(Editor’s note: The St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival has been postponed from March 14 to March 21.)
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Education Foundation will ring in St. Patrick’s Day weekend with running, corned beef and beer.
The fifth annual Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival is set for March 14 in downtown Naugatuck. The race, which is a major fundraiser for the foundation, features a 5K and a 10K. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to fund specific projects in the public schools that go above and beyond what is currently funded by the Board of Education.
Last year, the race’s organizers decided to add a 10K to draw more people. Jim Goggin, one the event’s organizers, said the addition was a huge hit with runners.
“It was tremendous,” Goggin said.
NEF Chairman Matt Fortney said the 10K drew runners from outside the local area.
“Having a 5K race is a lot of fun, but 5K races don’t generally attract runners outside of a small geographic radius,” Fortney said. “The 10K race has attracted more competitive runners from outside of the Naugatuck area and has increased the profile and publicity for our race.”
Last year, the race drew approximately 1,000 participants between the runners, spectators and festival goers, Goggin said. He expects a similar turnout this year.
As for the significant amount of snow that has fallen on the borough, Goggin doesn’t think it will be a problem.
“The running course will be nice and cleaned up,” Goggin said. “We get a lot of help from Naugatuck’s Public Works Department. The [Naugatuck] Police Department and [Naugatuck] Fire Department will be there to help manage the course and they do a tremendous job.”
Goggin said the race will feature a mostly flat course that both competitive and weekend runners will enjoy.
“It is a lighthearted yet challenging run,” Goggin said.
Fortney encouraged runners and residents to come out and support the event, which helps put money back into the school district.
“Budgets are getting squeezed in the schools and the money we raise helps improve our education system without being an additional tax burden to our residents,” Fortney said.
All of the money raised will benefit the foundation. More than $10,000 was raised from last year’s race. The funds helped the foundation give out $19,000 in grants last year, the most since it was formed in 2012.
The event will also feature a Kid Fun Zone for children 12 years old and under. Race organizers will also award prizes to the runners who raise the most sponsorship dollars, Fortney said.
After the races are completed, all runners will be treated to a complementary corned beef sandwich and a beer or soda.
Race registration is $30 until March 14 and $35 on the day of the race. Pre-race packets can be picked up March 13 at Ion Bank, 87 Church St., from 12 to 7 p.m. Race day packet pickup and race day registration will take place near Old Firehouse Road from 8 to 9:45 a.m. Both races will begin and end at Old Firehouse Road.
For more information or to register online, visit www.naugatuckroadrace.org.