Union Strides for Scholars Race Results & Report

Bigelow 1The sky was overcast, the temperature was cool, and the leaves were at their peak color in Bigelow Hollow State Park when the gun went off to start the first annual “Strides For Scholars” 5K. The course began on Bigelow Pond Rd for a half a mile before veering off road on trails that led to Breakneck Pond where they turned around and returned to the finish line. In all, 130 runners and walkers took on the challenge.

Having a huge presence at the race were many members of the 169 Society, whose mission is the run a timed road race in each of Connecticut’s 169 towns. Member Tom Walsh hit his 100th town and, as is the custom, ran in the traditional tutu.


The overall winner for the men was Bruce Christensen and for the women, Hildie Heck. Rounding out the top three for the men were John Minervino and Ken Clark. For the women, it was Laura Rutkowski and Katie Ouelette.  Click here for Race Results and Awards.

Bigelow 2Union School Association Scholarship Foundation

This event was put on by the Union School Association Scholarship Foundation as a way to gain some visibility and to help fund their annual scholarship to selected Union School graduates. Several dozen of their members attended to volunteer or to run or both.  See more information on the Scholarship Foundation here.


Check out photos from the event on the First Mile Flickr page.

After the race, people hung around for post-race snacks, fellowship, and to talk
about next year.Bigelow 3

Hartland Harvest Run: Race Results & Report

IMG_0206The 2014 edition of the Hartland Harvest Run went off with much fanfare on a beautiful October morning; perfect for racing. The race had been run for a couple of years by members of the Bethaney Lutheran Church to aid a local family in need. It went into hiatus for a couple of years but came back to life this year to much success. Once again the Bethany Lutheran Church hosted the race that drew over 100 runners who all enjoyed a run through the rolling countryside as the Fall foliage was peaking. As runners assembled at the starting line, they were welcomed by Pastor Roger Viksnes who started things off with a prayer. Then the runners were off, including Pastor Roger who ended up in 19th place.


First across the finish line was Bruce Christopher who ran a fast 19:15, followed by John Miervino and Paul Baldini in almost a dead heat at 19:57. The first female to finish was Kathleen Shaw, 5th overall, in 21:32, followed by Joan Makowski and Francis Armentano. The award for the most enthusiastic went to all of the members of the 169 Society who really made this an event. Click here for Race Results and Awards.


Check out photos from the event on the First Mile Flickr page.

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped make this a successful event. Everyone had a great time, a donation was made to the East Hartland Fuel Bank, and already, the groundwork has been laid for the 2015 race.

Benny’s Run: Results & Race Report

Benny's Run 2014 startOn Saturday, Oct 4, the 2nd Annual Benny’s Run took place in East Hampton, CT. It was a cool and overcast October morning, and then it started to rain. In other words, the perfect day for a road race!

Over 200 runners and walkers lined up at the starting line on Spellman’s Point Rd and, after being welcomed by race organizer Holly Neiweem, started their way around beautiful Lake Pocotopaug. The course was downhill and fast as participants made their way to East Hampton High School and the finish line. The race was followed by a Kid’s Fun Run, awards and a raffle. Everyone was then invited to a post-race barbecue at Sears Park.


Awards were then presented to the top three overall male and female finishers. The first runner to cross the finish line was Pat Hammond in 19:03 followed by the first female finisher, Emily Sienna, in 20:54. The next two male finishers were Joseph Gephardt in 21:05 and Chaddy Daddy in 21:44. The second and third place female finishers were Nicole Decristoforo in 23:00 and Nikki Muhlberg in 24:30. A total of 94 runners and over 100 walkers completed the distance. Click here for runner results.

Benny’s Fund

The race was started by Holly Neiweem and her family in memory of her brother, Benny Neiweem, who tragically committed suicide in 2013. Benny was a much loved and admired standout athlete and involved member of the community.

All proceeds from this event support the Benny Fund which advocates for suicide awareness and prevention and awards scholarships. See more information on the Benny Fund here.


Check out photos from the event on the First Mile Flickr page.

Plans are already underway for the 2015 Benny’s Run.

Hop River 5K & 10K a hopping success!

IMG_0486The 2nd Annual Hop River 5K/10K took place on Saturday, August 9th at 9 AM. The race was well attended and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the participants. In total, 94 runners took part in the 5K, and 53 in the 10K.

It was a beautiful, sunny, not too hot, August day. The Hop River Rail Trail is well suited for a running race; flat, soft surface, shady and scenic.


Full results are now up on Cool Running.

Congratulations in particular to our overall male and female winners:

IMG_0537Hop River 5K

Overall male winners:

  1. Thomas McManuels: 19:31
  2. Greg Paul: 19:53
  3. Jameson Nash: 20:40

 Overall female winners:

  1. Calina Glynn: 22:45
  2. Hannah Hatch: 23:09
  3. Marienella Chalfont: 23:24

IMG_0487Hop River 10K

Overall male winners:

  1. Zoltan Rigo: 39:43
  2. Ned Smith: 41:53
  3. Paul Baldini: 44:58

Overall female winners:

  1. Mary-Alex Zickefoos: 44:26 (3rd overall)
  2. Amy Daniels: 45:57
  3. Hilda Heck: 49:28

The First Mile finish linePhotos

Photos are now up on the First Mile Flickr page and are free to download. Why not share your favorite race photos on social media?


The race benefited the Andover Food Pantry. Food was collected and The First Mile presented a check for $350 to the Pantry managers.

Thank you

169 Society at the Hop River 5K 2014We would like to thank the 169 Society for supporting the event – an amazing 61 members competed in the race, and family members cheered on all participants.

We would also like to thank the Town of Andover CERTS volunteers for providing expert coverage of all of the road crossings.

Next race

We look forward to seeing you at the next First Mile event: the CT Women of Hope 5K on Sunday, September 21st!

2014 Strong Family Farm Chicken Run

StartThe Strong Family Farm Chicken Run was a huge success in its first year. The weather was perfect, the farm was beautiful, and the crowds came out.

This 5K road race, and 2 mile walk was held to benefit the Strong Family Farm. This farm, a fixture in Vernon, was home to the Strong family for generations. Nancy Strong, who lives on the homestead, has deeded the farm to the town as a living museum. All of the proceeds from this event went to help defray the costs of maintaining this great institution.  

Events of the day

The day started with the kids race, a quarter mile loop around the farm fields. About 40 young athletes ran the course and crossed the finish line; all winners. The excitement continued with the 5K road race and two mile walk. About 50 walkers traversed a challenging route in a residential neighborhood before finishing at the farm.

The 5K road race attracted about 160 runners who completed a course consisting of hills, woods, and a rail trail. Following the race, an Easter egg hunt was held and awards were presented to the age group winners.



The 5K field had a number of fast finishers. The overall winner was Ken Clark from Somers in a time of 19:32. He was followed by Bruce Christenson from Bolton (19:33) and Jason Eanle from Vernon (20:06). The first woman to cross the finish line was Jillian Ellefson from Vernon in 21:46 followed by Izzy Erikson from South Windsor in 22:31 and Anna Nadolski from Vernon in 22:44. For complete results click here.

All in all it was a fun event, and everyone had a great time.

Planning is already underway for the 2015 race so put it on your calendar.


1st Annual Running With Scissors 5K a Huge Success

First Mile 054

It was a rare spring-like morning on Saturday, March 29 at Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton. Temperatures approached the fifties and a beautiful sunrise rose above the lake as over 300 runners, walkers, supporters and volunteers converged at Sears park to celebrate the life of Karen Pfaffenbach and participate in the inaugural Running With Scissors 5K run/2 mile walk.

Opening Ceremonies

The runners and walkers all converged at the starting line just before 10:00.  Drs Justin Lunbye and Heather Swales from the Hospital of Central Connecticut spoke . Then the Golden Girls, Cory Ucci, Joanne Pagliughi, Dorothy Winch, Monica Turning, and Karen Moore spoke. This group of Karen’s friends organized this event in her memory to support women’s heart health. Then members of Karen’s family said an emotional thank you to the assembled group and presented the organizers with a check.

Then it was time for Karen’s husband George and son Kenny to start the race, and off they went.

Run logo

Fast Five K

157 runners completed the 5K course, running around the lake, going uphill for the first half, and then turning around heading for the finish line, downhill all the way.

Awards were presented to the first three overall finishers, all of whom turned in fast times. The first male finisher was Luke Shane (17:36) of Glastonbury, followed by Matt Rolaff (18:26) of East Hampton and John Moyer (19:17) of Higganum.

The top three women were Mary-Alex Zickefood (21:45) from Andover, Jackie Keefer (22:27) of Manchester, and 12 year old Emily Sienna (22:57) from Moodus. Complete results available here.

First Mile 023

Walkers and More

In addition to those who ran the race, over 100 walkers completed the two mile course. On top of this, many showed up to volunteer and to cheer on the runners.

The event raised a sizeable donation for the Women’s Heart Health Center.

All in all, the event was hugely successful and everyone is now talking about the 2015 race. Photos coming soon.

King of Pain: Ten Miles of Tough

KOP Winners

There were no T-shirts, no water stops, no cheering volunteers with cowbells, no medical tents, live bands, or police escorts, just 10 miles of grueling hills, howling winds, and single digit temperatures. Yes, it was the King of Pain Ten Mile Road Race.

Last Saturday, Feb. 8th, sixty seven intrepid runners, walkers, and relay teams lined up for the start of this no frills “fun” run hosted by the Glastonbury River Runners. The pre-race instructions were brief: “Be careful. You’re on your own out there”. Then they were off. A little over an hour later, the first of the participants approached the finish and forty five minutes after that, the final runner came in. In between there were many personal triumphs and many stories to go along with them.

There were people who had never before run a ten mile race, and then there was Neil Caron who had never run more than a couple of miles ever, and chose this event to test his mettle. And there were relay team members like Chris Goff who, after finishing the first leg, just kept on going to the finish. 

And then there were those runners for whom ten miles just weren’t quite enough. Laurie DeLuca got within a mile of the finish line when she decided she just needed to add two extra miles and then brought Gary Richards, Tony Maribelli, and Gordon Phillips along with her. And Art Byram, who showed up an hour and a half before the race, asked for a bib, and took off, running the entire ten mile course as a warm up before running the race a second time.

After the race, the main event took place, the potluck brunch. People enjoyed great soup, baked goods, and comraderie, while cheering on this year’s winners. Mike Keenan, who created this race and designed the course (now you know who to blame) presented the top three male and female finishers with crowns and granted them bragging rights for the next year. The three kings were Brett Stoeffler, Joe Hallisey, and Mike Keenan himself. And the three queens were Melanie Sandoval, Lanham Marks-Hamilton, and Brianna Carlson. And the final award went to Sasha from the Willimantic Athletic Club who, with his friend Jack Fulton, came in first place in the canine division for the second year in a row.  

But, of course, everybody was a winner. Everyone who had started the race conquered the course and crossed the finish line, and each one of them had a smile on their face.  As Art Byram said afterwards, “This is what a running club is all about.” We can’t agree more.

Turkey Can Can Results & Photos

On Saturday, November 23, on a cold and windy morning, close to 100 runners assembled for the first Ekonk Hill Farm Turkey Can Can, a 5K race that benefitted the Project Pin Food Pantry.

After hearing a few words from Sterling First Selectman Russell Gray, the runners were off down the Moosup Valley State Park Trail. This converted rail trail provided challenging terrain for the competitors, with rocks, roots, standing water and rutted areas, but everyone was up to the challenge and most finished with a smile.

169 Society at Turkey Can Can in Sterling, CT


The first to cross the finish line was John Minervino from Higganum in a time of 19:42. The first female finisher and 6th overall was local runner Cindy Oullette from Moosup in a time of 21:50. Both along with all age group winners were awarded much coveted Turkey hats.

See full results from the Turkey Can Can.


Steve Mele of the 169 Society has some photos from the race on his personal account.

More photos will be up shortly. Please check back.

Thanks for your support

The enthusiasm award goes to the 169 Society, who were represented by 48 runners and made a lot of noise, cheering on all of the participants. There was also a large representation of runners from the surrounding towns who came out to support the local event. All in all, it was a fun time and a truckload of food was collected for the food pantry. We are now looking forward to organizing the 2014 event.

The race organizers would like to thank the following sponsors who helped make this event a success: Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, Westmark Corporation, LKQ Tire & Recycling, McKeen Law, and Walmart of Lisbon.


Halfway to St Patrick’s Day Results & Photos

Congratulations to all 175 participants of the inaugural Halfway to St Patrick’s Day 5K on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at the Irish American Home in Glastonbury.

It was a terrific day all round: great turnout, beautiful weather, and a lot of positive energy.

Overall winners were Brian Graca, 35, from Rocky Hill, and Kathryn Shea, 13, from Hartford. Great job!

For full results, see Halfway to St Patrick’s Day 5K results on Cool Running.

Thanks to Brett Roberson for taking a fantastic lot of photos – find yours on The First Mile’s Flickr page.


Hop River 5K Results

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the inaugural Hop River 5K in Andover on Sunday, August 11, 2013. It couldn’t have been a better day or a more fun bunch of runners. Results are now available – see below.

Thank you all for supporting the efforts of the 169 Society to race in every town in Connecticut!

169 Society at Hop River 5K

253ChambersTrevor16MBolton18:12:001M U-19
255ChristonsenBruce45MBolton18:52:002M 40-49
250KennedyNed54MBolton18:59:003M 50-59
237RigoZoltan30MBerlin19:20:004M 30-39Y
228MinervinoJohn49MHigganum19:44:005M 40-49Y
201ZyrekAndrew45MManchester20:16:006M 40-49Y
263PowersRyan25MAndover21:08:007M 20-29
217GuyMonica30FGlastonbury21:21:008F 30-39
238RobersonBrett49MEast Hampton21:35:009M 50-59
219KennedyDani54FBolton22:16:0011F 50-59
243SteevesRich63MGuilford22:24:0012M 60+Y
203BaldiniPaul41MNorth Haven22:26:0013M 40-49Y
204BeachTimothy53MProspect22:35:0015M 50-59Y
216GuimontEdward26MGlastonbury22:35:0014M 20-29
258MaloneyLeah27FHamden22:36:0010F 20-29
205BoucherNicole41FMeridan22:37:0017F 40-49Y
231ParenchuckNicole16FAmston22:37:0016F U-19
202GoulartBruce63MNewtown22:44:0018M 60+
254AndruskeiwickPaul54MPreston23:25:0019M 50-59
265KaniaBob60MSouthington24:05:0020M 60+
257DumondBrian45MRocky Hill24:14:0021M 40-49
229OsmondAdam46MFarmington24:19:0022M 40-49Y
249HusseinMohamoud44FNewington24:27:0023F 40-49
210CiccarilloAmy31FNew Britain24:44:0025F 30-39Y
236RabenoldPaul61MAvon24:44:0024M 60+Y
224McCormickThomas62MHamden24:51:0027M 60-69Y
235PorellAgnes45FEast Hartford24:54:0026F 40-49Y
221MattheisBen59MCheshire25:56:0028M 50-59Y
215EatonSamantha16FEast Granby26:18:0029F U-19
264GhioBill59MBristol26:25:0030M 50-59
230PailthorpeJames28MVernon26:53:0031M 20-29
260InzeroEmily15FCheshire26:54:0032F U-19Y
251ReinerSharon56FMarlborough27:21:0034F 50-59
261InzeroAmy44FCheshire27:25:0033F 40-49
259von SchmidtLaurie52FBarkhamsted27:31:0035F 50-59Y
209CiccarilloDan65MNew Britain27:38:0036M 60+Y
227MeleSteve59MNorth Haven28:01:0037M 50-59Y
212ColemanThomas55MPortland28:06:0038M 50-59
207CampJacob25MVernon28:53:0039M 20-29
244TaricaniMichael59MBurlington28:59:0040M 50-59Y
225McIntosh, JrThomas76MCoventry29:00:0042M 60+
213DavisRobert62MNaugatuck29:14:0041M 60+Y
232PeruginiMarcia38FVernon29:17:0043F 30-39
233PietrosimoneKathyn27FVernon29:20:0044F 20-29
241RomaykoJanit68FEast Hartford29:20:0046F 60+Y
247ZbrozekRichard66MBerlin30:23:0047M 60+Y
262WalshTom58MWethersfield30:30:0048M 50-59Y
239RocheMonica74FFairfield32:37:0049F 60+Y
223MaysonetLuis37MManchester32:52:0050M 30-39
246WellingtonBob55MNaugatuck32:53:0051M 50-59Y
256ChamponMelanie55FMeridan33:02:0052F 50-59Y
240RogersKaren63FClinton33:29:0053F 60+Y
218HoaglandJulie43FWillimantic33:34:0054F 40-49
208CartonPatty75FStratford34:46:0055F 60+Y
220MandevilleDanielle43FEast Granby35:37:0056F 40-49
245WardMeredith25FGlastonbury36:15:0046F 20-29
248MerlisCharles72MWest Hartford39:52:0057M 60+
252SnyderEdward66MWallingford40:00:0058M 60+Y
226MeadowsSue52FMeridan43:06:0059F 50-59Y
222MattheisCatherine59FCheshire47:47:0060F 50-59Y
242RorrioMargaret41FEast Hampton47:47:0061F 40-49Y
206BremerRichard35MSouthingtonM 30-39
214DubielAnna30FRocky HillF 30-39Y
234PlymetteKari28FWillimanticF 20-29