July 2018

Doyon Race Exceeds Expectations

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Photo by Lester Smith

Blake DuFresne, 14, crosses the finish line of the Dustin Doyon Memorial Race. He was the first finisher, completing the five hilly kilometers in 19:03.17.

The First Annual Dustin L. Doyon Memorial Road Race on Saturday, May 26, attracted even more participants than the popular Firemen’s 5K eight days later. They came mostly from around here, with the farthest being from Bethel, Maine. A large fraction of the runners were from the town of Suffield, where Dustin grew up. The 5-kilometer race was hosted by Dustin’s family, with friend Kyle Englander, who had proposed the idea for the race only two month previous, serving as race director.

(Kyle is now about to enter his senior year at Suffield High School and is hoping to attend the US Naval Academy. His role in the race was widely admired, even by Lt. Cdr. Taylor Brownlie during his Suffield Memorial Day keynote address on the following Monday. Cdr. Brownlie, of West Hartford, participated in the race; he and his seven-year-old son finished together at a 3.7-mph average pace.)

Dustin was a local boy who attended Suffield High School but graduated in the class of 2009 from Cathedral High School in Springfield. After joining the Navy, he had become an Electronics Technician, 3rd Class (ET3) when he perished in that tragic ship-to-ship collision last summer in the South China Sea. During his years in the Navy, Dustin had been able to continue his successful high school cross country track career, running on deck at sea and wherever he could on land. Last year, he was able to enter and win a road race overseas. Dustin was promoted posthumously to ET2.

The race began in the connecting road between Suffield Middle School and McAlister, then turned onto Mountain Road and up Hill Street. The turn-around point was just short of the Tribble family’s driveway at No. 793. It was a very humid morning, and quite a few runners complained about the hills in the course, which were all “uphill both ways.” But their enthusiasm for the race persisted.

There were 198 finishers. The first was Blake DuFresne, 14, a freshman on the SHS cross country team. He came in at 19:03.73, for an average speed of 9.8 mph. The first three finishers, male and female, received trophies and gift cards for local restaurants. A special prize went to the first military finisher, Scott Brew (11th at 23:25.52), who received a bucket of hand tools from Home Depot. The youngest finisher was 3-year-old Ben Altieri (151st at 45:48.72). The race was professionally timed by SHS track coach Eric Senger. Results are available by googling Dustin L. Doyon Memorial Road Race.

When the last runners (or walkers) returned, it was time for the announcements. Brian Doyon, Dustin’s father, gave heartfelt thanks to the many local donors and supporters. He announced that he hoped to add a 10K race next year. After the winners were announced, there were plenty of raffle prizes. The race raised about $9,000, adding to the college scholarship fund the Doyon family has set up for graduates of Dustin’s two high schools

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