NEWTOWN, Conn. — 21 down, 148 to go. Newtown resident Laura McKail is aiming to run a road race in every town in Connecticut.
She is a member of the Run 169 Towns Society. Its mission is to run a race in each of the 169 towns in the state of Connecticut. There is no time limit in which to complete this goal.
"For years, I would run the same races over and over again near my home. While I love the local races, I was looking for a change," said McKail, who looks forward to each new town she travels to on race day.
"Rather than just trying to get faster, I thought it would be fun to mix things up," said McKail, 55, who is head of a talent management company.
Her goal is to hit 100 races by the time she is 65.
According to Run 169 Towns Society co-founder Adam Osmond of Farmington, the society is 1,600 members strong.
Those who have raced in every town are awarded a plaque and earn the title of King or Queen. To date, only seven members have earned this rare distinction.
Osmond explained that when the society was founded in 2012, there were 12 towns in the state that had no races. "We contacted members of the local communities in those towns to see if they could put on a race," he said.
In January, the society was able to get the town of Morris -- the last town in Connecticut without a race -- to create one. "Two of our members were waiting for that town to complete their 169 -- and they have since done so," Osmond said.
Danbury resident and society member Christy Pappas has completed 16 races so far. "I'm very goal-oriented and I think this is a great way to challenge myself," said Pappas, 43, who works as a program manager.
One memorable race for Pappas was the Sprint for Monroe 5K in June. "It was off the beaten path and it took me into neighborhoods that were really pretty," she said.
"These races get people to learn about towns they never knew about. It's also good for the towns since it brings people into them, to shop in after the race ends," said Osmond, who is 49 and works as an accountant. "In addition, the races are fundraisers for charitable causes, so it's a win-win for everyone involved."
For more information on the Run 169 Towns Society, click here.