BRISTOL – Runners and walkers flooded to Chippens Hill Middle School Saturday morning for the 17th annual Shamrock Run and Walk.
Around 800 registrants embarked on a 5 mile run, a 2 mile run, a 2 mile fitness walk or a kids fun run, according to Shamrock Run and Walk Race Director, Patrick Collins. “But with volunteers and spectators there were over 1,200 people in attendance,” he added.
The race’s primary beneficiary is St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol, a non-profit organization that provides shelter, food, counseling, and referral services for people in need.
“Having St. Vincent DePaul was ideal because they service less fortunate and play a vital role in us holding this event over the last 17 years,” said Collins.
Since the race’s inception, the event has raised over $180,000 for the shelter, according to Collins.
Some of the proceeds are also granted to The Cove Center for Grieving Children and smaller contributions are made to charitable organizations throughout the greater Bristol area.
Some of this year’s sponsors include Bristol Hospital, Micari Financial Group, Scarritt Spas & Pools, Physical Therapy and Medical Massage of CT, St. Paul Catholic High School, St. Gregory the Great Church and The Creed Law Firm.
“We have lots of solid community businesses sponsoring the event which makes our contribution to causes worth it. Bristol Hospital for instance has been with us all these years,” said Collins.
This year, Tim Gamache was named the 2019 Honorary Chair. Tim was born and raised in Bristol, was in the U.S. Navy Seabees, the U.S. Army reserve, which he credits as the most productive years of his life, and has amassed over 20 years of serving his country in the military. Gamache is also a member of various Veterans groups, and held positions in a number of community organizations. He has also been a Lector for 39 years at St. Matthews Church in Forestville, was a plumber for 42 years and is now retired.
“I was surprised by it (being named honorary chair). It’s really nice to have the efforts you put forward acknowledged,” said Gamache.
Gamache volunteered on race day with Bristol’s Community Emergency Response Team to help with the traffic control of runners and walkers.
Former C.E.R.T Captain, Sue Radke, was volunteering for her fifth year said there had been no injuries as of 10:30 a.m. Radke said she will be there until the very last runner returns.
Race committee member Nicole Collins, has been volunteering on race day for the last 12 years. Her first time volunteering was when she was a high school student at Bristol Central.
“It’s such a great family event. There are so many kids and families that come together to run or walk and it’s really great to see so many kids being active,” she said.
Race Director Collins said the entire event embodies the Irish spirit.
“The music, the bag pipes, the bands playing-they all add to the fellowship and spirit of the Irish,” said Collins.