For those looking to stay in shape and support a good cause, the Inaugural East Rock Race is just the event. The race will take place on Sunday, Sept. 18th at 1 p.m. and will benefit The Ronald McDonald House, a non-profit organization which houses the families of children who are undergoing hospital treatments. The families live in the house for the duration of the hospital stay of their child. Currently, there is only one Ronald McDonald house in Connecticut, located in New Haven. The money raised by this event will go towards the New Haven home.
The Ronald McDonald House foundation contacted Joe Riccio to plan the event. Riccio is a well known area race coordinator and works at the Woodbridge Running Company.
“I direct ten events a year,” Riccio said. “Word gets out that we put out a good quality event. We cater to the kids.”
The sporting event is taken seriously by athletes of all ages. The Inaugural East Rock Run will host three races. There will be a five-mile run up and down East Rock, a two-mile fitness walk and a kids’ fun run.
“It’s hard to tell,” Riccio said. “This area of New Haven is uncharted waters in terms of road races. But we’re prepared for 400 participants among the three race categories.”
Riccio believes races like this are important to the community.
“It’s a healthy thing to do. Nowadays people aren’t into healthy activities,” he said. “An event like this brings out the community. It’s an opportunity to congregate.”
Riccio is hard at work with organizing the race. “I went to all the elementary schools in the East Rock and Fair Haven areas and gave out 4,500 flyers,” Riccio said. Despite Riccio’s own personal efforts, he believes the event would not be made possible without the help of others.
“We have a total volunteer staff,” Riccio said. “There’s no payroll, no overhead.” Sponsors for these types of events also play a very important role in its success. Sponsors for this year’s race include the Richard Penna Salon, Stop & Shop, Shaws, Townfair Tire and Bread Star, a Branford-based bakery that will be providing soup and bread for the participants.
The starting point of the five-mile race is at the Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven. The children’s run will be held at College Woods Park, which is adjacent to WCHS. The children’s race will start at 12:30 p.m., and race-day registration for all three competitions begins at 11 a.m. at the high school.
Pre-registration for the race can be done online at hitekracing.com/eastrockrun. Quinnipiac University students receive a discounted registration fee of $10 but must mention it on the registration form.