Runners flocking to road race

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Racers cross the finish line during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in Naugatuck. The race has been renamed the Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival this year and will be held March 15. –FILE PHOTO
Racers cross the finish line during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in Naugatuck. The race has been renamed the Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival this year and will be held March 15. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — More runners than ever are expected to turn out for this year’s Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival.

“It’s coming along tremendously,” said Naugatuck Tax Collector James Goggin, who is helping run the event. “There are already more people who have applied for the 10K than the 5K.”

This is the first year the annual race, which benefits the Naugatuck Education Foundation, will feature a 10K. The race will be held March 15.

According to Goggin, as of Feb. 21 there were about 150 people signed up to run the race, with 100 of them having signed up for the 10K. At this time last year, he said, 50 people had registered.  

About 300 racers took part last year. Goggin expects 350 will pre-register for the race this year and a total of 500 runners, which is his goal, will take part.

“We didn’t want to grow beyond our means until we try the course out. We want to see if we have a good course that people would want to run and not make any changes,” Goggin said.

Goggin said the 10K course will go through downtown, Union City, Breen Field and along the Naugatuck River.

“Our goal was to keep the course as level as possible, run as much as we can along the river, keep it in downtown and have the least impact on traffic we can,” Goggin said. “I think we’ve done that.”

While some things have changed, other aspects of the race have remained the same.

Goggin said runners will still be treated to a corned beef sandwich and a beer at the end of the race. Underage runners will get a soda, he said.

The 5K and 10K, plus a fun walk, begin at 10 a.m. on Old Firehouse Road behind the Naugatuck Fire Department. The children’s fun run begins at 11 a.m. Registration is $25 before March 1, $30 after March 1 and $35 on race day. It is $25 for walkers, $10 for Naugatuck students and $5 for the fun run for children 12 and younger.

Those who do not wish to run or walk can still take part in the festival. Tickets are $10.

“We encourage the whole town to come down and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” Goggin said. “It’s going to be a great time.”

For more information or to register, visit www.naugatuckroadrace.org.