Forty-three years and going strong... New Milford Parks & Recreation's annual 8-mile road race will be run tomorrow (Saturday), July 31, with a 9 a.m. start on the east side of the Village Green.

As during the past seven years, the race will be run concurrently with the Village Fair Days 5K (3.1 miles) road race.

The events are directed by Michelle Gasiewski and hosted by New Milford Parks & Recreation.

Both races will kick off along the east side of the Village Green and finish to the cheers of family, friends and those many on hand for the Village Fair Days on the Green.

The 8-miler, born in 1968 and now the state's third oldest road race, will offer monetary prizes to the top male and female athletes and male and female age divisional prizes.

The field will head north along the Green, turn west on Bennitt Street, then wind northward along Housatonic Avenue until turning right on Aspetuck Ridge Road.

The runners will then trek to the turn at West Meetinghouse Road, at which point they will turn right and head back along Merryall Road to its intersection with Wellsville Avenue.

Soon they will make the hairpin left turn onto Canterbury Hill Road to begin what many believe to be the most difficult climb in regional road races.

After cresting the hill on the campus of Canterbury School, runners start their descent down Aspetuck Avenue to the village center for the rewarding kick to the finish line on the Green.

The race's respective men's and women's defending champions are Kenyan natives Abraham Ngetich and Salome Kosgei.

The 5K runners will accompany the 8-mile field to Aspetuck Ridge Road, from which they will take a right on hilly Wells Road, then right again on Wellsville Avenue to return to town, in most cases, well before their 8-mile compatriots.

Registration is available by calling race director Michelle Gasiewski at 860-355-6050, e-mailing mgasiewski@newmilford.org or check www.raceit.com.

Race-day signup will be offered Saturday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Church Street, near town hall. If pre-entered, runners can pick up their race packets then.

An awards ceremony for both races will start about 10:45 a.m. on the stage in the Village Fair Days' entertainment tent.

For the race results and photos, see next Friday's edition of The Greater New Milford Spectrum.