By LISA CAPOBIANCO
The 48th Annual Mum-A-Thon will return to Bristol with a new time, more festivities, and a new logo.
On Sunday, Oct. 22, the event will kick off at 10 a.m. with an 8K competitive road race, followed by a 5K untimed Halloween Family Fun Walk at 10:10 a.m. The course starts and ends at St. Paul Catholic High School. Participants can dress up in Halloween costumes.
Andrew Barton, who took on as the new Mum-A-Thon race director last year, hopes to put Bristol’s historic fall road race back on the map. A challenge that the Mum-A-Thon has faced in recent years is competition with other races that happen statewide around the same time.
“Over the last several years, the Connecticut race community has grown because there are just so many races out there,” said Barton, adding how the race is a big milestone for the city. “Races have suffered because attendance has gone down. The Mum race has not been immune to that.”
Last year, the Mum-A-Thon brought a little over 100 runners, and Barton anticipated between 150 and 200 runners this year. Based on feedback from runners, the course will be slightly altered this year, as participants will run facing traffic through the northwest section of Bristol.
Runners who place first, second, and third place overall for the men and women’s division will win customized glow-in-the-dark trophies. There also will be awards for eight different age groups, the first Bristol resident to cross the finish line and the best Halloween costume. All participants must be present to win.
“We’re looking forward to a better turnout this year,” said Barton, noting how the race received great support from sponsors.
Whether they take part in the race or the walk, each participant who signs up for pre-registration by the first week of October will receive a Mum-A-Thon t-shirt, which sports the race’s new logo of a mummy. The mummy also will appear on a customized headband for participants.
“We put together a really cool Halloween-themed race shirt that’s going to glow in the dark,” said Barton. “I think people really are going to be blown away.”
This year, the Mum-A-Thon will feature trick or treat stations, face painting, raffles and a live DJ, and post-race activities. The race also will welcome donated diapers and other baby products for the Bristol Hospital Parent and Child Center as old running shoes.
All proceeds of the race will benefit the Veterans Strong Community Center (VSCC)—an information and resource center for veterans, service members and their families under the direction of the Bristol Veterans Council, a nonprofit.
“It’s a great event. It’s definitely pulling the community together because we’re reaching out to everyone,” said VSCC Program Manager Donna Dognin.
Dognin said she has reached out to other local organizations to get involved with the race.
“A lot of community businesses are stepping up to help with small sponsorships or raffle prizes,” said Dognin, adding that the event will build off of the momentum that took place during the Mum Festival.
One group that stepped up this year is the Student Veterans Organization from Central Connecticut State University, which will help out with a pre-race pasta dinner on Saturday, Oct. 21, 5 to 8 p.m. at American Legion Post 2. Proceeds of the dinner will support VSCC. Admission is $10 for guests age 14 and up and $5 for children ages 15-13. Children age 4 and under are free.
“We try to get all aspects of the community involved in this,” said Barton.
Looking two years down the road, Barton is already thinking about the Mum-A-Thon’s 50th anniversary, which he hopes will kick off with a bang.
“The goal since last year was to build the race back up to what it was for the 50th anniversary of the race,” said Barton. “It’s going to be a blow-up—something that the town has never seen before with the race.”
For more information about the 48th Annual Mum-A-Thon, or to register, visit bristolct.net/roadraces/Mumathon.aspx. or its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/BristolMumroadracesince1970/?ref=br_rs
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