One of the motivational signs along the Norwalk River Valley Trail on Sunday said, “Cancer is hard. Running is easy.” As some participants in the Circle of Care 5K may have been struggling during that last half mile or so, it was a potent reminder of why they were there — to support the organization that offers practical, emotional, and financial support to families with a child battling cancer.
This year’s 5K was dedicated to Middlebrook student Issy Kwei, who could not be present because she had just come home from a round of chemotherapy following surgery for a brain tumor. Her father, Frank, however, thanked the 200 participants wearing purple race shirts, for their support and for the loving wishes sent their way since Issy’s medical journey began this summer.
For some the race was easy. The winner, Piotr Kostyk of Bethel, finished in 17 minutes and 37 seconds. Others took more than twice as long. Perhaps as the participants — from 6 to 76 — ran, trotted or walked along they remembered Circle of Care co-founder Liz Salguero’s words before the race that Issy would want to be there and to think of all she — and other children with cancer — had to go through as they made their way to the finish line.
After a kids fun run, the 5K runners took off at 8:30 in front of the Town Green, made their way down Old Ridgefield Road and River Road, around Horseshoe Pond, back through town, into Merwin Meadows and along a short section of the NRVT. Then they turned around and made their way back to the Green. Along the way members of the Wilton Community Emergency Response Team and Wilton police managed traffic.
The top finishers, after Kostyk, were Thomas Arnold of New Canaan, Beth Cristini of Wilton, Matthew Ferrante of Wilton, Samantha Desimone of New Jersey, and Angela Nolan of Westport.
Many runners took advantage of the services of Dynamic Edge Physiotherapy whose physical therapists stretched tired muscles. Other sponsors were Blue Buffalo, Realty Seven, GlenGate, HAN Network/The Wilton Bulletin, Serendipity magazine, Muscle Up Protein Bars, and the Savas Family. Music was provided by DJ Dale Daniels. The title sponsor this year was J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.