UPDATE: STRIDES FOR SANDY HOOK 5k

We’d like to once again say thank you to everyone for your patience with waiting for updates and additional information. Your support and patience allowed the three organizers to pool all resources and organize as much as they could in a limited amount of time. The three organizers of this run have been putting 150% effort into making this event a reality, and we appreciate everyone who has reached out to offer their help any way they can.

We finally have an update, but it’s not the update anyone was hoping to hear (although there is still some good news). As many of you are aware, putting on any kind of “race” takes months, sometimes even over a year, to organize. Officials in Newtown are still overwhelmed with tons of work and there are worries that our 5k will mean a serious shortage of manpower and state support needed to make it “official. Organizing an “official” 5k run/walk would entail coordinating with the police department, as well as state departments that are currently unable to work with us, given the time frame we have to work with.

With that said, the organizers and myself still intend to run our Strides for Sandy Hook 5k on Saturday, January 19, 2013. We will be convening on the soccer fields at Fairfield Hills in Newtown, Conn. at 9:30 a.m. for a balloon release and 5k run to show our support to the victims as well as our heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. We would like for this to be an unofficial community run/gathering where residents of Newtown and surrounding areas can come together and run to remember those lost.

We understand this group has attracted 5,000+ people; however, without town/state approval as an “official” event, there is no way we can accommodate such a large number of runners. Everyone’s support is greatly appreciated, but with the recent developments, our hands are tied.

We encourage non-local runners (New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, etc.) to gather in their respective communities and hold satellite runs or gatherings of support. We also encourage satellite runners to make a donation for the same amount as what the registration fee would have been—$25 to the Newtown Park Gift Fund (http://www.newtown-ct.gov/public_documents/NewtownCT_Park/index), with “Strides for Sandy Hook 5k Run” written in the memo box. Please post any photos you take that day to the Strides for Sandy Hook 5k Facebook “event” page, as well, so we can share the day with each other.

Please remember that the primary reason for this event was to remember and honor the lives lost on December 14. This can be achieved, no matter where you find yourself running on January 19. We hope this doesn’t disappoint anyone who was looking for an “officially timed race.” Truth is, the most important aspect of this day is to remember those lost and run together as a show of solidarity. Times, goals, and PRs were never what we had in mind for this 5k when we set out to make it happen in such a short time.

Now, this may not be the “official” Strides for Sandy Hook 5k memorial run/walk, but we can still make a difference. Coming out Saturday will be your way of making a difference, and we can’t wait to see it! If you take photos of your community’s satellite memorial run, we’d love to feature them in a special “Strides for Sandy Hook” album on Facebook and our website. Please email all photos to stridesforsh5k@gmail.com. If you plan on coming out, running and showing your support in Newtown on January 19, please “join” the event page we have provided on Facebook so we can have a general idea of how many  are attending. We will also be accepting cash/check donations the day of for the Newtown Park Gift Fund.

Again, thank you all for your endless support! We could not have made it as far as we did in the planning process if not for the outstanding support from both individuals and companies. Thank you to David Katz of Finish Line Road Race Technicians (timing and course measurement), Charlie Olbrias of Last Mile Racing (registration), Michael Skelps (photography and bibs), Jack Coutts of Woodbridge Running Company (prizes), Debbie O’Toole of Ozone Fitness Training Center (prizes), Iovino Brothers (t-shirts), Bondi Bands (prizes), ENERGYbits (post-race food provisions), Goodwill, Vitamin Water, Chobani, Crystal Rock, New Balance of Bethel, and the hundreds of volunteers we collaborated with during this short time frame. We can’t wait to see you (or your photos) on January 19!

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