Large field expected for 8-mile, Village Fair Days 5K races

More than 300 runners had pre-registered early by this week for the week's road races in New Milford.

The 46th edition of New Milford Parks & Recreation's annual 8-mile road race will kick off Saturday, July 27, in tandem with the 10th annual Village Fair Days 5K (3.1 miles) race.

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

That so many had pre-registered would be a good indication last year's 600-plus field might be approached or even surpassed.

Both races will kick off at 9 a.m. 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, created in 1968 and 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.

A field of more than 600 road-race hopefuls kicked off for last summer's 45th annual New Milford 8-mile road race and 10th annual Village Fair Days 5K. July 28, 2012.
A field of more than 600 road-race hopefuls kicked off for last summer's 45th annual New Milford 8-mile road race and 10th annual Village Fair Days 5K. July 28, 2012.Walter Kidd

The runners will then jaunt 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.

The next turn will be a hairpin left onto Canterbury Hill Road to start perhaps the difficult climb in regional road races.

After cresting the hill on the campus of Canterbury School, runners descend along Aspetuck Avenue to the village center for the finishing kick on the west side of the Green.

The race's respective men's and women's defending champions are Mathew Kiplagat and Hiryt Beyene.

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.

Post-entry for $25 is available, and race-day signup will be offered Saturday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. near town hall. If pre-entered, runners can pick up their race packets then.

For information, call race director Michelle Gasiewski at 860-355-6050 or e-mail mgasiewski@newmilford.org.

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

The event's premier sponsors are The Greater New Milford Spectrum, Union Savings Bank, Circle Asphalt Paving and the Western Connecticut Health Network.

For the race results and photos, see the Aug. 2 edition of The Greater New Milford Spectrum and visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.