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July 28, 2012

Runners go extra mile for Courage to Speak 

By STEVE KOBAK hour staff writer, Saturday, July 28, 2012

NORWALK — Norwalker Julie Heaphy said it took her a while to warm up on a breezy Saturday morning at Calf Pasture Beach but when she did, she wound up being the first woman to cross the finish line at the 14th annual Ian James Eaccarino Memorial 9-Mile Race.

Heaphy and hundreds of other runners competed in the race, which benefits the drug education nonprofit “The Courage to Speak Foundation” and is sponsored by the Lightfoot Racing Series.

“This race is special,” said Heaphy. “It’s nice to support a good cause.”

Ginger Katz created the foundation and memorial race in 1996 after her son, Ian, lost his battle against drug addiction. Proceeds from the race go toward the development and continuation of the foundation’s drug prevention programs for elementary-, middle- and high-school curriculum.

Ginger Katz’s husband, Larry, co-founder of the foundation, said about 200 runners participated in this year’s race, and the event generated about $5,000 for “The Courage to Speak Foundation.”

Mayor Richard A. Moccia, state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-143, state Sens. Bob Duff, D-25, and Toni Boucher, R-26, attended the race, and state Rep. Chris Perone, D-137, laced up his sneakers and ran in the race.

Charlie Doyle, 7, received a plaque from Courage to Speak, naming him “Volunteer of the Year,” and a certificate of recognition from U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4. Charlie said he was exhausted after handing out water to all the runners, but he enjoyed helping an organization that helps other people.

New Haven resident Colin Lu, who won the race, said he started running a year ago and whereas he enjoys the competitiveness of other sports, he takes pleasure from “the mere act of running.”

Lu wanted to run in a lengthy summer race, but all of the races he could find were too short for his taste. He took the train from New Haven to Norwalk to compete in the nine-mile event.

“I had to wake up early to get here, but it was worth it,” he said.

Chicago resident Andrew Kramer, 15, was visiting his grandparents in Norwalk when he caught wind of the race. Kramer, the youngest participant in this year’s Ian James Eaccarino Memorial 9-Mile Race, said his father used to participate in the Lightfoot Racing Series nearly two decades ago. He said he is used to running shorter distances, and he competes on his high school’s track and field team.

“It feels good to run that distance,” he said.


Hour intern Jordana Jarrett contributed to this story.

Runners start out at the 14th Annual Ian James Eaccarino
Memorial 9-Mile Race at Calf Pasture Beach Saturday.
Hour photo / Erik Trautmann

Charlie Doyle receives recognition for volunteering at the Ian
James Eaccarino Memorial 9-Mile Race at Calf Pasture Beach
while his mom paige Doyle, mayor Richard Moccia and Larry Katz
look on Saturday.Hour photo / Erik Trautmann

Norwalk resident Julie Heaphy was the first woman finisher at
the 14th Annual Ian James Eaccarino Memorial 9-Mile Race at Calf
Pasture Beach Saturday.Hour photo / Erik Trautmann

Below is the Winner
Colin Lu comes in first place at the 14th Annual Ian James Eaccarino
Memorial 9-Mile Race at Calf Pasture Beach Saturday.
Hour photo / Erik Trautmann