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Two beloved area races go virtual

SHARON, Conn. — The year of COVID-19 has seen communities scramble to host events while adhering to state guidelines and restrictions, such as the Sharon Sprint Triathlon, which was held in August. The newest modified town traditions are the Sharon Classic Road Race and the Kent Pumpkin Run, both of which have gone virtual for 2020.

Sharon Classic

 With the threat of the coronavirus still very real, Sharon has scaled down the annual fundraiser for the Sharon Day Care Center as a precaution. There will be no concession stands, no gathering on the Green with music and lively conversation and no bouncy house for children, all traditions the community has become accustomed to.

Instead, racers have the option of completing the usual course, which starts at the Sharon Green and follows Route 41 to West Woods Road No. 1 and loops back to the Green; or completing any 5-mile trek between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4. Fast Track Timing will collect the results and post them at www.fasttracktiming.com.

The Sharon Classic Road Race, which was started in 1985, has always been a way to fundraise for the Sharon Day Care, something Race Organizer Karen Dignacco said is more important than ever due to the hardships caused by COVID-19. 

“The day care wasn’t open for the spring,” she said. “They did have a summer program, but because of the social distancing rules and all the other stuff, they can’t have as many children at the center as they normally do.

“So that restricts their tuition income, and because they don’t have that income, they’ve had to sideline their expansion plans.”

Normally, winners of the Sharon Classic Road Race receive a cash prize. However, since there will be no plant sale, silent auction or concession stands this year, the cash prizes will be substituted by apparel or merchandise from Trail Heads, an outdoor apparel store in Kent, and or other donations.

Participants can register for the Sharon Classic Road Race for $20 at www.sharonclassic.org/register. For more information, go to www.sharonclassic.org or the organization’s page on Facebook.

Kent Pumpkin Run

Registration is also open for the annual Pumpkin Run in Kent, which will be held virtually from Thursday, Oct. 22, to Sunday, Oct. 25.

For the 44th iteration of the beloved run, which is hosted by the Kent Chamber of Commerce, participants run for 5 miles on either on Oct. 22, 23, 24 or 25 and send in their results by email.  Runners are expected of course to be fully accurate in their timing; the difference between times can often be just a minute or two (sometimes less). The results will be tabulated; overall and division winners will receive 2020 commemorative Pumpkin Run medals. 

There will be a special prize for the registered runner who lives farthest from Kent.  

All registered runners will receive by mail a packet that includes Halloween treats and a specially-designed race mask. T-shirts are not available this year but shirts from last year can be picked up at the Heron American Craft Gallery, at 16 North Main St. in Kent. 

Costumes are always a big part of the Pumpkin Run. Photos of costumed runners can be emailed to the organizers, who will post the images on their social media.

The gallery will also be collecting canned and dry food donations for the Kent Food Bank, which is the beneficiary of this year’s run. 

The cost to participate is $20. For information on how to register (and to get results), go to the Kent Pumpkin Run website at www.kentpumpkinrun.com. Registration is open until Oct. 23.

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