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Larry Katz is ready for the race closest to his heart

July 14, 2013

By BOB BIRGE

As one of the original members of the Lightfoot Running Club, Larry Katz has seen the Norwalk summer racing series increase in popularity over the years.

Now 73 years old, Katz ran in the New York City Marathon in 1983 and still volunteers at all the Norwalk races.

“This series was very motivating because it got us to go to longer distances,” Katz said. “We’ve had a lot of success with it. We got up to doing a half marathon on a regular basis. A lot of our runners use this series to train for longer races.”

Next up is the event closest to Katz’s heart — the Ian Eaccarino Memorial Race, a nine-miler on July 27 at Calf Pasture Beach named in honor of Katz’s stepson who died from a drug overdose in 1996 when he was 20 years old.

Katz married his wife, Ginger, when Ian was five.

The nine-mile race was dedicated in Eaccarino’s memory in 1999 and will be run for the 15th time in two weeks.

“Ginger and I were runners at the time and he worked at the beach,” Katz said. “That was his last job, so we decided to name the race in memory of him.”

The race benefits the Courage to Speak Foundation, which Larry and Ginger Katz founded following their son’s death. The mission of the foundation is to empower youth to be drug free and encourage parents not to be afraid to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs.

“(The race) is bittersweet, but I think it’s motivating because one of our messages to young people is to develop passion in your life rather than do drugs and alcohol,” Katz said. “We encourage people to find passion in their life, whether it’s sports or it’s music or it’s schoolwork. Follow your dream.”

For more information about sponsoring and volunteers call 877-431-3295, or email gkatz@couragetospeak.org and visit www.couragetospeak.org

Ian James Eaccarino

Ian James Eaccarino
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