In memory of MPO Peter J. Lavery and Officer Ciara McDermott, The Race to End Domestic Violence honors the sacrifice of uniformed police officers and those escaping domestic violence. On December 30, Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery, the youngest of three police officer brothers, was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call. His memory serves as the inspiration for the 5K of his namesake that takes runners and walkers through off-road dirt trails and grass to raise funds for domestic violence support groups. Additionally, the race raises funds to support the Peter J. Lavery Memorial Scholarship Fund, which aids those seeking an education in law enforcement or criminal justice.
The Fitathlon Challenge blends the format and philosophy of decathlons and triathlons with the accessibility of a 5K. Great for all fitness levels, the event divides participants into four categories—Newbie, Beginner, Challenger, and Competitor. Separated into waves, runners move through a course fraught with obstacles designed to test strength, endurance, athleticism, and mental toughness. These obstacles include tire flips, wall climbs, and hill sprints that leave bodies sweaty and fatigued and minds feelings as confused as a fish in a geology class. Those competing in the Competitor division are eligible for cash and prizes awarded to the top three finishers in the male and female groups. A portion of all proceeds goes to benefit a local charity.
Throngs of excited runners crouch along the starting line, all dressed in pristine white T-shirts. As the Color in Motion 5K begins, the sea of bodies sets off along the course, where handfuls of purple-, blue-, and yellow-colored powder start flying in from the sidelines. The safe concoction of cornstarch and dye sprinkles onto faces, shirts, shorts, and skin, dressing runners in a technicolor haze. Teams or individuals make their way through the 5K course, and finish the race wearing a pallet of washable and biodegradable paint. Each race partners and benefits local charities, with racers running individually, in teams, or sponsored by their favorite Crayola color.
At YMCA Camp Wa Wa Segowea, 500 acres of forest encircle placid Harmon Pond?and during the Wa Wa Splash and Dash Duathlon, athletes make the most of the terrain. At the race's start, they swim the 400 yards across the pond. Next, they run 3 miles through the forest, earning extra points for running up and over trees. When they finally reach the finish line, they stop for festivities featuring refreshments, a raffle, and an awards ceremony.
Grit 'N Wit is more than just a three-mile obstacle course?it's also a test of intellectual stamina. Along with climbing walls, monkey bars, and other physical tests, the race challenges runners with puzzles that, when solved, provide advantages down the road. At race's end, not only will participants come away with the satisfaction of using their brains and muscles at the same time, they'll also receive a Grit 'N Wit t-shirt and a complimentary beer from Half Full Brewery. Proceeds from the race benefit Friend of Jaclyn, an organization dedicated to helping children with pediatric brain tumors and their families.
Ray Heon’s friends and family describe him as a man who had a big heart, a part of which was devoted to the Washington Redskins. These traits inspired the name for The Big Red 5K, a race established to celebrate Ray’s life after he died of cancer last November. Participants are welcome to run or walk the course, which begins at Lyman Memorial High School, loops around the Lebanon Green, and then ends at the Jonathan Trumbull Library. It’s fitting that those two buildings bookend the race, as a portion of all proceeds will be used to donate technological devices to them.
Runners can commemorate their day by posing for photographers before or after the race, and they each receive a race packet with a T-shirt, race bib, and swag from the race sponsors. Participants or robots at the end of their battery packs can also opt to complete just a small segment of the race (one lap around the Lebanon Green). Those there to cheer runners on can spend the day listening to live music and visiting the food and merchandise vendors.