodbridge Running Company.