To the Editor:

On behalf of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, we would like to thank the multitudes of people who came together to make the 37th running of the Kent Pumpkin Run the most successful ever.

With a field of more than 800 runners, more than 200 children in the Kids' Fun Run, great sponsors and volunteers and new charitable partners, it was a day to remember.

There were runners from 11 states ranging in age from 4 to 85.

And spectators were able to enjoy a beautiful New England autumn day that brought the entire community together.

Both winners -- Abiyact Endale of The Bronx, N.Y. and Kendall Lyons of Wilton -- (received) special trophies designed by Kent artist Peter Kirkiles, who also created the finish gate.

The great turnout this year resulted in more than $400 donated to the Kent Food Bank from runners while registering online and more than 450 nonperishable items that would help fill the pantry.

Our two new partners this year, Julia's Wings and Race for Aydan, added to the great community spirit and were equally successful in their fundraising.

Approximately 231 runners participated from Julia's Wings, raising money to provide financial assistance to families of children with life-threatening hematological diseases.

The Race for Aydan raised money for the Ronald MacDonald House in New Haven and and the Edgewood Developmental School.

Under the direction of Ane Starr from Kent Center School, the Kids Fun Run had 202 runners, many who were participants in the school's Kids' Marathon program that encouraged children to run and walk for fun and health.

Each morning before school, an average of 30 youngsters walked or ran a mile logging 25 miles prior to October 27. They completed their 26 miles with the Kids' Fun Run. Some older children ran 21 miles at school and used the five-mile Pumpkin Run to finish.

Students from Washington Montessori School also used the race to complete their marathon program.

Ane's volunteers included Marci Saunders, Carol McCann, Fran Goodsell, Valerie Vega, Lesly Ferris, Carol Spelbos, Lee Sohl, Theo Grayson-Funk and Laura Martin.

Sponsors for the Kids' Fun Run were Three Monkeys and Me, Haymore Services, Kent Park and Recreation and Dr. Michael Monsarrat.

Costumes are a big part of the Kent Pumpkin Run and this year was no exception.

Thanks to judges David Schreiber of Club Getaway and Brian Flanagan of Bartlett Tree, prizes were awarded for best kids' costume to Camryn Woodin, 7, of Kent; best group to Stephanie Therrien of Oakville, Kimberly Tessier of Litchfield and Natalie DiVirgilio of Litchfield; for family costume to Tonia Walsh and her daughter of Woodbury; for most creative to Jeff Jakobsen of Torrington; and best overall to Captain Hook and Peter Pan, portrayed by Matt and Caryn Stellmach of Waterbury.

Of course, the race would not be possible without our sponsors.

At the gold level were Davis IGA, Union Savings Bank, Litchfield Magazine, Bartlett Tree Services and Sharon Hospital; at the silver level, Kent Green (who also provide the fabulous venue), Club Getaway, Kent School, Riley's Furniture and Webster Bank; bronze level, Bull's Bridge Inn (which provided the great cookies and hosted the pre-race sponsors' reception), Fife'n Drum, Hastey Security Systems, Kent Physical Therapy, Kent Wine & Spirit, Kingsley Tavern, Morrison Gallery, Mountain Falls Fitness, Nicholas/Tobin Insurance, Ober Gallery, Rolling River Antiques, Salisbury Bank & Trust, Washington Montessori School, Winters Bros. Waste Systems and Woodbridge Running Co.

Volunteers included First Selectman Bruce Adams, Bruce Osborne, John Lindsay, Larry Cassidy, Bill McCann, Laura McLaughlin, Lyn Stirnweiss, Ed Raftery, Stephanie Raftery, Bobbie Davis, Jeanne McRoberts, Darlene Brady, Maureen Smith, Geraldine Woodruff, Jane Hanley, Roberta Reed, Bernadette Ellegard, Marge Smith, Lorry Schiesel, Mark Hanley, David Schreiber, Matt Flanagan, Anne Bisenius, Cindy Dunleavy, Don Hicks on bagpipes, Terry Williams as announcer, George Potts with music, Elissa Potts, who provided Billy's Famous Pumpkin Soup, Ira Smith, Jeff Namm, Laura Eldridge, Debbie Bain, David Bain, Sarah Williams, Albert Hart, B.J. Washburn, Sarah Swan, Larry Saunders, Perry Simone, Wayne Blackman, Nina Setaro (National Anthem singer), Jack Rafferty whose cannon starts the race, Gary Davis, Norm Mosher, Liz Pretty, Kolleen Pinette, Dana Slaughter, Charlie Greystone, Paul Stirnweiss, Steve Klots, Mary Ann Van Valkenburg (EMT) and Jesse Rundall (EMT).

We appreciate Andy Ocif, Adjutant, and the color guard from American Legion Post 153 and were pleased to recognize and make U.S. Marine Corps Corp. Rich Voytek our honorary starter.

Thanks also to the South Kent School students who manned the water stations along the way.

Many members to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department and Resident State Trooper Fisher, who worked to ensure the safety of all the runners.

If there are other volunteers whose names we did not catch who helped to make race day great, we apologize for missing your name, but our thanks remain sincere.

And where would we be without race director Dave Dunleavy, who put all the pieces together for a great race.

Thanks, too, to committee members Gary Davis, Jeff Namm, Ed Raftery, Stephanie Raftery, Ira Smith, Ane Starr and Lyn Stirnweiss.

Finally, thanks to all the Kent residents who came out to cheer the runners, generally helped to make them feel welcome and created a festive day.

We look forward to seeing you all in 2014.

Laura McLaughlin


Chamber of Commerce

Dave Dunleavy

Race director

Kent Pumpkin Run