Congratulations to the athletes and guides who participated in the 2015 Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K! After a great 2-day presence at the Total Fitness Expo at the XL Center, Achilles CT took to the streets of Hartford on a spectacular fall morning and showed everyone what they are made of…heart, determination and inspiration!
In the 5K…
Holly Smalley took first place female and won the Physically Challenged Division, with an impressive net time of 36:36. Awesome job Holly! Erin Spaulding and guide Hilary Dording had a great time walking with Tom Branchaud and guide Andy Anderson (they finished in 49 and 56 min. respectively). Erin did some “wogging” the 2nd half of the race; her first Hartford 5K since her hip injury in 2013! Jen Gonzalez, back in her first race since her hip injury in June, was supported on the course by guide Ellie Morse! It was Ellie and Andy’s first time guiding an Achilles athlete, and they both did a great job!! Not able to race this year due to illness, Rosita Cascudo and Diane Amato, who cheered the team on in spirit!!
Amy Dixon, along with guides Natalie Kronick and Noah Hallisey, took first place in the Visually-Impaired Female division, finishing in an impressive 22:23!!! Amy recently learned that she has qualified to represent Team USA in Paratriathlon in the Rio Paralympics next summer!! Congratulations to Amy!! Gary Allen also set a new PR in the men’s Visually-Impaired Division, coming in first in 31:29! Thanks to his guide Cindy Drozd for helping him achieve his goal this year!
In the Half Marathon…
Team Achilles CT had three wheelchair athletes in the half…In fact they were the ONLY wheelchair athletes in the entire half marathon!! Way to represent!! Amy Saffell and her guide Lauren Kollinger came up from Achilles Nashville to join the Team in her first Hartford Half (and her first time in CT!) CT guide Sue Grigely joined Amy and Lauren, and they finished in 2:33! Martin Reyna, who joined Achilles CT just in September, finished his race in 3:05 with the amazing support of first-time guide Jared Senelick! Congrats to Vinnie Ligouri, who finished his first half marathon in exactly 2:00….crushing his projected finish time of 2:15 and exhausting his guides Marni Luby and Jeff Amell, who provided on-course support and attempted to pace him!
In the Physically Challenged Division, Rob DeLuca took 2nd place male in a competitive field, finishing with first-time guide Mena Shehata in 2:02. Rob and Achilles CT guide Michael Lo Presti (who paced the 4:20 marathon group), are heading to the NYC Marathon on 11/1!! Good luck Rob and Michael! Adam Fleisher and guide Chris Love, who are also heading to NYCM, had a great race, finishing with Adam’s son Miles in 2:30:18. Julie Aresco and her first-time guide Nicki Remeika, finished strong in 2:58:02, coming 2 minutes under her goal of 3:00!!
In the Visually Impaired female division, Cathy Beaudoin, an Achilles athlete from Vermont, finished 3rd in 2:51! We were happy to have Cathy, and her guide dog Maggie, join Team Achilles CT! Guides Patti Clarke and Elizabeth Gordon (first time guide), provided amazing support to Cathy on the course! Hope to see you next year Cathy!
In the Marathon…
The hand cycle field was the largest in race history, with Krys Zybowski leading the pack of 7 athletes! Congratulations to Krys whose 1:28:33 finishing time qualified him for the Boston Marathon, his personal goal! Krys heads to NYCM, The Marine Corps Marathon, and the Philadelphia Marathon this fall in pursuit of his dream! Go Krys!!
Not far behind Krys was Carlos Guzman (1:29:36), Ricardo Corral (1:42:53) and Romel Palis (1:56:09), elite NYC hand cyclists who joined Team Achilles CT for the race! Tom Stearley finished in an impressive 2:10:02 and Alexia pushed through a hand injury to finish in 3:14:35. Tony Allegretti hit traffic on his way to Hartford but was with the team in spirit. All of the hand cyclists head to the NYC Marathon in a few weeks for more friendly competition! Thank you to Rachel Whitney who guided the marathon on her bike and kept an eye out for our hand cyclists!
David Alejandro ran an impressive 4:21 marathon with guides Dave Hayes (first leg) and Aviva El Kayam (2nd leg). David’s wife Tracey was with him on the course capturing his marathon moments! Congratulations to all of the athletes in the marathon!
As an Official Charity Partner of the Hartford Marathon, we had 3 Charity Runners running for Team Achilles CT and raising money along the way! Thank you to Adam Osmond, who ran the marathon in 4:15:59, Fred Bennett, who ran the half in 1:54:12, and 5K athlete & Chapter President Erin Spaulding. Collectively, they raised $1,184 for Achilles CT! Thank you to all who donated in support of them! Erin and Adam were also members of the 2015 Aiello Inspiration Team, proudly representing Achilles International CT Chapter!
We could not put on an event of this magnitude without “a little help from our friends!” In total, we had 38 additional volunteers who helped make this day possible and successful for Achilles CT!
Hartford Marathon Planning Committee members started working with Chapter President Erin Spaulding in August, meeting weekly via teleconference. Thank you to Jennifer Gonzalez (Co-Chair), Marni Luby, Sarah Ferrero & Colleen Danaher (Pasta Dinner Coordinators), Cindy Drozd (Expo Coordinator), Roberta Brown (Starting Line Volunteer Coordinator), Kim Lowman and Alicia Novi (Race Day Volunteer Coordinators), Alyssa Bush (Athelte Coordinator), Michelle Currier (Guide Coordinator), and Taylor Benedum & Gladys Alcedo (Marketing team). Special thanks to Rebecca and Samantha Ferrero who made our Team Movie!
Representing Achilles CT at our booth at the Total Fitness Expo on Thursday and Friday were Erin Spaulding, Cindy Drozd, Margaret Rorrio, Adam Fleisher, Gary Griffin, Sarah Ferrero, Michelle Bosco, Elizabeth Gordon, April Rodrigues, Rachel Tressy, Andy Anderson, and Kim Lowman. We had amazing promotional materials thanks to Taylor and Gladys, and raised awareness of Achilles.
Achilles volunteers served as Official Charity Partner-Starting Line Volunteers for the Hartford Marathon, Half & 5K. What better way to have a front row seat to all the action and see our athletes off in their races!! It was a big job to do and they all did it well! Thank you to: Roberta Brown, Dan Brown, Jared Senelick, Dave Hayes, Bev Hammond, Ray Beaulac, Will O’Shaunessy, Alicia Novi, Carrie LaSpada, April Rodrigues, Shelly Traska, Brian McNealey, Mike Feinberg, Margaret Rorrio, Andy Anderson, Rob McLaughlin, Jodi Blyler, Cathy Esposito, and Eric Rathbun. HMF sent feedback after the race that they were the best starting line crew ever!!
We had a dedicated and busy group of Race Day Volunteers at our Tent in the Charity Village. Alicia Novi, Kim Lowman, Chris Deneen, Rob McLaughlin, Eric Rathbun, Roberta Brown, Courtney Sheehan, Shelly Traska, Margaret Rorrio, Jodi Blyler, and Amy Bennett did everything from watch Cathy’s guide dog, guard valuables and port-a-potties, run athletes to the starting line and to/from their cars, take pictures, pick up food and awards, cheer at the finish line, and everything in between!!! It truly was a team effort on race day…thank you all for going above and beyond!!
A special thank you to the Hartford Marathon Foundation staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes and on race day. They are a hard-working team and we appreciate all that they do for Achilles CT!
We have collected photos taken on race day and put them up on an online site for you to view and purchase if you’d like. The 2015 Team Video (made by Samantha & Rebecca Ferrero) is also posted to the site. Here’s the link: https://teamachillesct.shutterfly.com/pictures