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In 2019 I was at an informational session put on by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for details about the Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund. The crowd members were asked what their community’s strongest asset was. At that time, I was only in Suffield for a little over six months, and was just getting to know the town. Even then, I knew the answer. I raised my hand, and proudly said into the microphone, “Suffield’s strongest asset is its people.” Looking back, not a truer statement could have been spoken.

A first-hand example of what a giving community Suffield is, was when I reached out to some community members to form a Road Race Committee to help grow the annual Parks and Recreation 5k and 10k Road Races. Commonly referred to as the Suffield Road Race, these scenic races are held on the second Saturday in September, and are the kick-off to Suffield on the Green. Not only did every single person I asked to volunteer their time and expertise for Suffield say “Yes,” they brought on more people! This committee is made up of not only runners, but professionals in specific areas to grow the race.

With the Road Race Committee’s help and enthusiasm, we are making this more than just another road race. We have added many family friendly activities, including: a free kids’ fun run held before the start of the 10k race, and a Kidz Zone filled with music, games, and inflatable playscape to keep the kids busy while the races are going on. We have also added a Mascot Run! What is a Mascot Run? Picture some of your favorite local mascots from pros, college and even some high schools racing around the cul-de-sac and across the finish line! The mascots will stay around for pictures with you and your family. The Kids’ Fun Run is generously sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Creating great family memories at the road race was one of the committee’s goals. However, we wanted to make it an amazing event for the runners as well. We have added over $1,500 in cash to the prize pool. This will be distributed to the top finishers in both the 5k and 10k races, along with gift cards for age division winners. Each runner receives a race t-shirt, but can upgrade that cotton t-shirt to a performance fabric -t-shirt for only $10. One thing that attracts runners to a race is “swag,” the cool gear that they receive for running. This year, the first 200 runners to register will receive a free performance fabric ¼ zip pullover courtesy of PeoplesBank, our title sponsor.

It is not one thing that makes a great race, it takes many people, departments, organizations runners and sponsors. These race-day enhancements would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors: PeoplesBank, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Artioli Dodge, The Lily House, Highland Park Market, and Select Medical. There are still sponsor and volunteer opportunities available. If you are interested, please email me at: pleclerc@suf

Suffield Road Race Committee members: Neil Altieri, Bill Boucher, Brian Casinghino, Kevin Cummings, Joseph Hicks, Jesse Howes, Adam Hushin, Chrissy Kiddy, Dan LaBreck, Sam Lombardo, Peter Leclerc, Steve Marchillo, Anthony Migliozzi, Chris Nikolis, Dave Rusnock, Colin Seguin, Perry Siegel, Sarah Sperazza, Sarah Supino and Rich Tyrol.

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