Fun and Fitness Returned to Pear Tree Point at The Community Fund of Darien’s Road Race

Nearly 300 participants representing towns from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York gathered on a picture-perfect day at Pear Tree Point in Darien on Sunday morning for the 41st running of The Community Fund of Darien’s “Darien Road Race.”  The 1.5 mile Fun Run and 5 mile race, presented by Mirador, raised funds to benefit The Community Fund of Darien’s nonprofit partners who provide social services, programs and initiatives to youth in Darien, Norwalk, and Stamford. 

Patrick Dooley of Stamford was the first person to cross the 5-mile finish line of the 40th annual Darien Road Race on Sunday, with a time of 26:47.  Patrick said that his first Darien Road Race was a lot of fun, both for him and young daughter Andrea, who enjoyed the face painting and other family activities.  “It was a good course, a little hilly but nice and shaded in sections,” he added.    

Darien’s Kerri McNicholas was the first woman to finish the five-mile race with a time of 34:41.  She was joined by her husband, who pushed their 1-year-old son in his jogging stroller.  It was her second Darien Road Race, and her son’s first.  “He fell asleep a half-mile in,” she laughed.

The winners of the 1.5-mile Fun Run were Darien’s Liam Kelly, age 11, with a time of 10:41 and Eric Ciocca of Northampton, MA , age 43, with a time of 10:42.  

Liam credits Eric, who he met at the race, with his first place finish.  “Without him, I wouldn’t have won,” he said.  “It’s always better running with someone that’s better than you; you have to push yourself a lot more.”  

Eric had similar praise for his fellow runner, adding that Liam inspired him to give a little more than he  would have at his first Darien Road Race.  Eric is part of the “Run 169 Towns Society,” a group of runners who aspire to run a race in every town in the state of Connecticut.  The Darien Road Race checked off the 131st town on his list.

For complete Darien Road Race 2021 results, click www.athlinks.com/event/20469/results/Event/979557/Course/2097959/Division/1758472/Results.

Non-runners also enjoyed the family-friendly morning, which featured energizing music throughout the event from DJ Eric Shoji, a silent auction, and activities such as face painting, cornhole and temporary tattoos at sponsor tables under “The Finish Line” tent.  

Dance on the DL’s Linda Cicero, Taylor Shoji and the DL Crew warmed up the enthusiastic crowd with a pre-run stretch to kick off the morning’s events.  Their team of students, The DL Crew, traded their dance footwear for running shoes to take part in the fun run, raising $1,175 to benefit youth in our community. 

Kathy Cronin, who coordinated Team Mirador’s 13 runners and 15 volunteers, noted that the race was a great opportunity for the financial services firm to reinforce camaraderie among its employees. “Team Mirador had a great time training together for the Darien Road Race after their workday,” Cronin noted.  “Many of our employees live in the area, and they were excited to give back to the community and either run or volunteer on race day.”  In addition to the company’s sponsorship, Team Mirador’s fundraising efforts for the race raised an additional $3,505 for youth programs and services in the community. 

The race was made possible by local business sponsors and many wonderful volunteers, including presenting sponsor Mirador.  This year’s Platinum Sponsor is Newport Academy.   Gold Sponsors are Nuvance Health, Ring’s End, Hollow Tree Self Storage and the Darien Boat Club.  Silver Sponsors include Bankwell, Baywater Properties, BMW of Darien, Darien Running Company, DR Bank, Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists, M&T Bank, Office Suites of Darien, Palmer’s Market, Patch Organics, Performance Optimal Health, The Residence at Selleck’s Woods, Sasco River Center, Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group and Trinity Church.  Atria Senior Living, Sheree Frank/Houlihan Lawrence, and Land Rover Darien are Bronze Sponsors.  Generous in-kind donation provided by Darien Disposal Service.  Special thanks to Team Mirador, the DL Crew and People’s United Darien for forming fundraising teams to benefit youth programs and initiatives. 

The Community Fund of Darien’s mission is to inspire people and mobilize resources to strengthen our community.  Its vision is for all community members to have the opportunity to reach their full potential as healthy, educated, and self-sufficient individuals.  TCF initiates solutions, builds collaborations, and implements and supports programs to strengthen youth, adults and families, for lasting and positive impact in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford.  Since 1951, TCF has distributed over $20 million to local nonprofits and community initiatives, impacting thousands of lives in our community.  For more information, please contact The Community Fund of Darien office at 203-655-8775 or visit the website at www.communityfunddarien.org.


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