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Runners Step Off At Sandy Hook 5K To Support Memorial Funds

More than 2,100 runners turn out in the rain to run in the Sandy Hook 5K in Newtown on Saturday. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Runners aren't afraid to get wet at the Sandy Hook 5K in Newtown on Saturday. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Members of the Newtown High baseball program volunteer at Saturday's race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Children run for the finish line at the kids race, which steps off before the Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A pair of young runners recover after their race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A father hugs his exhausted son after the kids race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
More than 1,900 runners compete in the Sandy Hook 5K in the rain. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A boy enjoys an apple after the race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Wet kids enjoy the kids race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Runners head toward the finish line at the Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Sandy Hook first responders are on hand as volunteers at the 5K race at the Fairfield Hills campus. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Runners make their way across the start line at Saturday's 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A soaking wet little girl is still all smiles in her Sandy Hook T-shirt after Saturday's kids race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
The crowded finish area at Saturday's 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
More than 1,900 runners compete in the Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Volunteers hand out Ben's Bells Kindness Coins to race participants in memory of one of the victims. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Seventeen-year-old Isaac Grosner, of Massachusetts, is the 5K winner, clocking in at 18:40. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
More than 1,900 runners of all ages compete in the Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Runners find plenty of food at various gourmet trucks and food stands at the race. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
More than 1,900 runners compete in the Sandy Hook 5K. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Despite the rain, Fairfield County residents raced out to the Fairfield Hills campus in Newtown on Saturday morning to live out their motto — 'Love Runs Through ... Our Schools' — and to show their support for the Sandy Hook 5K and Newtown Memorial Fund.

More than 2,100 children and adults got wet for the cause. The event featured a kids race with 225 runners, and the main event — the Sandy Hook 5K — with nearly 1,900 runners. An additional 200 people, including a soldier in Afghanistan, also ran the race virtually.

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty welcome the runners. Volunteers dished up plenty of food, and live entertainment was provided by Fairfield band Alpaca Gnomes.

Isaac Grosner, 17, of Massachusetts, was the 5K winner, clocking in at 18:40 on the wet course. Grosner perfectly voiced the feelings of so many who turned out to support the Newtown event, which honors the memory of the six educators and 20 first-graders slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

"My dad grew up in Newtown, and he was affected by what happened here a few years ago," Grosner told Daily Voice. "At a lot of races it's all about winning, but here it doesn't matter what time or place you finish — it's for the cause."

Members of the Newtown Baseball program came out to support the cause by helping out in running the kids race.

"We came out to support the town," varsity team captains Jack Procaccini and Sam Czel told Daily Voice. "There are a lot of people running, and we want to be part of the community. We love the event, and it's a great time out here on a Saturday morning."

Race director Julie Brunelle, of Monroe, told Daily Voice: "We're here because of the tragedy, but we're here to make sure that tragedy doesn't define this town. We're here to come together as a community, move forward, and always support each other."

Proceeds from the Sandy Hook 5K will be donated to the Collaborative Recovery Fund, administered by the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation. It pays the out-of-pocket mental health expenses for those eligible who have been most impacted by the tragedy. A percent of the proceeds will also go directly to the chosen nonprofit organizations of the 26 families who lost loved ones.

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