Residents of Shelton and their friends came out bright and early for the 16th annual Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day 5K road race.
The annual tradition for some was also a day for people to give back to the community, as it was the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley that sponsored the event.
Several hundred people showed up and were signed up, ready to race. Registration for the event was closed before the race itself began because of how many pre-registrations the Boys & Girls Club collected.
Each year, the road race takes place Thanksgiving morning and starts and finishes at the historic Canal Street. The course of the race crosses twice over the Housatonic River, while on the way to and from the downtown area of Derby.
Residents applauded at the sight of a large American flag being held up by ladder trucks from the local volunteer fire departments.
“This year, I came out to support my boyfriend, who was running in the 5K. He did this last year, too,” said Alice Combers of Seymour. “He just loves to run,” she added.
Tom Wilson, who was one of the original organizers of the Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day 5K, finally had his chance to run and was seen wearing the original shirt from the race’s inaugural year, 2002.
It started that year with only 300 runners. This year, there were more than 763 racers, ranging from children to adults. Among the racers was Shelton’s very own Mayor Mark Lauretti.
Of the 763 who signed up, 651 finished the course. Many families at the race said it has become a tradition to finish before going to the Thanksgiving Shelton-Derby football game.
The top three winners from the men’s side were Ken Little at 16:00, Timothy Milenkevich at 16:02 , and Joseph Lombardi at 17:01. The women’s top three winners were Lauren Flament at 19:34, Katie Flament at 19:56, and Megan Re at 20:44.
“It was such a wonderful race, and we are going to continue the festivities with seeing the game against Derby,” said Alicen Brenton of Oxford, a bystander cheering on one of her friends.