5K started for friend in third year

NAUGATUCK — When a Naugatuck man learned his best friend was diagnosed with a life-changing disease, he made it his responsibility to do something about it.

The summer before his diagnosis, Chris Rinaldi noticed his triathlon teammate and high school friend John Corbo was not acting like his normal self.

Corbo was informed he had Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that makes tasks like eating extremely difficult.

“He couldn’t even walk,” Rinaldi said.

In 2012, Rinaldi started the Crohn’s and Colitis 5K for Corbo to help him pay his medical bills. In its first year the race brought nearly 200 people.

“My best friend out of nowhere did this for me,” Corbo said.

The race, now in its third year, is expected to be better than ever.

The 3rd Annual Crohn’s and Colitis 5K is Aug. 16 at Crestbrook Park Golf Course in Watertown beginning at 9:30 a.m. The race is set to last until noon. There is an online registration fee of $18 or a race day fee of $25.

Each runner will also be given a donated Crohn’s and Colitis 5K T-shirt.

According to Corbo, the race’s director, 100 percent of the registration fees will go to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

The goal this year is to collect between $2,000 and $3,000.

Corbo and Rinaldi have started asking corporate donations.

“We really don’t have any sponsors,” Corbo said. “It’s a lot of work for just one person.”

The water distribution company Crystal Rock will donate water for the race, and donated awards will be given to the top finishers in each age group.

According to Corbo, the event is a family-friendly atmosphere and anyone is encouraged to register.

“I had someone ask me if they could walk their dog in the race,” Corbo said. “As long as the dog was behaved, I was OK with it.”

To preregister for the race, visit runsignup.com/johncorbo.

“There is not cure for this disease,” Corbo said. “This is a time for me to give back.”

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