Brothers dedicate race to their father 

Gregory Aldrich, left, and his brother, Douglas, competed July 5 at the 31st Ion Bank Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon in honor of their dad, Verne ‘Chip’ Aldrich, who died in March 2016. –CONTRIBUTED

MIDDLEBURY — Fifteen-year-old Gregory Aldrich had been toying with the idea of competing in the 31st annual Ion Bank Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon for the better part of a year.

The Prospect resident and soon-to-be junior at Woodland Regional High School runs cross country in the fall and swims in the winter for the Hawks. A few months ago, Aldrich decided to give it a go and signed up. Aldrich’s older brother, Douglas, 25, decided to join him in the race only a week ago.

“I couldn’t let my younger brother show me up,” joked Douglas, a 2010 Woodland graduate.

Actually, Gregory got the better of his big brother, finishing the half-mile swim, 10.5-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run in a time of 1:25.13. Douglas’ time was 1:44.25.

But the brothers said their actual times and places didn’t really matter to them.

Their main purpose on July 5 was to honor their late father, Verne “Chip” Aldrich Jr., who died March 12, 2016, from kidney disease.

Verne Aldrich Jr. was a longtime special education teacher at Naugatuck High School and within the Naugatuck school system.

“Our dad supported us in everything that we did,” Douglas said. “He never missed one of our events.”

“By competing here, this is our way of repaying him and saying thank you,” Gregory said.

The Aldrichs’ mother, Sharon, said she would love to see her sons make this race an annual tradition.

“I would love to see them get more comfortable at it, and do it over and over and get better each time,” she said.