Road race ready for seventh year

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Runners make their way down Maple Street in Naugatuck during the annual Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival last year. This year’s race is March 18. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — The month of March means a few things: lots of green, everybody is Irish for a day, and it’s time for the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival in Naugatuck.

The seventh annual Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival is March 18. The event features a 5K, a 10K, a 5K walk, and a Kid’s Fun Run for children 10 years old and younger. The races will step off from The Station, 195 Water St.

The event is a fundraiser for the Naugatuck Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides grants for education programs in borough public schools that aren’t funded through the annual school budget.

Naugatuck Education Foundation President Andrew Bottinick said all the money raised from the race goes toward funding grants given to schools.

“We fund some tremendous projects that could not, would not happen without these funds,” Bottinick said.

Entry fees are $30 before March 18 and $35 on race day, $25 for walkers, $15 for students, and $5 for the fun run. Registration will be held from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. For more information or to register online, visit register.fasttracktiming.com.

There are a couple of changes planned for the race this year.

Race Coordinator Jim Goggin said the start time was changed from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. because there was a lot of vehicle traffic along the route last year.

The race course, which will be the same as in previous years, will be run in the opposite direction this year.

For the last couple of years the 5K course went through downtown Naugatuck and then toward Union City. This year the race will start off by heading toward Union City because that’s where the heaviest traffic typically is, Goggin said.

“We want to get through that traffic pattern as soon as possible,” Goggin said. “It is the same race, just backwards.”

The 10K course will remain the same.

“We try to listen to the runners and the [Naugatuck Police Department] to make sure the course is as fun and safe as possible. The course is going to be better marked this year than any previous years,” Goggin said. “Every year we make it just a little better.”

Goggin said the event will include the Naugatuck High School chamber singers singing the national anthem before the start of the race, bagpipers playing along the route, and corned beef sandwiches and a beverage at the end of the race for runners.

Depending on the weather, the event could draw up to 600 runners and 1,000 people overall, including volunteers, Goggin estimated.

“We had one race where we had 65 degree weather and we got hammered by walk-ins. The year before we started the race in a blizzard. When you do it this early in the year you are rolling the dice,” Bottinick said.