BY JONATHAN SHUGARTS REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
WATERBURY – The third annual Chris Corbett 5K race, scheduled for March 31, is just a bit more than a week away, but local sponsors and hundreds of runners have already stepped up to help make the event a success.
This year, student participation will be a focal point, as $1,000 technology grants will be awarded to the Catholic high school and elementary schools that have the most participation in the race.
Hundreds are expected to turn out, including city police and officers from around the state.
Deputy Police Chief Christopher Corbett was only 40 when he died in 2015. He served the police department for 18 years, joining the force while he was in his early 20s. In addition to serving as a patrol officer early in his career, he headed the detective bureau and served as the department’s spokesman.
Corbett’s family, friends and fellow officers wanted to memorialize him, as well as his love of running and respect of the city’s schools. Corbett was also a student at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and as a track captain at Holy Cross High School. Race organizers, including his family and police, established the 5K and the Christopher D. Corbett Memorial Fund to honor him.
The race continues to grow, as about 1,000 people either helped or participated in the event last year. That turnout had a community feel to it, said Corbett’s aunt, Ginny McCarthy, who also sits on the memorial fund’s Board of Directors.
A high of 54 degrees is, at least for now, forecast for race day, she said. So far, more than 200 racers have signed up for the event and sponsors include Frankies hot dogs, Blasius Chevrolet and Crystal Rock, among many others. Organizers are grateful for those sponsorships because that allows for the awarding of scholarships for area students.
In 2017, race proceeds helped ease the financial burden of 14 students from elementary schools through high schools. The most students from those Catholic schools who participate in this year’s race will be awarded technology grants, which they can use to outfit their schools with some fresh gear.
Runners face serious competition though, as racers from around the region have come out to brave the course. Last year’s overall winner, Kyle Hotchkiss, completed the route in 16 minutes and 46 seconds.
The race starts at 8:30 a.m. at Oronoke Road and Bradley Avenue and then will take runners past Holy Cross High School. It continues through residential streets and includes a tough hill or two that will test even experienced runners.
Registration for the event ends on March 30.
People can register online at runsignup.com/Race/CT/Waterbury/ChrisCorbett5K