MONROE, CT — Plans for the M&T Bank Mile Down the Pike, a road race on Monroe Turnpike before the start of the annual Memorial Day Parade on Sunday, May 28, conjures up memories of a similar race for organizer Amy Primorac.
“It’s such a cool idea,” she said of taking advantage of the road closing for the parade. “Danbury used to have a Memorial Day race and it was up and down their parade route, so they already had a crowd of people with American flags cheering them on.”
The race and parade are also part of Monroe’s Bicentennial celebration on a day when firefighters will march in celebration of the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department’s 100 year anniversary.
“We thought about doing this for a long time, but couldn’t get volunteers,” said Dr. Paul Moyse, a member of the Bicentennial Committee who had the idea for the event. “Then Amy came forward.”
Primorac helped Moyse with publicity while he organized the event.
Both were longtime organizers of the annual Sprint for Monroe, which will not happen this year. Moyse reached out to residents who had served on the Sprint committee at different times over its 30 year history.
The M&T Bank Mile Down the Pike Race is organized by a subcommittee of the Bicentennial Committee, which includes Primorac, Moyse, George Puglisi, Marybeth Zarifian, Darrin Fodor and Robin Wall.
Once they secured M&T Bank as the event’s title sponsor and town approvals, they were off and running.
The race is USA Track & Field certified, so all runners will be timed. Mike Bonnar will serve as the race timer.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall finishers for both men and women, as well as for different age groups: 12 and younger, 13-15, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 plus.
The Monroe Bicentennial website will have a link to race results.
Moyse and Primorac said they are grateful to local businesses who donated gift cards for prizes, including Bella Rose Pizzeria Ristorante, Bill’s Drive-In and Soup Thyme.
To register for the race online, click here. It costs $20 for early registration, which runs through May 20 and the first 200 to register will get an event T-shirt. From May 21 to the day of the race, registration costs $25.
With M&T Bank’s donation, the race committee needs 50 runners to register to break even and the rest of the money will be used for the Bicentennial fireworks and other events celebrating Monroe’s 200th birthday. Moyse said 36 people registered so far.
On May 28, registration and check in will be on Fireman’s Field, at the corner of routes 110 and 111, where runners can also park, at around 11 a.m.
The race, which is downhill, will begin just below the traffic circle on Monroe Turnpike at 12:30 p.m. and finish at the intersection with Elm Street.
Primorac said they are determined to finish the race and awards ceremony before the parade begins.
“We’re asking people to run the race if they can do it in 15 minutes or less,” she said. “Fifteen minutes is a brisk walk.”
Moyse and Primorac said they are grateful to the Monroe Police Department for agreeing on safety measures to allow them to have the race, and for the support of town officials and the veterans.
“Everyone has been very supportive of the event,” Moyse said.
“We’re looking forward to a great event,” Primorac added.