SOUTHINGTON - Pounding the pavement.
That’s what nearly 2,000 people were doing Sunday morning during the 40th Annual Apple Harvest Festival Road Race to kick off the third day of the festival.
Racers had the option of participating in the 5 mile, 5K, 2-mile walk, Little Fritter Fun Run and YCup races organized by the Southington-Cheshire YMCA. Race conditions consisted of a slight chill to the air with 60 degree temps under an overcast sky without a drop in sight.
“It gives me motivation to exercise,” said Steve Viviano, of Southington, as everyone was lining up near the start. He was running with his friend Ron Manske, of Longville. Participating in the event allowed the two of them to be able to enjoy the several food options of the festival later in the day, they said.
“It’s exciting. I’m glad to do this every year” said Maria Siadat, who was along the finish line with Maria Colon keeping an eye out for her son Jian to complete the race.
Jian Siadat was running as part of team Lauryn Ossola, which runs in honor of a 23-year-old who died in an accident in 2011, his mother said.. Team Adam and Jim, honoring two who passed away in 2013 and 2014 because of illnesses, respectively, and team Southington Middle School Athletics Association, also ran.
The 5-mile race began near the corner of the Bristol Hospital Multispecialty Group on Columbus Avenue, and toured down Berlin Avenue, before turning left on Berlin Street, left on East Street, left on Spring Lake Road, right on Pleasant Street, left on Woodruff Street and right back onto Berlin Avenue before finishing on North Main Street, alongside the line for the Apple Fritters. Yes, there was a line at that station forming before the race kicked off around 8:30 a.m.
The 5K race took a left on Pleasant Street from Berlin Street before taking a left again on Woodruff Street and circling around to the finish line.
Matt Walker, 26, who grew up in Southington and now lives in Newington, finished across the finish line first at a blistering speed of 25:07, which is believed to be near a course record. Participating in the “hometown” race was his first opportunity to run after taking some time off from the sport.
“It was fun,” he said. Results can be found at plattsys.com.
As racers crossed the finish line they were funneled to an area where they could grab post race treats, stop by physical therapy booths and catch their breath as they caught up with the people they passed, or the people who passed them.
Special food offerings included a cup of chili from Eddie’s Sombrero, gumbo from Anthony Jack and a vegetarian soup from Pepper Pot. The traditional orange, banana and healthy popcorn snacks were also available.
“It’s a perfect day for running,” said John Myers, race director and former CEO of the Southington-Cheshire YMCA. Myers was picked to be the Grand Marshal of the festival’s parade, themed “Bushels of Family Fun,” which was scheduled for later in the day at 2 p.m.
The Apple Harvest festival continues this Friday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and then the last day on Sunday, Oct. 13, from noon to 5 p.m.
For more information, including the full lineup of entertainment, sponsors and vendors, call 860-276-8461 or visit southingtonahf.com.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.