By John Fitts
COLLINSVILLE — From its humble beginnings with less than a couple dozen participants, some 400 people participated in the 5th annual O’BRiley 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.
And thanks to a matching grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb, the event raised more than $15,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“(We’re) unbelievably humbled at this time,” co-founder Colin O’Brien said prior to the start of the race Thursday. “I cannot believe how this event has grown in 5 years from 20 people to 400.”
O’Brien and Michael Riley started the race when a Farmington-based event in which they had participated moved outside of the Farmington Valley. The two figured it would be nicer to host something close to home. Each year benefits a different charity and the race begins and ends at the Farmington River Trail in downtown Collinsville.
Finishing first in the race was Marc Robaczynski of Avon. Robaczynski said the race is not so much a competition as it as local asset.
“Some people like myself like to push it and work off the calories before Thanksgiving but it’s a great community event,” he said.
Mary-Lynn Currier of Burlington was the fastest woman on the course. Her son Patrick also ran the race and she agreed that the race is more about the community than anything else.
“It’s an excellent community event for a good cause to raise money for cancer,” she said. “The spirit is wonderful here and I really enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving with everyone.”
1. Marc Robaczynski – 17:03
2. Ron Lombardi – 17:55
3. Connor Page – 18:31
1. Mary-Lynn Currier – 20:05
2. Candice Casey – 20:53
3. Nichole Donzella – 21:30
Local sponsors included Jules Poirier Company and Ward Kilduff Mortgage.Steph May of Mr. Trophy provided trophies and High school teacher and coach Tim O’Donnell the timing. Wilson’s Pub opened for some post-race spirits.
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See more photos at http://www.soderbergphoto.com/Sports/2016-OBriley-Turkey-Trot/