5K for Life raised $3,000 for Bikes for Kids

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Joseph Voet wins first place at the Run 4 Life 5K, finishing at 19 minutes and 30 seconds. –Tina Ugas photo

On the first fall night of the year, shorts and sneakers were flying. Runners and walkers competed for a good cause by participating in the RUN 4 LIFE 5K Run / Walk at 2 Corporate Drive on Sept. 22.

John Voet, 22 from Norwalk, ran first place at 19:30. Second and third place for men was John Kane, 57 from Montclair, at 20:23 and Chris Zapata, 29 from Stamford, completing the 5K at 21:08. Voet works at Unilever in Shelton. He commented on why he ran the race.

“I thought it was for charity and I just started at the company this last month so I thought I would do something to meet people,” Voet said.

The winning females include first-place winner Beth Stuart, 28 from Milford, at 22:35; second- place female was Samantha Herold, age 22 from Norwalk, 23:14 and Elizabeth Wright, age 36 from Maple Hill, at 23:14.

The 5k course began on Corporate Drive by doing a loop, took a left on Progress Drive, turned right on Research Drive and right onto Commerce Drive and continuing left back to Corporate Drive to repeat the course again to complete the 5K, said Patrick Byrne from Manchester Running Company.

Byrne said around 100 people completed the race, which was the second one held by Barnum Financial Group and sponsored by Unilever in cooperation with RD Scinto. He said that they were very pleased with the turnout.

Beth Stuart was happy to win first place for women. It was her first 5K in Shelton, after moving to Shelton last year. She said she ran because coworkers asked her to participate in the race. Many people ran with coworkers, too.

Mindee Blanco, COO of Barnum Financial Group, said they wanted an opportunity for employees to be able to come out and exercise and do something healthy.

Blanco said the proceeds from the race will go to Foundation for Life and applied toward a project called Bikes for Kids. They will by bicycles for children who can’t afford one. Blanco said they raised around $3,000.

The brainchild of the race happened to be Blanco’s child. Blanco started the race after her young teen, Sydnee Banco, came up with the idea.

“I helped create this event to give back to the community and give a child a bike if they never had one because my bike was such a big part of my childhood,” Sydnee said.

Not everyone finished in first place, but they still feel good having run for charity. Third-place men’s winner, Zapata, commented on giving to community and winning.

“I did it because I like to give back and it’s a good cause,” Zapata said. “I try to do everything I can to give back to the community. Foundation for Life does a great job with that and it’s a good feeling to finish third overall.”

For information on upcoming races sponsored by RUN 4 LIFE follow the organization on Facebook.

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