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Nine Days in June. #1. The Torrington Kids Marathon.

POSTED June 13, 2019
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: People may think I’m crazy for planning so many large events over a nine-day period but I have to confess, I love it.

Any time I get the opportunity to celebrate what goes right in our community and at our two high schools, count on me being in the thick of it.

The three events that wrapped up recently.

The 2019 Torrington Kids Marathon (June 2), the Fifth Annual Torrington High School Sports Banquet (June 4) and the First Annual Oliver Wolcott Tech Sports Banquet (June 11) are always heart-warming gatherings that leave all who participate feeling better then when they arrived.

That’s my goal anyway and from the experiences, I think we nailed all three. Bring on more.

Here’s a look at how each played out.

The 2019 Torrington Kids Marathon.

Sunday, June 2, 2019 at Torrington High School.

Over 350 children from 14 different area grammar and middle schools took part this year in an event that was truly a home-town event.

Everything about this year’s Kids Marathon was about the Torrington and surrounding communities including our putting over $10,000 back into the Torrington business community from purchases of items that before this year were purchased elsewhere.

Tee-shirts, medals and all other associated ingredients that make this an extraordinary day all helped our local economy.

The day itself could not have run better, although we have gotten to the point that it’s more about finesse changes as opposed to major overhauls.

I arrived at the Robert H Frost at 6 a.m. to find two of the guys who show up faithfully at this event, Ron Barrante and Bob Barry, already at the gates waiting to set up the course for the runners.

My two friends, part of our Northwest Business Referral group, went about putting out flags on the course that the runners take as part of their Final Mile, the last leg of their 26.2-mile journey that began in early March.

Volunteers from the Torrington football team, along with coach Rick DuBois, were next up and proceeded to get all the tables from inside the school to start setting up the landing zones for the 14 schools who would call them home.

Next, Ray Tanguay, Jim Pepper and the volunteers from Oliver Wolcott Tech came in and got right to work on the sound system, something they do so well for me every year.

This year, in an effort to help with the noise associated with Route 8, we brought in a Litchfield friend, Tracy Walton, who helped with speakers on the field that improved the sound quality and volume greatly.

Before I knew it, it was 7:30 and we were set up, a new record.

Torrington Middle School students acted as Mentors for the first time this year and did a tremendous job and I look forward to them being even more involved next year.

The Co-Masters of Ceremonies this year were Torrington Alumni Frankie Graziano and Kat Zagrodnik and they were spectacular as were the leaders of the massive group warm-up, Alyssa Otis and Chris DeBerry.

It always warms my heart when I see all the current and former students from both THS and OWTS come back so willingly to help out.

The set up of the day has become ridiculously smooth and I am truly grateful to all involved.     

Each year, the participants seem to come earlier an earlier and this year the kids and parents started to arrive at 8:05. I love it!

It was a cloudy start to the day with a little mist but it made for perfect set up and running conditions.

By 9:30, we were starting the Parade of Champions and by 10:00 we were setting up for the Final Mile.

Special thanks to Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone and Torrington Superintendent Sue Lubomski for their endless support of all things positive in Torrington. The duo joined me at the 50-yard line to salute the participants and their parents for being part of this tremendous morning.

The Final Mile went off with the blare of an air-horn, a new addition for me this year (I saw them use it in Waterbury three day earlier and loved it!) and the kids, mentors and teachers were off and running.

Mr. Gaffney and I had a special guest on hand that morning, our great nephew Kamden stayed with us Saturday night and was at the track at 6:45, pretty good for a 4-year old!

Kamden made close to 350 friends that day, found a soccer ball, spoke on the microphone and even ran the Final Mile with his Auntie!

I hope it’s something he remembers for a long time; I know Deb and I will not soon forget the day.

By 10:15, it was time for the Closing Ceremony where all the participants, mentors and coaches gather in a wide circle to pay tribute to their families in the stands to each other and to their health.

By 11 a.m., we were cleaned up and off the Robert H Frost.

Thank you to all the volunteers who made this day possible.

The 2020 Torrington Kids Marathon is already scheduled for Sunday, May 31 right back at Torrington High School.

Hope to see you all there!

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here