Making a fundraiser out of a mountain

Naugatuck firefighter to run Mount Washington for charity

Naugatuck firefighter Tim Andrew will be participating in the Mount Washington Road Race in New Hampshire June 15 to raise money for the American Cancer Society. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck firefighter Tim Andrew will be participating in the Mount Washington Road Race in New Hampshire June 15 to raise money for the American Cancer Society. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — A borough firefighter will go to great heights to raise money for a cause he cares deeply about.

Naugatuck firefighter Tim Andrew, 60, will be participating in the Mount Washington Road Race in New Hampshire June 15. The road race is 7.6 miles long with a change in altitude of over 4,000 feet from start to finish.

According to Andrew, about 1,300 racers sign up each year for the race and about 250 people drop out before it starts.

“I think it’s because they get intimidated,” Andrew said.

Andrew knows something about the intimidation of running up the tallest peak in the northeast; this year will mark the fifth time he’s run the race.

“It’s beautiful. The mountain is beautiful,” Andrew said. “I can be running and at the top there is still snow.”

Andrew isn’t just running this race for the scenery, however. This year he is raising money for the American Cancer Society.

One of the reasons that Andrew chose to donate to the cancer society was that he has overcome cancer himself. About 18 months ago, Andrew underwent treatment for mouth and neck cancer.

Last year, shortly after his battle with cancer, Andrew almost did not run the Mount Washington Road Race. At that time he was raising money for Bob Veillette, a Naugatuck resident who suffered a massive stroke in April 2006 that left him with locked-in syndrome.

However, Andrew did not want to give up and decided to conquer the mountain once again.

“Here’s this poor guy Bob paralyzed and I can’t get up the hill for training,” Andrew said. “I went back and trained and ran the hill.”

In addition to the cancer society and Veillette, Andrew has also run the race to raise money for Easter Seals.

Andrew knows that, while part of the reason people donate is because of the charities, it is also because of the uniqueness of the race.

“I think if you’re telling anyone you’re running a 10K for charity they think ‘big deal.’ If they know it’s a hard race and you’re training hard people appreciate donating to something that’s more difficult,” Andrew said.

To train for last year’s race Andrew ran up and down Horton Hill Road. This year, however, he is running up and down the road at the Laurel Park landfill off of Spring Street.

This isn’t the only race that Andrew runs for charity. For the past 17 years he has also taken part in The Empire State Building Run-Up, which consists of running up 86 flights of stairs.

“Those are the only two I love, the only two I’ll race because they’re extremely exciting,” Andrew said of the races.

Andrew said part of the joy of racing in these two events year after year is meeting the same people every time and competing against some of the best runners in the country.

“You’re racing against elite runners,” Andrew said. “Well, you’re rubbing elbows with them for the first quarter-mile at least.”

Andrew said his best time running up Mount Washington was just over 90 minutes, which was good enough to put him in the top third of finishers.

This year, however, he hopes to complete the race in about two hours. Regardless of the time, Andrew knows that at the end he will be at top of the mountain having raised money for charity.

“I figure I raised in my 20 years of running over $25,000,” Andrew said.

To donate, checks can be made out to the American Cancer Society and mailed to Tim Andrew, 325 Millville Ave., Naugatuck, CT 06770.