Published January 18. 2013 4:00AM Updated January 21. 2013 4:42PM
This new 5K could become the state's second-biggest road race in just its first year.
Unfortunately, the reason for its creation was last month's school shootings in Newtown.
Four thousand runners have already registered for the "Sandy Hook Run for the Families" which will be held March 23 in downtown Danbury. The field has been capped at 10,000 runners.
And while 10,589 runners finished the Manchester Road race - the state's largest - on Thanksgiving, the Newtown race could technically eclipse that number even with the cap.
That's because there is a virtual division in which runners can pay the $25 entry fee ($10 for kids), receive a T-shirt and number and run with others in their own communities to show support. Runners from other states have already entered the virtual division.
"This is a nice way to let everybody do something to show we're thinking about our neighbors in Newtown," said Elizabeth Cowles, who works for the public relations firm that represents the Hartford Marathon Foundation.
The HMF has donated its services and will direct the race. All of the entry fees will go to The Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
"This is something the marathon is honored to be a part of," she said.
"Here in Connecticut and around the world, we are all looking for ways to show our support and somehow make a positive contribution," said Beth Shluger, HMF founder, in a statement. "We've seen how family run/walk events can truly motivate a great sense of camaraderie and we're honored to produce this event to help everyone show their support for the families of Sandy Hook, the first responders and the entire community of Newtown."
Two people from the Naugatuck area came up with the idea for the race and, after seeing there would be a lot of interest, contacted the HMF for its assistance.
The race had originally been planned for Western Connecticut State University, which could accommodate up to 3,000 runners. But within a few days of the race being announced, 2,000 runners had signed up and Cowles said organizers had to reassess the WCSU location because they did not want to turn anyone away.
So the move was made to downtown Danbury. Cowles said the race is not being staged in Newtown because organizers don't want to further strain the resources of that small community.
The event will begin at 10 a.m., with kids 2-11 running a half-mile or mile, followed by the 5K. There will also be a special tribute to first responders.
More information is available at www.hartfordmarathon.com.
On the schedule
• On Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. the 21st annual Colchester Half-Marathon will be held at Bacon Academy.
This USATF-certified course features hills, dirt roads and is a bargain-priced spring marathon tuneup at just $12 in advance and $15 on race day. The fee includes a big post race carbo re-load party.
On line registration is at http://www.mysportsfee.com/colchesterhalfmarathon.aspx. For more information or a mail-in application, contact Rick Konon at email@example.com or call (860) 537-4597.
Joe Wojtas is The Day's running columnist