Willimantic hosts fourth annual Blarney Stone Dash
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Willimantic - posted Tue., Mar. 19, 2013
According to representatives at the registration table, 2013 marked the fourth year that the Irish Club of Willimantic, Inc. has hosted the St. Patty’s Blarney Stone 5K Dash. This year’s event, on March 16, brought 182 runners from all over eastern Connecticut to the grounds of Windham Middle School for the start of the race.
Racers represented all different ages and ability levels. They sported all manner of green for the Celtic-themed holiday, from green socks and t-shirts to green headbands sporting furry clovers at the ends of bobbing, springy “antennae.”
Crossing the finish line third overall, Bacon Academy sophomore Griffin Waller posted a time of 19:43.77. Waller said that he participates in both cross-country and track and field at school. He said he’d decided to enter the race at the last minute, after a friend of his father mentioned it to him the night before. Though a long hill near the end of the course posed a challenge, “other than that it was flat, it was nice,” said Waller.
Willimantic resident Miguel Cruz crossed the finish line with his German shepherd, Sookie. Though Sookie was not on a leash, she stayed firmly attached to her master’s side, with her eyes on his face at all times. “She runs with me all the time,” said Cruz. “I don’t run without her.”
Also crossing the finish line together were 11-year-old Cole Paquin and his dad, Kevin. “Nice job,” said an onlooker, as the duo crossed the finish line. “The kid did great,” said Kevin.
Cole wandered over to rest with some kids his own age. The St. Mary’s sixth-grader admitted that the end-of-course hill had presented a challenge. He said that he and his dad often run together. “We do a lot of sports together, at home in the yard,” said Cole.
John Houlker, from Danielson, finished first overall at the Blarney Stone Dash, with a time of 18:19.56. Finishing in first place for women was Willington resident Sarah Jean, with a posted time of 20:46.72.